Are you ready to Leap into a new year of learning?
By Mindy Bonderofff, SARC Facilitator of Education and Training
Leap, SARC’s management skills development program which is intended for senior management and Executive Directors, is beginning its seventh year this September! Over these last seven years, the program has been updated, revised, and sessions have been added; however, the program itself remains constant – an excellent professional development opportunity for leaders in the nonprofit sector. Leap consists of nine sessions covering a variety of topics including human resources, labour relations, recruitment and retention, and more.
We received a testimonial letter from 2020 Leap graduate Denine Peterson from SaskAbilities that I would like to share with you. Denine writes:
“Since September 2019, I have been attending monthly Leap Management Skills Development Training sessions, with approximately 15 other people from southern Saskatchewan who also work in the Disability Service Sector. The session topics have ranged from Governance and Employee and Labour Relations, to Recruitment and Retention and Branding, Promotions, and Engagement. The remaining two sessions will be offered via an online delivery format in May and June .
The training has helped me identify my own personal leadership style, as well as leadership qualities and traits that I currently possess, and others that I would like to further develop. Prior to working at SaskAbilities, I held a couple supervisory positions and, during that time, I felt as if I did not receive adequate training or the tools to be able to appropriately respond to situations I was faced with. Many times during the Leap training, I have found myself thinking back to some of those instances that occurred during my previous postings, and wishing I had been able to complete the Leap sessions back then, as it has empowered me to be a more confident professional. The Leap training has enhanced my knowledge of current labour standards and best industry practices, which, in turn, has also increased my ability to address and resolve issues in the workplace.
I really enjoy and appreciate the networking opportunities the Leap training has offered me, in that it has allowed me to learn more about other non-profit organizations in Saskatchewan and the challenges their programs face.
All of the facilitators who present during the Leap training are experts in their field – some work for SARC and others are contracted out from other agencies. The facilitators are incredibly knowledgeable on their given topic and provide real life situations they’ve encountered during the course of their career. They also cite specific legislation to support the decisions they’ve made to resolve those issues. Other topics the facilitators have discussed that I did not know much about prior to the training, are the role and responsibilities of an executive director and the board of directors, pro-active ways to ensure your organization has a positive presence in the community, and financial reporting. With having more knowledge in these areas of the non-profit sector, I feel that I am a more informed employee who can better comprehend and appreciate the rationale behind certain decisions that are made within our organization.
Another one of the most worthwhile components of the training, in my opinion, are the learning exercise packages and learner handbooks that are distributed to each participant. These packages provide sample scenarios to reflect upon and discuss as a group to gain new perspective(s). Other resources, such as checklists and sample templates, are also included in these learning packages and I feel they are very valuable, in that they can be referred back to and utilized in future situations. These are all materials that can be adapted to suit any circumstances/issues within your own organization, and I have archived them in a binder to reference when/as needed.
Through participating in the Leap training, I have learned that strong leadership means having a passion for the organization’s mission, the ability to translate that passion into action, and the capacity to influence others to achieve goals. It is very apparent that SaskAbilities’ leadership team exhibits these qualities and strives to promote leadership within its existing staff members. SaskAbilities managers also frequently reference our organization’s mission, vision, and values, which demonstrates that our leadership team stays current with best practices. I am proud to work for such an organization, and feel very fortunate to be employed with an organization that enables its staff to pursue professional development opportunities like the Leap Management Skills Development training.”
Thanks Denine for sharing your Leap experience with us! We look forward to seeing the next group of Leap Learners.
If your organization is eligible for COMPASS, you can send two employees to all nine sessions of the Leap program at-no cost, a value of $2,700 per Learner.
Having a well-trained manager leads to a successful organization and increasing organizational capacity and sustainability. With programs for staff, supervisors, managements, and Board Directors, SARC Learning Central is a one-stop shop for nonprofit professional development. Be sure to check out the Learning Central website at www.sarclearningcentral.ca.