Fundamentals of Leadership Certification


SLMA Fundamentals of Leadership is an applied, common-sense overview of the skill sets needed to successfully lead and maintain partnerships in our industry. The interactive workshop is designed to equip the participant with skills to strengthen relationships and better navigate the sea of expectations, conflict, and stress inherent in our member businesses. The skill sets include industry best-practices for strategic thinking, networking, communication, finance, and behaviors. Upon successful completion of the three (3) module curriculum, participants will receive formal Leadership Certification from SLMA.


To drive business and personal results through exposure to leadership best practices.

To understand the behavioral elements of strategic leadership.

To create awareness of your individual leadership style and its impact.

To prepare our participants to lead the future of lumber marketing.


Our SLMA member organizations have the potential to suffer considerable human and financial costs when a person has been promoted and fails to adjust to the new expectations of leadership.

Research shows:

  • 20% of first-time managers are doing a poor job according to their subordinates,
  • 26% of first-time managers felt they were not ready to lead others to begin with, and
  • almost 60% said they never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role. 

Add the complexities of family-owned businesses to these statistics and it's no surprise 50% of managers in organizations are ineffective.


There will be three (3) sessions over an 18 month period. Each workshop will expose attendees to key issues identified by the SLMA Board and our Manufacturing Members as vital to their future and our industry's future. Each session will be interactive and include a visit to a manufacturing facility and/or University department related to Forestry, Ethics, etc. During the course of the 18 months, attendees will work closely with our faculty and their executive sponsor on applied projects.


Each participant in the SLMA Fundamentals of Leadership will be given an applied project designed to help them develop as a leader. The project is a key component of our training. The project provides an ongoing opportunity to develop the participant while, at the same time, fundamentally helping the operation. An Executive Sponsor provides guidance and support to the training participant throughout the course of the project. The Executive Sponsor is accountable to the SLMA Board and has a number of responsibilities for the project including:

  • Providing leadership on culture and values
  • Owning the business case
  • Keeping the project aligned with organization's strategy and direction
  • Working with other sponsors
  • Recommending opportunities to optimize cost/benefits
  • Providing feedback


Sponsors will identify a project for the participant. The project will be assigned during Module 1 of the SLMA Certified Leadership Training in Jacksonville. As the project advances, sponsors will be asked to monitor the progress, provide guidance, and inform our faculty advisor of any leadership feedback to discuss with the participant. The participant will be expected to present the project and its outcomes during Module 2 of the training. 


Dale Bracken is a Management Consultant and former Consumer Products Division Manager with the world's largest Pulp and Paper Maker. Dr. Bracken has been involved in manufacturing and operations since 1980. 

He has led operational and administrative aspects of multiple pulp, paper, and forest products starts-ups in the United States, Europe, and Canada. Dale has worked around the globe for both service and manufacturing organizations, and he currently serves on several boards. He also served as the Director of the Center for Leadership in the Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa.

Through his firm, National Assessment, Dr. Bracken provides strategic consulting services to a wide-range of clients including: GE Capital Services, Procter & Gamble, Verizon, Philip Morris USA, Nationwide, Sanofi-Aventis, Microsoft, Georgia-Pacific Corp, and Deutsche Bank. 

Dale is part of the Durham, North Carolina based Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE) faculty and is involved in providing leadership deliveries for their global clients. Duke CE has been consistently ranked as one of the finest in the world in Custom Executive Education by the Financial Times and BusinessWeek. 

Dale earned a BS degree from Penn State and a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Georgia. Dale and his wife Pam Bracken are proud supporters of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (ranked in the top 10 worldwide by US News and World Report.)

His website is