From global trade to local public safety, EML grads hope to spark change, starting from within
By Matthew Kredell
In a way, Tim Crouch’s job is about building bridges — ones that stretch across the Atlantic.
Serving as the regional director for the west and central United States for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade, Crouch is responsible for promoting international trade and investment between the United Kingdom and the 31 states west of the Mississippi. It’s a new role that Crouch just began in July, and he credits his experience in the Executive Master of Leadership program at the USC Price School of Public Policy with getting him the position.
“The EML program is powerful because it unlocks your knowledge about so many things,” Crouch said. “It makes you much more self-aware and reflective, so as I was thinking about how to position my candidacy, I could do that based on having a better grasp of who I am, why I care about the things I care about, and therefore why I’m passionate about this job.”
Coming in to the EML program, Crouch brought more than a decade of experience working in government, where he was involved with a range of projects in the U.K. Even while completing the degree in Southern California, Crouch served as vice consul at the British Consulate in Los Angeles, promoting trade and investment in the entertainment and media sector.
“I really liked the way the program builds on itself,” Crouch said. “The first semester is all about understanding yourself, then it builds to understanding teams, then understanding organizations, and finally understanding systems.”
“It’s a curriculum that culminates in being able to apply a lot of good insight and understanding into how you effect change across systems and bureaucracy,” he said, “and that’s my job.”
Crouch also valued the close bond and high level of trust he developed with the cohort, and how truly transparent the students were with one another.
“People are open and honest, sharing their flaws, the challenges they’ve faced and learning points they’ve encountered,” Crouch said. “You can’t learn in that way during the course of working for an organization, because the dynamics of an organization make it much harder for people to open up and take risks in that way. I think that’s unique to the EML experience.”
Legacy of inspiration
Another member of the 2018 EML graduating class focuses her efforts on making a local impact in L.A. communities. Victoria Lim joined the Los Angeles Police Department 24 years ago, starting out in patrol, working undercover and doing surveillance before becoming a detective in 2000.
Throughout her career in the LAPD, Lim had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people. However, she came across an advertisement for the EML program at a time when she was seriously considering pursuing a master’s degree, setting her sights on a role of greater responsibility.
“That ad was an answer to my prayers,” Lim said.
She felt it was time to advance her career. “I think very highly of the LAPD, and if I’m going to be in a leadership position then I needed people smarter than me to show me how to be great at it.”
She was impressed with how EML began with learning about herself.
“The EML program wasn’t just about learning how to run an organization, but started out learning how to develop me,” Lim said. “I had to really face me – my insecurities, my indecisiveness, any areas of my life I was unsure about – before I could stand up in front of people and become a leader.”
For Lim, the key lessons from the program included not being afraid of feedback and actively practicing inclusiveness.
“To accept feedback of your performance and really learn from it is one of the hardest traits to master,” Lim said. “And we all think that we respect everybody and are open to ideas, but EML gave me the tools to really practice inclusiveness, to make each team member feel like they belong and are valued.”
Before the EML program, Lim spent most of her career pursuing her passion for investigations, specializing in sexual assault crimes. During her studies, she developed a new passion, to have a greater influence within her agency.
As an accomplished investigator, she moved into a role as a detective supervisor, leading and coordinating a group of detectives dealing with burglary and theft cases in the 77th Street Division of South Los Angeles.
“I want to have a legacy of training, teaching, inspiring and motivating others,” Lim said. “To come back to this leadership position after EML feels different. I see a change in myself. The real change will be others seeing the change in me.”
Leadership through service
Both Lim and Crouch credit Price Professor and EML Director Carol Geffner for the program’s creative curriculum and wealth of real-world leadership experience.
“The EML program attracts very accomplished, bright managers who are committed to becoming the best leaders they can possibly be,” Geffner said.
She added, “Victoria and Tim embraced the transformational experience that occurs in EML and are role models for what service to others looks like.”