This blog is from a past NELP event in Salida. Of note, all future NELP events will be held in Colorado Springs and will be referred to as NELP 2.5 and NELP 4.0.
Part I. Through the Eyes of a Fellow
In late May, I had the opportunity to attend El Pomar Foundation’s Regional Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program (Regional NELP) in Salida through my work as a Fellow with the Central Peaks Regional Council. Staff from El Pomar and the Center for Creative Leadership spent three days in Salida working with fifteen nonprofit leaders from around the state.
Over the course of the three-day program, Regional NELP attendees participated in a number of professional development, problem solving and goal setting activities as they sought to gain new perspectives as well as insight into themselves, their work and challenges they face as executive directors of small nonprofits. Hearing about their highs, lows and “aha” moments was encouraging and motivating for me as I start out in my own career. I have been a participant in many of these activities through my professional development in the Fellowship Program, and it made me appreciate them all the more as I saw these leaders navigate team-building activities and practice feedback techniques I have learned.
Another valuable aspect of this program is the formal and informal networking that occurs as participants discuss the challenges and celebrate the successes of their organizations. As the days wore on and discussions around budgets, boards and deadlines continued, participants who expressed feeling isolated in their day to day work realized how much their experiences mirrored one another’s. The network built in Regional NELP is invaluable in the same way I deeply appreciate the El Pomar network of Fellows and Fellowship Alumni.
Attending Regional NELP was yet another example of the amazing opportunities El Pomar facilitates throughout the state of Colorado. Through Regional NELP and the Foundation’s other community stewardship programs, El Pomar Trustees are providing development opportunities for young and experienced professionals alike. As Rachel Holder recounts below, El Pomar’s investment in the development of the leaders of Colorado is helping to ensure that the nonprofits continue to serve community needs for years to come.
Erin Kerr, 2nd Year Fellow
Part II. Through the Eyes of a Participant
My background is in social work, making me well-suited to work in a human services nonprofit, but when I began as an executive director in August of 2018, I learned quickly that I was missing some important administrative and leadership skills. My goal in attending Regional NELP was to become more confident and comfortable leading The Alliance, and to gain those skills that would make me a next-level leader.
The community, leadership framework and self-awareness I gained in Regional NELP will continue to impact my leadership as I progress in my career as an executive director. This was my first experience connecting with leaders from different nonprofits and learning from their varied talents and perspectives. The leadership framework that Jere Thomas and Cathy Robbins provided was tangible, relevant and applicable. Finally, the program focused a great deal on self-awareness, which is crucial when in a leadership role. By understanding my tendencies and behaviors, I can lead my staff in a stronger, more intentional manner. I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend Regional NELP and would recommend it to nonprofit leaders who want their organizations to thrive.
The Alliance is an abuse support organization serving women, men and youth suffering from domestic and sexual violence in the Central Peaks region. To do so, we provide crisis intervention, emergency shelter, transitional and long term housing, legal advocacy, women and youth support groups, community education and prevention activities. All services are free and confidential.
Rachel Holder, executive director, The Alliance