Alumni Stories · Leadership

IMD's High Performance Leadership program: A deep personal challenge

Leadership executive Renee Dineen tells how HPL helped her recommit to both work and life
March 2015

Renee Dineen has led an accomplished career in leadership that began nearly two decades ago and has spanned two continents, the US and Europe. She is now Senior Global Organizational Development Consultant in the Group Human Resources organization at Genentech, a biotechnology company in San Francisco, California. Before that, she held several senior roles at Roche while living oversees in Switzerland for almost five years, preceded by numerous other leadership executive positions. She has a master’s in Organizational Psychology, is a certified coach, and completed IMD’s High Performance Leadership (HPL) program in 2013 in Santa Cruz, California.

In a brief interview, she explains how HPL helped her grow.

Why did you choose IMD and HPL?

I was first exposed to IMD through a leadership session that HPL program director George Kohlrieser facilitated for my division at Roche. Shortly thereafter, having moved to Europe from the US for a multi-year assignment, I was looking for a program that would expand my global leadership perspectives and skills. Being in the field of leadership development, I was also keen on experiencing something that would deeply challenge me personally. I definitely found that with HPL. I describe it as a ‘deep tissue’ leadership development experience!

What did you take away from the program?

Attending the program came at a difficult time for me professionally. I was leading a major transformation at my company and was in the middle of a very sensitive set of changes when our division head left. The sudden change in leadership put those working on the initiative in a difficult position in terms of being able to keep some of the promises we were making. This prompted me to take a step back and look at what I wanted out of my career – how much time, space and energy I wanted to give it, and who I was with or without it. The program became the perfect vehicle for me to start this exploration. I continued to benefit from coaching for six months, further clarifying my aspirations and confidence in the changes I would make in the coming year.

How did you benefit once the program was over?

In terms of my job, it helped me regain perspective and ultimately, recommit myself to both work and achieving more balance in my life. As a result, I believe my organization gets more of me, without obligation or regret. I feel freer to bring my best, and more courageous in the risks I take with my clients and colleagues. It also has helped me put some long-awaited and important personal goals into motion, with a realistic plan for the steps needed to achieve them in a time frame I feel good about.

Do you have any special memories from the experience?

The graduation night was really special. While it was not unfamiliar for me after a long business career, I was the only woman in a group of six from all over the world including Iran and Saudi Arabia. After just five days, I felt like I had gained five new brothers. After the event we went out and laughed as hard as I could remember laughing in a long time. I think we all felt like some heavy weight was lifted. We still keep in touch to this day.

High Performance Leadership (HPL) is for experienced executives who want to achieve the next level of effectiveness in leading individuals, teams and large groups to their highest level of sustained performance.

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