In celebration of the new Certified Anaplan for All Model Builders, leaders shared advice, wisdom during the Anaplan for All Cohort 2 graduation event.
In keeping with a Correlation One tradition, participants in the second Anaplan for All cohort recently celebrated the program’s conclusion during the Grand Finale, an online graduation ceremony.
During the Saturday event, newly minted Certified Anaplan Model Builders were honored for their commitment to the 12-week program through which Fellows received training, mentorship, and job placement support to pursue positions in the ever-expanding Anaplan ecosystem.
Among the dignitaries addressing graduates were:
As you might expect of an event designed to mark the closure of a rigorous professional training program, the speakers acknowledged the Fellows’ recent accomplishments while also offering insightful career advice alongside remarks on how their careers fit into the larger workforce.
“We started Correlation One really to build the most equitable vocational school of the future,” said Rasheed Sabar, in his opening remarks. “And why do we think that was a problem worth solving? Well, if you think about it one of our core theses is that we're going into the data economy. And in the data economy over the next 10 or 15 years, the nature of jobs and what common jobs are will look very different from the way they looked 10, 15 years ago. Yet despite that quick change in the jobs landscape, there hasn't been a corresponding quick change in the educational landscape.”
Sabar described two ways that Correlation One data training programs are distinguishable from data training programs and other boot camps, namely that all of the programs – including Anaplan for All – are offered free of charge to learners, most of whom come from traditionally underrepresented groups. (And the funding? It all comes from forward-thinking Employer Partners.)
“We started Correlation One to basically say, ‘Let's completely rethink and reimagine the pathways from learning to jobs, and let's think equitably in how we provide access [for underrepresented groups] to those economic opportunities. So, this free training program, Anaplan for All, is the perfect embodiment of that, and planning at its core is a skill of tomorrow.”
Sabar continued, “We couldn't be more thrilled that you're all here and we congratulate you for everything you've accomplished through the Anaplan for All program and the opportunities in front of you. Again, our goal here was not simply to teach Anaplan or any specific skill. Our goal here was to unlock economic opportunity for you. And the wonderful thing is that there is an incredible supply-demand imbalance with data talent, and especially with Anaplan talent. As you go out and do your resumes, do your interviews, you're going to find there is an incredible world of opportunities.”
Sabar then introduced Sherika Ekpo, highlighting her 20-plus years of experience in leadership, human capital, talent management and professional development and her roles not only at Anaplan but also, previously, at JP Morgan, General Electric, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Google.
Acknowledging the tremendous commitment Anaplan for All participants demonstrated by completing the program, Ekpo centered her remarks on the investments that the diverse group of Fellows could continue to make in themselves moving forward—even when encountering personal adversity.
Ekpo, a first-generation college student and proud HBCU graduate, shared inspiration and insights from her personal journey to the C-suite.
“As a teenage mother, I was often misunderstood, and many people doubted me. They took one look at me, sized me up, and determined that I wouldn't amount to anything. But let me tell you, I decided to make sacrifices that I needed to invest the time and resources to create the life that I wanted for myself and my daughter. It's been through that commitment to myself and the support of my community that I stand here today as Anaplan’s inaugural Chief Diversity & Inclusion officer.”
She then shared several ways that new Anaplanners might sow the seeds of their own success and professional satisfaction.
“You all have so much to be proud of, but the key to success is that you must consistently and effectively invest, and I want you all to know that investing [in your career and professional development] is not just about money. It's also about your time, your energy, and your resources. You'll see that as you travel through life, you're required to invest at higher and higher levels to reach your ultimate goals.”
Ekpo also touched upon imposter syndrome and the need to keep pushing forward, always with a belief that diverse points of view matter in the workplace.
“Remember that you now embody the skills to shape the organizations that you are going to work for. Use your voice. Speak up in meetings. Your voice is important.”
Following Ekpo’s remarks, testimonial clips from several Fellows, and awards presentations highlighting individual achievements, Anaplan’s Sara Baxter-Orr led a panel of senior Anaplan professionals as they explored possible career trajectories for Anaplan Model Builders within the company and through Anaplan’s client organizations.
Addressing the graduates directly, panelist Linda Lee, Anaplan’s Chief Culture Officer, said of the opportunities available to the new Anaplanners: “You’re in a coveted spot for a career path. The assumption is right now the greatest need for Certified Anaplan Model Builders is in finance and in very specific departments. But I'm going to tell you, your career path is full of opportunity because there are not enough people with your skills … I guarantee every department in every company is going to need [Anaplan skills], and [your opportunities are] going to explode.”
Following the panel, Anaplan’s Frank Calderoni continued to explore themes of diversity and career opportunities for Anaplanners, both from his point of view as the company’s CEO and as someone who has worked with some of the world’s most influential technology companies: IBM, Cisco, Red Hat, and SanDisk.
“I hope that this opportunity has provided value that you can leverage in your career beyond just model building,” said Calderoni. “Much more than just a technical skill; it’s a way of thinking and solving problems in a very creative way that will be in demand in every industry around the world. I’m proud of the work that you’ve done to get to this point.”
He continued, adding “There are over 4,000 job openings referencing Anaplan or model building, and the number is accelerating.”
Before taking a round of questions from the audience, Calderoni took a moment to underscore both his own and his company’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“We're committed to it, and [the journey to greater diversity and inclusion is] a continued progress of really learning and growing,” he said. “I hope within Anaplan, and within the Anaplan ecosystem, all of you could help us take that to the next level. Again, our partnership with Correlation One is a huge piece of that, and we're proud and really thrilled to be part of this journey with Rasheed and the entire Correlation One team.”
To learn more about how you might become a program Fellow or Employer Partner for the next program, visit our Anaplan for All section.