Completing the course in a creatively adapted virtual format


For this year’s class, the Executive Preparation Institute had some unique challenges. After only holding one day of the series in person, we had to move everything to a virtual setting. We worried about how this would impact the experience and that there would be less of a chance to have peer-to-peer networking. Luckily, our participants were willing to roll with the punches, and our attendance stayed high throughout. Our presenters worked to make their sessions more interactive and incorporate Zoom functions like polling, annotating and breakout rooms to ensure participation. Participants were encouraged to use the chat functions, as well as chiming in to the whole group with any comments they may have had.

Presenters included Center faculty members who spoke on a wide range of topics according to the focus of each day: board governance, fundraising, finances, strategic planning and program evaluation. This year, we started the series with a brand new session on implicit bias to help ground everyone and reveal their own biases so they could be more open to understanding their peers’ experiences and perspectives. The participants also took a DISC Assessment to better understand their own workplace behaviors.

On the last day of the series, our Coaching program facilitators at ProInspire explained the benefits of executive coaching and how the program would function moving forward. Participants also heard from a panel of previous EXCEL Award winners to get firsthand accounts of what it is like to serve in an executive role.

We were happy to be joined this year by a representative of the Coaching program’s funder, American Express. Rebecca Gnessin, Manager, Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility, was able to join us at the end of our coaching discussion and even shared a little bit about her own journey into her current role. This is the 4th consecutive year American Express has funded the program!

As always, the cohort was tasked with reading a book that was to be discussed on our last day. This year’s book was Take Me With You by Scott Jackson, President and CEO at Center Member Global Impact. His book discusses his personal journey to find the charity within, a great way to end the series and remind us all why we choose to work in the nonprofit sector. We were excited to have him on hand to lead actual discussion!

Details for EPI 2021 will be available in Fall 2020. Registration is scheduled to go live by the end of September.

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