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July 20, 2017

The leader within you lunch & learn

A 2016 study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that professional development opportunities rank in the top 10 perks for attracting and retaining employees. But training doesn’t have to be a large-scale, expensive endeavor. Staff of the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) have participated in many professional development opportunities in the community. At a recent voluntary brown bag lunch session coordinated and presented by graduates of various programs, staff learned about professional development opportunities in the community.

CONNECT2Careers (C2C) Training Specialist Taryell Simmons and Program Technician Kameron Bacon are participating in RISE San Diego’s Urban Leadership Fellows Program, which identifies and nurtures rising leaders ready to engage in meaningful community change work. C2C Manager Stephen Colón recently participated in this opportunity.

C2C Program Coordinator Nancy Flores and Business Account Manager Penelope Oseguera participated in MANA de San Diego’s Latina Success Leadership Program, which helps Latinas move forward and go further and higher in the workforce.

Director of Programs Andrew Picard and Communications Specialist Wilda Wong recently graduated from LEAD San Diego’s IMPACT San Diego, which highlights historic and contemporary perspectives on relevant regional themes and features presentations by leading experts and key community leaders. Other SDWP staff who have completed this program include Program Specialist Amanda Cheyney, Director of Business Services and Research Tina Ngo Bartel and COO Andy Hall.

Wong also participated in San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute, a civic leadership training program for progressive young professionals.

C2C STEAM Manager Alex Becker and Simmons completed the Equinox Project’s Leaders 2020 Nonprofit Leadership Training Program, which bridges the gap between young professionals and nonprofit board service with organizations working on quality of life and sustainability issues.

“Participating in leadership development programs has helped me become aware of the importance of self-leadership—the process by which you influence yourself to achieve your objectives,” said Program Specialist Tanissha Harrell, who has completed the certificate of nonprofit management and taken a leadership management course, both at Brandman University.

According to, self-leadership is “inside-out” leadership. Developing self-awareness (knowing one’s own intentions and values), self-confidence (knowing one’s own strengths and abilities) and self-efficacy (self-belief) are key.

Many of the community professional development opportunities offered in the region start with examining one’s values and intentions—what makes us tick.

Why invest in professional development? According to Fast Company, “…when professional development programs work, they help companies attract and retain top talent, increase employee engagement and satisfaction, and boost innovation.” Forbes agrees on this point.

Perhaps equally important, participation in these programs has helped get the word about SDWP, and helped build important connections, leading to SDWP partnerships with the Barrio Logan College Institute, KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy, Ocean Discovery Institute and more. 

It has also led to important and intentional conversations around equity both in relationships and in service delivery.

“RISE believes a key component to advancing urban leadership is dialogue-based civic engagement,” says Dwayne Crenshaw, CEO of RISE San Diego. “Through their work in the RISE Urban Leadership Fellows program, SDWP’s staff have engaged in critical dialogues with community leaders, bringing to the table a unique perspective with their knowledge and expertise in workforce development, and using the things they’ve learned from their colleagues in the community to develop programs which empower urban residents.”

SDWP staff are passionate not only about connecting job seekers to employers; they are also interested in their communities. Participating in professional development opportunities provides not only personal and professional growth but also in-depth exposure to issues in the region, creating new partnership opportunities.

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