As a former owner of a tool repair business, William Werkmeister is a hands-on kind of guy who knows how to get things done. But nothing in his background prepared him for the transition to the corporate world, where collaboration and team-building are imperative skills.

As an Engineering Assistant with the energy company Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G), William hoped that enrolling in the Center for Creative Leadership’s (CCL) The Looking Glass Experience would help him “polish some rough edges” and give him the skills he needed to grow in his career.

Eight years and two promotions later, he’s still reaping the benefits. “I simply feel more confident and have become a stronger leader,” he said.

The Looking Glass Experience immerses students in a simulation that has the look and feel of a real-world business with tough issues that need to be resolved — from supply shortages to union upheavals. Participants learn how to make complex decisions and to examine how their leadership style influences the performance and buy-in of others in the group.

“I developed a new consciousness of others and their opinions,” William said. “The course realigned my way of thinking and led me to listen more and become more flexible when considering the recommendations of others. It was the driving force that got me more involved in teamwork and helped me develop an open-door policy back on the job.”

The course also helped William discover how his attempts at being funny were falling flat. “I didn’t mean any harm, but I was quick to share kidding remarks that some found hurtful,” he said. “I simply didn’t know that it bothered people until I received feedback during the course. That behavior now has gone by the wayside, and the changes I’ve made have been well-received. I simply have a better life.”

Since attending the course, William was promoted to a management position as Senior Construction Supervisor, and then to Transmission Project Engineer in Electric Transmission Engineering where he now oversees major construction projects. It’s a highstakes job where the unexpected can and will happen.

“I have more confidence in my abilities and experience far less stress when dealing with individuals, regardless of their position in the company,” he said.

As a result of the positive changes he has experienced in his life and career, William often recommends The Looking Glass Experience to friends and colleagues.

“You get out of it what you put into it,” he said. “I put my heart and soul into it and dove in with both feet.”

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