Portrait of Kiley Bolton, Chair of the Centre for Executive & Professional Learning (CEPL)

Q&A with Kiley Bolton

How Seneca 
is helping professionals step into leadership roles

Kiley Bolton is Chair of the Centre for Executive & Professional Learning (CEPL), which helps working professionals advance their careers through short, hyper-focused training programs.

By Kiley Bolton

February 13, 2024

How would you describe CEPL?

CEPL specializes in preparing learners for the next stage of their leadership journey. It offers executive certificates, microcredentials and professional development courses. Whether you’re looking for increased responsibility, moving into a more senior leadership position or career progression, our goal is to support you in reaching that goal.

Who is the typical CEPL participant?

Our learners come to us with all sorts of different professional backgrounds and levels of experience. In the executive certificate programs, we typically see people who have been working in their field for three to five years and want to develop additional skills to progress into a more senior role. In the microcredentials and professional development courses, people are looking for ways to propel their career – for example, they could be in front-line positions in banking and taking courses to help them stand out.

That’s a different audience than we typically see elsewhere at Seneca. How are you tailoring the educational experience to best serve this new type of learner?

We deliver programs that provide professionals the opportunity to connect with, learn from and network with leaders in their industry. Additionally, our programming is conveniently offered in flexible formats to help working professionals achieve their career aspirations.

What feedback have you received from participants?

The feedback has been incredible. They love how much time they get to spend with the industry leaders who are teaching our courses and the networking opportunities. Each executive certificate has at least three guest speakers over the course of a program, providing additional time to learn from and connect with industry influencers. We’ve had students tell us that taking a CEPL course was one of the best decisions they’ve made all year. Some have even moved into new jobs immediately after obtaining one of our credentials.

What has surprised you most about CEPL in its first year?

Our credentials in Anti-Money Laundering Governance, Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) and Science Communication target niche audiences and there aren’t many options for people looking to upgrade their skills in those specific fields. As a result, we’ve received quite a bit of interest from working professionals outside the Greater Toronto Area. Because our programs are conveniently offered online, our virtual classrooms are open to learners across the country and around the world.

How do you envision CEPL’s programming evolving in the near future?

As a direct response to industry needs, we just launched our executive certificate in ESG this fall – we know that there’s a high demand for professionals in this area. The program would be a great fit for anyone who wants to move into a related role or implement the practices in their organization.

We also surveyed many Seneca alumni to find out what types of programming they would benefit from and far and away the top request was programming focused on leadership and management skills. With that feedback in mind, we’ve just received approval for a new executive certificate in strategic leadership, scheduled to launch in the spring of 2024.

Where would you like CEPL to be in five years?

I want it to be a robust community of lifelong learners who are achieving their career aspirations and using that success to help future cohorts. I would love for CEPL alumni to come back to us as guest speakers and mentors to future students.

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