Monday, November 9, 2009

Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program: Q&A with Diana Allen


Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, CRC’s acclaimed Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program provides innovative leadership and management training for executive directors of Colorado nonprofit organizations. CRC interviewed Diana Allen, class of 2009 participant.

Diana Allen, Executive Director, Community Partnership Family Resource Center in Divide Colorado, (CPFRC). CPFRC is a human services organization which serves all of Teller County. CPFRC has seven programs: Bright Beginnings/Parents As Teachers, Empowering Young Parents, Parent Education, Playgroups, Middle School After School Program, Adult Basic Education, and Health Advocacy.

How have you become a better leader as a result of your participation in CRC’s Leadership Program? I now know what people mean when they say “It’s lonely at the top.” T his class has allowed me to meet with peers who are in the same position I’m in and I can reach out to them if I need a sounding board. I have learned that I have to make tough decisions and live with the consequences. Several of our activities have brought that home to me. Even though it’s not crystal clear to me, I now understand financial statements much better. Since I had little background in leadership and management, I really needed this course. I am forever grateful to the Anschutz Family Foundation for their scholarship.

What specific technical or management skills have you learned and implemented within your organization? I have a richer understanding of how to approach fundraising and will be working with some Board members to implement some new ideas about raising funds. I also have a better idea of how to go about establishing a workable budget. Last year I had no experience with doing a budget. Now I feel more confident about working one out. Jeff Pryor’s presentation about Boards was outstanding. It helped me to learn more about Board policy which is integral to the proper administration of a nonprofit.

What was your greatest “take away” from the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center’s Executive Leadership experience? The high point for me (no pun intended) was the rock climbing. I had made up my mind that, at age 68, rock climbing was not something I needed to add to my repertoire. Then when I saw Chanda, who is paralyzed, go up on someone’s back, I decided that I should at least try it. I didn’t go all the way up, but I went part way and was thrilled. I also learned how to belay. From this rock climbing experience I have learned that I can achieve what I set my mind to, no matter how scary!

What personal insights have you made because of your participation in CRC’s Leadership Program coaching component? I have only started the coaching, yet I am already learning better ways to work with my Board.

Do you have other thoughts or comments you would like to make about your experience? This has been a once in a lifetime, incredible experience. I feel so much more in control of my position as Executive Director. Rafting on the Platte River through Denver was a super experience, too, thanks to CityWild.

Would you recommend the Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program to other ED’s across CO? If so, why? I think anyone associated with a nonprofit will benefit greatly from this experience. Getting to meet and share ideas with so many nonprofit leaders throughout the state will doubly pay back the time and effort spent.

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