“I can't speak enough to how the relationship that I developed with Kivi opened a door
for me to get exactly what I needed not only as a representative of an organization but
also as an individual, to grow as a communications professional and find the next best
opportunity for me. The value of those two things alone is unquantifiable."

- Kayla Hornbrook, Stakeholder Marketing Manager at Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation

Communications Professional Implements Strategies Gained in Training across
Two Organizations, Boosts Professional Development and Fast-Tracks Career

Kayla embarked on the 6-month Communications Director Mentoring Program to enhance her communication skills as the nonprofit organization she worked at expanded. Little did she anticipate that a one-on-one session with Kivi would revolutionize her perspective on communications team standards and expectations.

This experience led to a profound shift in Kayla's professional identity, prompting her to redefine her role as a communications professional. Ultimately, this transformation broadened her vision and paved the way for a new opportunity that resonated with her professional aspirations.

“As a vice president of community relations for a small nonprofit, I was a team of one, responsible for communications and fundraising efforts. The organization was small when I started, and my communication skills were enough,” says Kayla.

As the organization grew and became more sophisticated, she realized she needed a solid strategy. “I had been doing communications work as the fires came up and needed a strategy,” says Kayla.

Her role also shifted from overseeing communications needs to supervising a team. “My perspective changed about how I dealt with other staff members when they had communications projects, how I was growing as a manager, and trying to be strategic about communications needs within the nonprofit,” shares Kayla.

The Mentoring Program helped Kayla reflect on her professional direction. “The value of one-on-one time with Kivi and gaining a mentor's perspective on career direction was extremely valuable. Kivi’s guidance helped me recognize the need to take the next step and explore new opportunities for personal and professional development,” says Kayla.

Crafting an Effective Communication Strategy for Maximum Impact

Before transitioning to a new role at a different organization, Kayla's experience with the Communications Director Mentoring Program was transformative. Through the program, she honed her skills and expertise in crafting effective communication strategies by aligning them with the organization's goals and objectives.

Kayla also appreciated the guidance on creating efficient systems and processes, identifying ways to work smarter and faster, and ensuring that her team was equipped to streamline workflows and track progress effectively.

“I created a content request form that triggered a set of automated flows and processes that helped me organize my work, made sure that program staff came in fully prepared, and increased efficiency over time,” says Kayla.

One of the highlights of the Mentoring Program was the opportunity to connect with and learn from fellow participants during group calls.

“The exchange of ideas, experiences, and expertise was truly invaluable. One individual, in particular, shared a game-changing presentation on generating earned media and PR strategies that revolutionized the next two months of my work! It's moments like these where I witnessed the brilliance and creativity of others that inspired me,” admits Kayla.

Kayla's experience with the Mentoring Program has been nothing short of exceptional, particularly noting her appreciation for the wealth of knowledge and practical tools.

“Communications is this huge umbrella encompassing a wide range of skills and practices. The solutions provided in the mentoring program helped me define and set clear expectations for effective communication within our team and provide guidance on what is expected when engaging in communication and how it contributes to the overall success of the organization,” says Kayla.

Before leaving her job, Kalya created a comprehensive communications content calendar and shared her knowledge and resources with junior staffers. “I was glad to leave the staff with an arsenal of resources to ensure a seamless continuation of the strategic approach with a lot more structure and intentionality,” says Kayla.

A Professional Development Program that Keeps on Giving

In her new position as a stakeholder marketing manager for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, Kayla plays a vital role within a larger communications team. She works closely with states and industry partners to understand their marketing needs.

“Moving into that space was intentional. Because of the mentoring program, I recognized that the next thing for my career was not to be in a shop of one but to learn from people immersed in communications every day,” says Kayla.

Kayla's experience with the Communications Director Mentoring Program began to bear fruit during her initial weeks at the Foundation. Kayla quickly identified the valuable lessons she had imbibed from the program as she delved into her new role. A notable instance was when the social media team presented their content calendar.

“The content calendar bore a striking resemblance to the one I had created for my previous organization as a part of the mentoring program. The familiarity of the layout and its structure was a testament to the effectiveness of the mentoring program, equipping me with professional skills that seamlessly transitioned into my new responsibilities,” shares Kayla.

Witnessing the parallels between her past experiences and the present environment provided Kayla with confidence and familiarity, reinforcing the significance of mentorship in professional development.

Kayla found immense value in utilizing the supplement from the Mentoring Program to recognize her management style and her teammates' approaches to work. “Understanding and applying these lessons as I transitioned into a new workplace while maintaining healthy boundaries was helpful,” says Kayla.

A Valuable Investment Advancing Your Experience by Few Years within Six Months

Reflecting on her journey, Kayla shared that she would recommend the Communications Director Mentoring Program to anybody being a team of one or a small team in a large organization that doesn't understand communications as much. In addition, the program will benefit communications professionals undergoing responsibility changes or transitioning into new roles.

“This program focuses on shifting your mindset from reactive to strategic, empowering you to handle challenges more effectively. If you are experiencing a shift in responsibilities, it offers a valuable opportunity for growth. And the best part -- it will advance your experience by three to five years within just six months!says Kayla.

Kayla shared that joining the mentoring program not only helped her grow professionally but also helped her overcome personal challenges, such as impostor syndrome, and allowed her to find the necessary tools and community.

“I can't speak enough to how the relationship that I developed with Kivi opened a door for me to get exactly what I needed not only as a representative of an organization but also as an individual, to grow as a communications professional and find the next best opportunity for me. The value of those two things alone is unquantifiable."