Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

‘Catholic Charities University’ develops leadership skills for program staff

the Inland Register

(From the Sept. 13, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Jon Andrus, Spokane Catholic Charities’ Finance Director, leads a class for Catholic Charities University. (IR photo from Catholic Charities)

“Catholic Charities University” (CCU) is a year-long supervisory/leadership training course for Program Coordinators and other Catholic Charities staff who are interested in developing their leadership styles and potential.

The program is the brainchild of Catholic Charities’ Executive Director, Dr. Rob McCann, and is facilitated by Human Resources Coordinator Andrea Garrett.

CCU has largely to do with teaching the skills necessary for effectively supervising employees. The intention of the program is to lay the foundation for succession and retention.

“CCU has become a large part of our in-house leadership development,” said Dr. McCann. “Many of our current leaders have been promoted from within the organization, and CCU is our flagship effort to continue with that process.” Seven of Charities’ 15 current programs are presently helmed by individuals who were promoted from within the organization.

Leaders at Catholic Charities brainstormed to come up with practical topics that affect day-to-day supervision, such as Discovering Self and Others, Networking with the Community, Corrective Actions and Goal Setting, Budgeting, and Team Development. The classes are taught by the directors of the various programs, a move that is both cost-effective and brings specific expertise to the effort.

“Their trainings really are interwoven with our mission,” said Garrett, with the hope that the program coordinators will take all the topics and relate them back to Catholic Charities’ core values: respect, compassion, collaboration, and justice. The real payoff is better-quality service for clients.

Garrett believes that CCU is a great way to build upon Catholic Charities’ core value of collaboration, especially important since the programs are geographically diverse, which can be a challenge to networking. “Some staff feel kind of isolated,” Garrett said. “This way we can feed off each other’s experiences and be inspired by hearing about all the other work going on at Catholic Charities.”

Anonymous evaluation forms provide feedback on the program, and offer encouraging comments from participants. “You always wonder with a training program whether it’s going to be successful, but the surveys have said it’s been very helpful in the coordinators’ development,” said Garrett. “Not once have I felt like this is a waste of time.”

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