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Join the Staff Development Coalition!

Helping nonprofit staff reach professional and personal excellence

Join the Staff Development Coalition and receive discounts on professional and leadership development training. These workshops help nonprofit staff and leaders reach professional and personal excellence through thought-provoking training workshops led by national and regional trainers/experts. You can improve how staff members work with each other and with the communities they serve.

Each session is 3-6 hours long and provides affordable staff and leadership development on topics such as staff retention, diversity and inclusion, cultivating empathy and emotional intelligence, building leadership skills, improving communication, and handling difficult conversations. These topics are suggested and approved by the committee members and are especially important for nonprofits that serve diverse and vulnerable populations.

Topics and trainers are selected with the input of coalition members. The coalition is working to:

  • Provide high quality and critically relevant staff training for nonprofit staff
  • Ensure transfer and application of learning back at the employee's job
  • Promote, strengthen and reinforce a vibrant “culture of learning”

Sessions cost is $100 per person for SDC members that bring 1-5 attendees, $90 that bring 6 or more attendees. Non-members pay $149 per attendee. Learn more about becoming a member by contacting Kendra B. Demuth, kendra@501commons.org, Program Manager of HR Consulting, Organization & Leadership Development.

Learn more about the History and Accomplishments of the  Staff Development Coalition.

Upcoming Staff Development Sessions

Build a Great Nonprofit Staff Team
Wednesday, January 15, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower, 1st Floor, Smart Buildings Center Training/Event Space, Seattle
Trainer: Claudia Malone

Hiring problematic employees comes at a substantial cost to any organization, especially when there are issues that you cannot easily glean from an interview, such as with bad work habits or interpersonal interaction.

The best way to ensure that you don’t have issues with staff performance or behavior is to avoid hiring new employees who come to you with such qualities. But hiring effectively is an art and a skill that can be taught, but then needs to be continuously practiced to improve.

In this staff development workshop we’ll concentrate on the art of interviewing to determine a candidate’s fit for the job and the organization, using both motivational and behavioral interview questions and evaluating candidates’ answers to those questions. We’ll also review interviewing and selection through a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) lens, ensuring that our hiring process is as inclusive and bias-free as possible.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Review employment laws that govern the interview and selection process.
  • Introduce supervisors to various types of interview questions; including situational, motivational, and behavioral questions.
  • Give participants an opportunity to practice developing a structured interview, actually conducting an interview, and making a selection decision based on the candidates’ resumes and interview question responses.
  • Discuss interviewing and selection in terms of DEI, to ensure that the entire hiring process is inclusive and as bias-free as possible.

Participant Outcomes:
By the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

  • Describe the employment laws that relate to recruitment and selection.
  • Evaluate/revise job descriptions, postings, and selection methods (including the interview) to eliminate unintentional bias.
  • Review resumes and applications to determine which candidates best match the job qualifications.
  • Develop behavioral and motivational interview questions.
  • Evaluate candidates using a variety of selection methods.


Meet the Trainer:

Claudia Malone is one of 501 Commons’ HR Consultants. She brings more than 30 years of human resources and training experience to her clients. Her focus: to help organizations do a better job managing their human capital to improve their “bottom line” (and yes, nonprofits have a “bottom line” too). Claudia has a degree in psychology from the University of Rhode Island and is lifetime certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

A self-proclaimed employment law junkie, Claudia develops and teaches HR courses for two local community colleges, and is a past board chair for Eastside Baby Corner, a nonprofit providing essentials for children and families in need.

For more  information and to register: https://hiring-the-best-jan2020.eventbrite.com


Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Leaders
Wednesday, February 12, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower, 1st Floor, Smart Buildings Center Training/Event Space, Seattle
Trainer: Michelle Gislason

Being a nonprofit manager isn’t just about supervising your employees; it also requires being a leader who helps the people around them grow, learn, and reach their full potential.

This highly interactive skills-building workshop is based on presenter Michelle Gislason’s acclaimed book “Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Managers and Leaders” and its principles.

Michelle will introduce you to a coaching-focused model of management that creates a culture of discipline and accountability while empowering others to be even more responsible, accountable, and self-motivated. Then, she discusses the four foundational coaching skills (inquiry, listening, feedback, sharing) and how this framework produces optimal coaching conversations with colleagues. There will also be time for practicing these skills with peers.

Learning Objectives

• Understand what coaching is and how to use it in the context of leadership and management
• Explore foundational coaching skills
• Learn a coaching framework to enhance developmental conversations
• Practice coaching


Meet the Trainer:
Michelle Gislason MA, is a Leadership and Organizational Development Coach and Consultant living in Seattle, Washington. She is also a network partner with CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and developed several of CompassPoint’s leadership programs, including the Coaching and Philanthropy Initiative, the Blue Shield of California Foundation Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program and Network Weaver Learning Lab (NWLL), and the Thriving as an Executive Director series. She is an Organizational Development (OD) coach for the NoVo Foundation’s Move to End Violence Initiative and co-author of the award-winning book “Coaching Skills for Nonprofits Managers and Leaders” (Jossey-Bass).

In addition to being a trainer, consultant, and certified organizational coach, Michelle is a trained facilitator in the Authenticity Circles© peer coaching model and an instructor and teaching associate at University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree and completed her Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology in 2007.

For more  information and to register: https://coaching-skills-sdc-feb2020.eventbrite.com


Help! I'm Invisible - Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace
Tuesday, March 24, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower, 1st Floor, Smart Buildings Center Training/Event Space, Seattle
Trainer: Nancu Kasmar

This training is back by popular demand!

The word “disability” is often used to describe an ongoing physical challenge. While some disabilities may seem obvious, but many are unseen – or “invisible.” This workshop will provide you with knowledge and guidance on the impact of invisible disabilities in the workplace and challenge the way you think about disabilities.

We will discuss the prevalence and cost of invisible disabilities, disability etiquette, and techniques to support and encourage your staff who self-disclose their invisible disabilities to the organization. Participants will understand their own attitudes about invisible disabilities, how to promote acceptance and support people with invisible disabilities in their own workplaces. Staff at all levels will benefit from this workshop; managers and supervisors are especially encouraged to attend.

Based on participant feedback we added even more opportunities for participants to actively engage with the workshop material and other participants. Facilitator Nancy Kasmar will demonstrate how common invisible disabilities are in the workplace through presentation materials, videos, and a panel of 3-4 adults who will offer their perspectives about living and working with different invisible disabilities. There will also be small group discussions, with a report out to the entire group, about what participants plan to do to change their co-workers’ attitudes about invisible disabilities.

Participant Outcomes

  • Understand the prevalence of invisible disabilities, as well as the impact on employee engagement, productivity, and the organization’s bottom line.
  • Learn techniques for supporting and encouraging self-disclosure.
  • Learn how to support people with invisible disabilities.
  • Know how to assess the business practices for accessibility for employees with and without invisible disabilities.
  • Understand how to use available resources related to invisible disabilities.

Meet the Trainer: Nancy Kasmar is a Principal of Compensation Connections, with over 25 years of management experience in addition to 12 years in human resources and total rewards. She received her Master of Science degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and a Certificate in Management from the University of California, San Diego. Nancy holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation with an additional certification as a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP). She is also certified as a SHRM-SCP.

Nancy has worked with hundreds of organizations throughout North America as a compensation consultant. She is the 2018 Director for Washington SHRM and is a past President of the Lake Washington Human Resource Association. In addition to her professional and volunteer responsibilities, Nancy speaks regionally and nationally on topics ranging from compensation and benefits to mentorship and diversity.

For more information and to register: https://invisible-disabilities-sdc-mar2020.eventbrite.com

Registration for these workshops is hosted on Eventbrite. If you need help, here are the step-by-step instructions for registration.