For the past two years, The Guild has held its Leadership Employee Advancement and Development (LEAD) program annually to promote the professional development of the organization’s emerging leaders. After receiving an overwhelming number of applications for this year’s LEAD cohort, program directors decided to build a new professional development program specifically for employees in direct support roles. The program, Leadership in Direct Support (LiDS), launches this week.

The past two cycles of LEAD have resulted in tangible outcomes for participants, with many being promoted or gaining employment in a new Guild department upon graduation. Suzanne Henderson, Director of Professional Development and Research with The Guild, hopes to continue this momentum with LiDS and promote professional growth and career exploration among the cohort’s accomplished participants.

“LiDS grew directly out of our LEAD program,” said Suzanne. “It focuses on the interests of residential assistants and teaching assistants but has the same objective of offering career paths and growth within The Guild.”

Like LEAD, the LiDS curriculum includes organizational topics like finance, human resources, leadership, communication, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. It will have a strong focus on the various career options available in the human services field at The Guild and beyond. As part of that, this week’s opening session will feature a panel of Guild employees who have held multiple positions within the sector and can speak to the broad range of professional skill sets applicable to the field.

LiDS participants will be matched with a mentor at The Guild based on their professional interests and objectives. Throughout the program, participants will work with their mentor and session facilitators to develop their professional story highlighting their background and what drew them to the field. Much like The Guild’s Suitcase Stories event in partnership with the International Institute of New England, LiDS program members will be able to sharpen their public speaking and presentation skills by sharing their stories with the cohort during the final session.

“Providing an opportunity for The Guild community to engage in storytelling and hear about each other’s backgrounds and interests helps us create a culture of understanding and inclusivity,” said Suzanne.

The Guild selected twelve employees in direct support roles across our youth and adult programs for the inaugural LiDS class, including:

Nansen Alexandre, Residential Assistant, Walpole House

Immaculate Dambya, Residential Assistant, Waltham House

Vilno Fils, Residential Assistant, Maynard House

Geofrey Kahinda, Residential Assistant, Cedar House

David Kiggwe Nsubuga, Residential Assistant, Melrose House

Annet Komugisha, Teaching Assistant

Vanessa Nanziri, Teaching Assistant

Maximilien Nyante, Residential Assistant, Maynard House

George Odong, Residential Assistant, Woburn II House

Giuliano Prato, Teaching Assistant

Marcus Saboya, Teaching Assistant

Ederson Chery, Residential Assistant, Maple House


The LiDS program will run through mid-June.