Staff Spotlight: Laura Mejia's Q&A on the Next Leaders Development Program
On September 19, 2019, 211 LA’s 211 Program Director, Laura Mejia, graduated from the Next Leaders Development Program (NLDP), a program put on by the Center for Nonprofit Management of Southern California to grow diversity in nonprofit management. Laura took the time to answer a few of our questions about her experience.
What is the focus of this program?
NLDP is a 6-month program that aims to create a pipeline of talent that better reflects the diversity that is innate to Southern California. The program is designed for ethnically diverse emerging leaders working in organizations throughout LA County. Participants are accepted into the program based on their desire to be better prepared to advance into a more senior leadership position.
How did you get connected with this opportunity?
A: Amy Latzer, 211 LA’s Chief Operating Officer, participated in the pilot/founding group and suggested that I apply for the program.
How was the program structured?
A: Sessions combine guest speakers representing ethnically diverse backgrounds, lectures, group exercises/interactions, networking, and one-on-one coaching. There were six sessions as follows: Session 1 – Executive Leadership Overview
Session 2 – How to Show Up As a Leader
Session 3 – Leading within Your Organization
Session 4 – Becoming a Community Leader
Session 5 – Leadership to Create Change
Session 6 – Presenting Yourself as a Leader
What kind of activities did you participate in?
A: We explored work styles to gain insight into our own leadership styles/behaviors. Participated in solution circles and peer meetings/learning groups. We had several panels including a panel of minorities who were in executive positions that talked about the challenges they faced moving up and what they did to overcome their challenges.
What did you learn/gain from the program?
I learned/gained insight about my own leadership style including benefits and limitations. I also learned about working with multiple generations in the workforce, the basic roles and responsibilities of nonprofit boards and staff coaching tips and skills.
What will you be bringing back to 211 LA from the program?
A: I want to apply some of the knowledge and skills I gained to take a look at how we can improve new hire retention at 211 LA, including revising the hiring process and training, creating mentorship opportunities, and developing strategies to engage new hires with the whole organization. Our Community Resource Advisors who staff the 2-1-1 hotline 24/7 have a very hard job, and I want to bring creative ways in to support and engage them with the work of the whole organization.