University of Wisconsin–Madison

Maximizing Your Leadership Potential


Maximizing Your Leadership Potential is a program designed to help you with practical to achieve lasting, sustainable results through people. This course will enable you to sharpen your skills in four fundamental areas of leadership: self-awareness, learning agility, communication, and influence.

Who should attend:

  • Managers and supervisors of individual contributors
  • First-level managers who are facing new challenges
  • People who have recently been promoted to a management role

Key Topics:

  • Increase commitment and engagement to improve team effectiveness
  • Build and strengthen relationships in ways that allow for better performance, effective delegation and contribution of others
  • Find constructive responses to conflict by understanding self and others
  • Learn how and when to adjust leadership style and draw on others to understand and solve problems

Registration & Cost

Location: Grainger Hall*

Date: July 27, 2022 from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Fee: $269

Note: This course can be taken as a standalone course, or as part of the summer Learning to Lead series. 

Register Online Here  call 608-262-3909 to register. BONUS: Place 2 or more paid leadership courses in your cart, and use discount code SBDC10 for 10% off. Classes must be purchased in the same transaction.

Registration policy: Payment will be required at time of registration; you must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register. 

Cancellation policy: If you cancel before the program begins, there is a $25 cancellation fee. If you cancel after the program begins you will be charged for the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-3909.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at to request accommodations.

The Small Business Development Center at UW Madison is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®.


Sarah Smyrk


Assistant Director of PX Adoption

Sarah’s career is driven by her desire to understand and relate to people.  Throughout her career she has worked in many roles to help business leaders drive product and program strategies that are rooted in strong relationships, made by data-driven decisions, and centered around the holistic customer experience.  She is passionate about working closely with individuals to help them achieve top levels of success and take their business to the next level while providing an outstanding client experience. Using her leadership skills and experience as a Registered Corporate Coach™ (RCC),  she has excelled at helping teams build and implement programs that help strengthen and reinforce goals and top priorities.

In her current role with Northwestern Mutual, Sarah is responsible for leading the adoption strategy for their planning experience.  Sarah joined Northwestern Mutual in 2016 and had held leadership roles in Enterprise Compliance and Change Management where she earned her Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF®)designation through the American College and Certification as a Change Management Professional (CCMP®) through PROSCI.  She is currently undergoing additional change management designations through LaMarsh Global.

Previously, Sarah was with CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, WI, from 2007-2016, where she was responsible for leading the vision, strategy, and execution of training initiatives for CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI) and its financial advisors.  In addition, she was responsible for training for CUNA Mutual Group’s Life, Annuity and Health Product Sales Teams.

Sarah also focuses on programs that help females in the financial services industry succeed.  While at CUNA Mutual Group, she developed and led CBSI’s Women of Distinction program; a group of the company’s top female financial advisors.  The group focused on mentoring advisors who were either new to organization or to the industry.

Sarah lives in Sun Prairie, WI with her husband Sam.  She is actively involved in both the United Way of Milwaukee County and Dane County and is currently serving as the 2020 United Way Campaign Chair for all of Northwestern Mutual.  She actively volunteers with several other non-profit organizations as part of Northwestern Mutual’s Foundation.  In 2013, she was recognized by Madison’s InBusiness magazine as “40 Under 40.”  Sarah is a competitive bodybuilder, enjoys working out, and always being active.