NMI

The importance of professional development in the nonprofit sector

posted by
Leslie Beecher,

Instructional Designer
ASU Lodestar Center  

In today’s world, job roles are constantly changing and new challenges arise in the workplace. Professional development is a great tool to combat these issues and allows all individuals to continue to thrive within their organization. Additional training to individuals can also assist in expanding their knowledge on certain subjects that may be beneficial to them in the future.

Over the past four years, I have worked as an instructional designer in the for-profit education world and am excited to have transitioned into the nonprofit sector. While working in the for-profit sector I had access to the latest technology, studies, and methods to develop professional development courses for organizations such as Meritus University, University of Phoenix and Lockheed Martin. I was able to develop dynamic, innovative, and knowledgeable courses using e-learning tools such as Articulate, Camtasia, Microsoft Office, and worked with graphic artist to develop custom interactive multimedia instruction (IMI). During my time at Lockheed Martin I witnessed many software updates to critical machinery at airports across the country. Because of these updates, professional development courses/training had to be created and administered to airport personnel so that they could effectively continue to use the machinery. However, professional development does not only offer training regarding software updates or how to use a new tool, but professional development is a great way for professionals to enhance and build upon prior knowledge.

While at University of Phoenix, I specialized in the development of faculty workshops for our online faculty members. Many of the workshops and courses I created for our faculty members had nothing to do with how to perform his/her role as an instructor at University of Phoenix. Instead, these workshops and courses offered faculty members opportunities to learn about the latest adult education research, tips and techniques to make their jobs more efficient, and how to find/use additional resources in their courses.

Never Stop Learning

posted by
Sarah Hipolito
,
Program Coordinator, Senior
ASU Lodestar Center

I am a firm believer in the necessity of professional development, which made the position of Program Coordinator Senior at the ASU Lodestar Center a great fit for me. Before joining the rest of the team at the ASU Lodestar Center, I worked for seven years as a coordinator of youth ministry, or was what is more often known as a youth minister, youth pastor, or youth leader. Though traditionally not a professional position, there are a number of individuals who enter the field wanting to make this their life-long career — I was one of those people. I regularly attended professional development sessions every year.

As time went by, unbeknownst to myself, I had completed all of the requirements necessary to receive a credential as a coordinator of youth evangelization from the Diocese of Phoenix. I was thrilled and continued on with my professional development. Though this is no longer my paid position, I continue professional development in this field as a volunteer.

Seven Key Skills of High Impact Nonprofit Leaders

posted by
Karen Ramsey, ACC, SPHR,
ASU Lodestar Center
NMI Instructor /
President and CEO,
Lead for Good

Becoming a great nonprofit leader... what does it look like and how does one achieve it? The topic of leadership has been deliberated at great length. Books have been written and studies have been published, but the focus has primarily been on the private sector. And, let's face it: while there are similarities in the attributes needed in both the private and nonprofit sectors, there are also some distinct differences.

I've identified seven key areas of focus that are necessary to become a great nonprofit leader. I believe these attributes may be learned and practiced to produce a great leader — you don't have to be born with them to demonstrate great leadership! The seven key leadership competencies are:

Being clear on your mission and purpose as a leader means choosing to be part of an organization where you are passionate about the work. It's about being fully aligned with your organization with an unwavering commitment to its vision and mission.

Dedicating yourself to continuous learning is at the core of investing in yourself and others. Staying current on trends and insisting on creating work/life balance are also key components.

Thinking strategically involves partnering with a diverse mix of key stakeholders to determine the direction of the organization based on the current environment and what's possible. It's about flexing and adapting as opportunities arise or circumstances change, while at the same time insisting new initiatives are pursued because they fit with the mission and vision, not just because there's money available to support them.

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