Before Olivia Bowler signed up for the Communications Director Mentoring Program, she struggled to make time to think strategically and instead just jumped on every task. “I was overwhelmed,” says Olivia, the director of communications at Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, NC. “Being a relatively new director, I was eager to prove myself to my teammates, but I ended up taking orders more than doing the high-level work I was hired to do.”
Participating in the Communication Director Mentoring Program helped Olivia create space to plan and to think. It also underscored the importance of prioritizing her work. “The program’s structure was very helpful. Rather than just scattershot professional development, I was able to see exactly where we needed to level up and what we could do to get there,” says Olivia.
The program also validated Olivia’s need and ability to establish boundaries around her time and workload and gave her the confidence to enforce those boundaries. “Now I ask a lot of questions before taking on new projects, and regularly rely on data and metrics to make a case for prioritizing one thing over another,” says Olivia. “My colleagues have responded positively to these changes in our workflows, which also feels like a win.”
After completing the program, Olivia has a clear learning plan to guide where she goes next in improving her own leadership and her team’s performance. “I went into the program feeling overwhelmed, but I walked away from it with the path ahead of me illuminated, which is really exciting,” says Olivia. “I feel really optimistic about the systems my team has put into place and our capacity to do more sophisticated work.”
“Nonprofit comms can feel really chaotic. It’s hard sometimes to sort through all the noise to plan, strategize, and grow,” says Olivia. “The Communications Director Mentoring Program sets that time aside for you to reflect. It leads you through exercises and idea sharing that force you to slow down and consider your workflows. This is so valuable, especially when you are just starting out and you don’t feel as if you can or should carve that time out for yourself to think.”