In an effort to boost firm leadership, Philadelphia-based Parente Randolph brought in representatives from Penn State to create a customized program to build the core business skills of its managers, partners and principals.

The first class of 22 leaders has completed the Leadership, Entrepreneurism and Achievement at Parente Randolph (LEAP) program, and three more classes are under way.

John Park, associate director of Penn State Management Development Programs and Services, worked closely with Parente Randolph’s executive sponsors of LEAP -- Jeffrey L. Ferro, CPA, chief operating officer and principal in Parente Randolph’s Philadelphia office, and Kimberly D. Wylam, principal and practice leader for HR Consulting Services and Benefits Administration in the Clarks Summit Office -- to customize and brand the leadership development program.

LEAP, a three-year program, enables participants “to focus on personal development as they complete self-assessment related to emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and interpersonal communication,” Park explained. “They also explore the concept of servant leadership and how they can have a personal impact on the organizational culture of the firm.”

As part of LEAP, participants identify a project to improve a process or function at Parente Randolph and present their projects before the firm’s executive committee.

Now in its fourth year, LEAP has been “a grand slam for us,” Ferro said.

For Travis Hunt, senior manager of Parente Randolph’s Wellsboro, Pa., office, who won the class Rising Star Award, LEAP has led to improved public speaking abilities. “Before LEAP, I was always apprehensive about public speaking. Now I’m more confident.”

Mark J. Ross, CPA, principal and practice leader for the Senior Living Services Audit Practice in the firm’s Wilkes-Barre office, appreciated the opportunities to network with colleagues from other offices and “hear different perspectives from colleagues and from Penn State faculty.

“Culturally, LEAP is really starting to change how the firm interacts with everyone,” Wylam said.