NGC Experience: David Bericat

David Bericat was a skeptic, pure and simple.

David Bericat

David Bericat

He’d heard the buzzwords and seen the self-help books, but he didn’t think a leadership program was going to help him do his job better, much less be a transformative experience.

“I’ve seen companies talk about big missions and their values,” he said. “They sound awesome, but then those companies still had a terrible culture. They seemed like empty words.”

Even when Bericat learned about the Foundation for Effective Leadership program by NextGen Center from someone he trusted whole-heartedly, he still wasn’t convinced. But he decided to try it.

“I did it because my wife thought it would be a good experience,” he admits. Having completed the course herself, Bericat’s wife explained that the tools she learned would help them both personally, as well as in their respective professional lives.

A native of Spain, Bericat came to the United States three years ago to work with Red Hat. Now in Raleigh, North Carolina, he works with emerging technologies building global partnerships. And while he loves his job, he acknowledges the toll it takes and the skills he wanted to further develop.

“After a year in the new role, both of my mentors, the technical lead and my manager, moved to different teams, so I needed to step up and support a global program and several business development managers and partnerships. I needed to lead by example, but had no mentor or coach to learn from. People were asking hard questions and wanted my point of view, but it was tough to move from an execution-oriented role to lead the technical team and mentor others. That revealed that I didn’t have the tools I wanted.” 

Add to that the stress of being first-time homeowners in a foreign country, it is safe to say that the young couple felt the strain.

That’s when Bericat pitched the Foundation for Effective Leadership program from NextGen Center to his manager at Red Hat. Red Hat is dedicated to developing its people, and has a dedicated yearly budget for training and learning new areas to foster growth..

An ‘aha’ moment didn’t take long to hit him. As soon as the first module began, Bericat understood this would be more than a workshop. It would be a transformative experience.

“I realized I needed to connect the dots,” he explained. “You have to know who you are, to have clarity on your values in a structured way. Then you apply that framework to decisions you need to make in life and in work.

It all starts with you. You need to be happy with where you’re going. That gives you internal peace and calm. Problems are not that overwhelming because you have perspective and tools to deal with the situations, even when they’re stressful.

The Foundation program helped me identify how and where I want to spend my time intentionally -- so I can be effective at my job, happier in my personal life, a better partner, and a better mentor.”

Bericat realized that the work would not bring about an ‘external’ transformation. “You need to connect those things deep in your core. You need to define aspirationally who you want to become versus where you are now and find the delta. What can you do right now to achieve that?

It’s amazing, really, when you ask the right questions, how much more information you get from people and from yourself,” he continued. “The program truly changed the way I ask myself certain questions.”

There is a downside to finding such clarity on values and goals: you run out of excuses.

“After doing this work with the tools and frameworks from NextGen Center, you can’t fall back on your tired, old reasons not to do the things that will make you happy. You can’t hide from what you want anymore. The program gives you the tools to hold yourself accountable. And some days you do it, and some days you don’t. You have to forgive yourself. But at least you know that is not the path. And you try to do better.”

While Bericat is fluent in two languages, he picked the one English word he has come to dislike the most: busy.

“We think ‘busy’ is a metric of success,” he said. “But if you're always so busy that you can’t get to do the things you want to do, in work or in life, you're doing something wrong.”

That emphasis on balance, communication, and empathy has impacted Bericat’s work life and home life. 

With his wife, he says, “it’s not magic. But rather, it’s an ongoing quality of conversation and how we work as a partnership. We create better outcomes no matter what.”

Professionally, Bericat is excited to map out what’s next. 

“I’m on a high-growth path, and luckily it looks like I have a lot of options. I’m using all the tools from the program to make the decisions meaningful.” 

The Foundation for Effective Leadership program consists of five full-day modules, once a month for five months. Over that time, Bericat established a trusted network he had come to rely on. Fortunately, part of NextGen Center’s core mission is to build a community for leaders to continue their growth, nurturing those relationships and meeting other like-minded professionals in the area.

“I truly appreciate the community aspect. You do a program over five months and then go back to your life — you don’t want to just fall back into your habits. You get continuity and accountability with the NextGen community afterward. It’s crucial to continuous success.”