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NewsCreating Your Future Through Leadership Development: One Way VGM Group Invests in Its Employee Owners

It doesn’t take long for most to notice that VGM Group is a little different from other companies. And it has more than a little bit to do with the fact that it’s a 100% employee-owned company.  


When your employees are also the owners, they get to make their place of work more than just a place to work. They bring a new perspective. And they have a vested interest in seeing the company succeed. But continued business growth and success doesn’t happen without the employee owners 


Employee owners know if they want to invest in VGM, they have to start with themselves. It’s through personal and professional growth that business growth is achieved. This is why VGM remains so committed to providing leadership development opportunities 


Committing to Continuous Improvement 

Over its 35+ years in business, VGM has changed and grown several times over as an organization. And its leadership development opportunities? They’ve changed and grown too.  


At VGM, we’re constantly assessing and re-assessing areas that might benefit our employee owners and, ultimately, our customers. But the commitment to helping employee owners learn and grow isn’t a new trend at VGM. It’s been around since day one.   


“VGM has always been dedicated to providing opportunities for leadership development,” said Sara Laures, VGM Group’s chief people officer. “I started as a patient care coordinator in our HOMELINK division in 1998. Through the resources and mentorships available to me at VGM, I was able to learn and grow into the position I hold today—I was able to create my future. 


But while our dedication to offering development opportunities hasn’t changed, the approach certainly has. As our employee owners have learned, VGM has learned as an organization. We keep adding more robust and varied development programs, as well as more structure. This creates a path for employee owners to follow, whether they’ve been here 20 days or 20 years.   


Bettering Ourselves, Together 

Part of that updated structure involves building a foundation for future development. It starts with a bit of self-reflection. Every employee owner, typically in the first three months of employment, receives an Insights Discovery assessment. This helps build a common language within the organization so we can get a better understanding of ourselves and others 


Of course, we know it’s easier (and more fun) to learn if you have a buddy or two. So, in the next step, we bring employee owners in similar stages of development together to learn and grow as a team. Some of these opportunities include:  

  • Leadership Summit – This event, held every other year, sees employee owners from all over the U.S., as well as Canada, come together for networking and learning through presentations by both internal VGM presenters and external corporate thought leaders.  

  • Women in Leadership (WIL) WIL is a strategic initiative to support, motivate, and empower women to recognize their ability to be leaders within the organization. New members are nominated each year to join a 9-month program and then remain in development together as alumni of WIL. 

  • Professional DevelopmentA peer-to-peer led group of employees who join together in a cohort to learn from one another and get better. 

  • VGM Evolving Leaders Program This 6-month program was created for VGM employees who display a high potential for future or continued success as a leader with VGM.  

  • Leadership CohortsConsisting of employee owners in leadership positions, these ongoing groups offer continued development and create a network where people can learn ways to better serve their teams. We currently have three leadership cohorts with plans to create more.  

  • VGMUA self-paced e-learning platform that houses multiple courses for employees that focus on leadership development and other key competencies that support your entire career journey. 

  • Stretch AssignmentsAvailable to any employee who wants to be challenged outside of their daily responsibilities by working together with other employees on a project team. 


Keep in mind, this is just a small sample of the leadership development opportunities available at VGM. Divisions under the VGM umbrella, including VGM Fulfillment, VGM Insurance, HOMELINK, and Two Rivers Marketing also have their own development programs. Plus, VGM has strong partnerships with Hawkeye Community College and Upper Iowa University, as well.  


“What we’re doing as an organization is what individual managers do with their team,” Laures said. “We’re leading and providing resources that help employee owners to grow on their own and together as a group.”  


Creating Our Futures 

When someone joins the VGM family, they don’t just work herethey own the place. VGM’s employee owners know that investing in the company and its future means investing in themselves. And at VGM, every employee owner has the opportunity to create their future. 


We are committed to ensuring every employee owner has equality of opportunity to learn, grow, and advance, Laures said. “If you’re looking for a workplace where you can be yourself, where you feel you belong, and where you can create your future, I encourage you to look at VGM.” 


To learn more about VGM Group and the opportunities available, visit