The Smith School’s executive education programs give executives in the workplace access to thought leadership from the superstars of Smith labs and classrooms.
Shane Shrader has gone far in his career. He is the director of internal audit at Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), a company that provides broadband satellite networks and services to governments, businesses and individual consumers. Shrader has been with Hughes since August 2006 and leads the internal audit group that is instrumental in ensuring the organization’s compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which created new standards for public company boards, management and public accounting firms to follow. Before working at Hughes, Shrader did consulting and worked as a public accountant for a few years, gaining an expertise in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. He graduated from Towson University and worked for a small accounting firm for about eight years.
Recently, Shrader took part in the leadership development program that the Smith School developed for Hughes. He was nominated by the company and Hughes’ chief financial officer to attend three classes: financial acumen; beyond budget cuts; and leading for success.
Shrader, a CPA and certified internal auditor, said he learned a lot about models, the drivers of the cost of capital, return on investment, and how that affects investors. He added that he imagined the course “was even more helpful for those who aren’t accountants by nature.”
Shrader says the class helped him look and think about the big picture, particularly in understanding risk assessment from a company perspective. “We discussed several factors — fraud, key drivers of management manipulation, what investors want — and how we needed to have controls around those areas.”
Shrader had taken leadership courses before, but never quite like the Smith School’s program. “In a breakout session we were talking about how we could be more productive,” Shrader says. “A lot of folks said ‘We have meetings to have meetings.’ That was a major concern from a Hughes perspective. I realized I might have fallen into that habit as well; that maybe I needed to work with my team on keeping meetings shorter, on point, and making sure we come prepared.”
After the final session, Shrader and the other members of the class had a lunch with senior executives to continue the discussion, something Shrader says “empowered us as a group to reexamine how we do some of our day-to-day processes.” He valued the input of other senior executives and appreciated the opportunity to hear their thought processes.
“The class motivated me,” Shrader said. “What can I do better for my company; what can I do better for my career; what can I do better for my employees’ careers?”
To learn more about the Smith School’s custom executive education programs, contact Greg Hanifee.
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