My five month professional development training with the Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Emerging Leaders program has come to an end. In general, I’ve found that professional development trainings are either hit or miss. Emerging Leaders was right on the spot.
There were several things that made this program a success. First, we had a great cohort. The group was diverse and represented many different areas from within the nonprofit sector. This afforded great discussions and a wealth of information sharing.
Second, the themes covered were very pertinent to our day-to-day work. Topics we explored included leadership of the self, staff and board; ethics; budgeting and accountability; diversity in the workplace; lobbying and advocacy; fund development; communications and marketing, human resources; and volunteer management. I found the last session, which focused on developing a professional development plan, to be highly useful. I suspect I will be spending some time in the coming weeks creating my own plan. This will include updating my resume, creating a personal portfolio, planning goals and relevant measures and, hopefully, developing additional pages on this site to feature my work.
Further, the three sections on leadership were very informative. Often, communication is a major barrier in life. These sections provided sound advice on working with different personality types, as well as strategies for developing an effective leadership style. I am hoping to put many new ideas into practice.
Lastly, I would be remiss to not comment on the organization of the program. MNA did an excellent job of finding qualified and engaging speakers. Further, the facilitation of the program was two thumbs up. I have already recommended this program to a few colleagues at work. I hope they consider applying.
As with most professional training programs, our cohort promised to keep in touch. I hope this new network follows through on that commitment. I think we have a lot to offer one another. The plan is for MNA to create a LinkedIn group for alumni. Hopefully this will be up soon.
– Devon Akmon