After a semester of Wednesday night classes, mentorship meetings, and research assignments, The Guild’s second Leadership Employee Advancement and Development (LEAD) cohort has graduated from the program this month.
Created with the International Institute of New England and funded by a grant from the Sudbury Foundation, the LEAD curriculum covered a comprehensive list of topics, including communication strategies, conflict resolution, decision-making frameworks, and public speaking skills. The program was designed to continue a pipeline of staffing stability for those served by The Guild while supporting the career advancement of employees, especially for English Language Learner (ELL) staff. Participants also had a chance to meet with a member of The Guild’s leadership team during monthly mentorship meetings.
Three LEAD graduates have already been promoted to new roles with increased responsibilities since starting the program: Adrian Tatro, Speech Therapy Manager, Katherine Storer, Family Engagement Coordinator, and Reinato Hilaire, Lead Teacher Assistant.
“Through LEAD, we wanted to increase employees’ comfort and confidence in working with leadership while providing a ‘big picture’ understanding of organizational issues,” says Suzanne Henderson, The Guild’s Director of Professional Development and Research. “The program also offered participants a chance to build professional relationships across departments.”
LEAD graduates appreciated learning about The Guild’s organizational structure while building new professional skill sets.
“Through LEAD, I gained an understanding of how nonprofit organizations operate and learned about supervision, opening new programs, and supporting staff,” says Louis Marie Tsango Olomo, LEAD graduate and Lead Residential Assistant with Billerica House.
Members of The Guild’s senior leadership team facilitated each of the weekly class sessions. This year, The Guild also invited Dr. Saida Abdi, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development, to present on multicultural leadership and cultural humility. Dr. Abdi spoke on the importance of recognizing and celebrating how cultural differences show up in the workplace, a topic especially relevant for organizations like The Guild with a diverse workforce.
The program culminated in final presentations that allowed participants to identify a challenge facing The Guild and present potential solutions. Topics included teaching citizenship in the classroom, expanding assistive technology usage, improving onboarding processes, and making resources for parents more accessible.
“Our hope is that we’ll be able to implement some of these policy proposals within our programs at The Guild,” says Suzanne.
LEAD program graduates include:
Susie Smith Bouhda, Guild School Teacher
Cliff Fleurancois, Student Services Coordinator
Reinato Hilaire, Lead Teacher Assistant
Kevin Jean, Guild School Teacher
Katie Johnson, Guild School Admissions Manager
Walter Johnson, Facilities Technician
Vincent Nterful, Lead Residential Assistant, Walpole House
Louis Marie Tsango Olomo, Lead Residential Assistant, Billerica House
Junior Paris, Manager, Dedham House
Laurel Simpson, Speech Language Assistant
Katherine Storer, Family Engagement Coordinator
Adrian Tatro, Speech Therapy Manager
Dithan Tuhairwe, Assistant Residential Manager, Chestnut House
Looking ahead, The Guild is excited to roll out a new professional development initiative this spring, Leadership in Direct Support (LIDS), that will focus on the unique leadership needs and opportunities for growth of direct support staff.