“The Communications Director Mentoring Program gave me structure and prioritized different aspects of the work for my team in particular. I have a roadmap laid out ahead of me, with clear steps and resources, and I can see how I want my team to be functioning years from now."

- Tenaya Senzaki, Marketing and Communications Manager at Little Tokyo Service   Center (LTSC)

New Leader Gains Strategies and Roadmap to Empower Her Team, Enhance and Incorporate Effective Communication, Driving Results

THE SITUATION – Craving Strategic Guidance, Mentorship and Peer Interaction

When Tenaya assumed the marketing and communications manager position at Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), she found herself wearing many hats, as is often the case in the nonprofit world.

With a diverse range of responsibilities, she encountered a new communications team that needed more structure and expertise. The lack of it hindered the team's ability to perform strategically, resulting in stagnant progress and basic output. “We were operating almost like an internal agency, where we were just generating assets,” shares Tenaya.

Tenaya also felt isolated in her new role. Without a support system to turn to, she felt lost in her responsibilities and yearned for guidance. “As a small communications team, I didn’t have peers to look to; I craved professional development and mentorship,” admits Tenaya.

To enhance her skills and establish a more defined framework for the team within the organization, Tenaya sought educational resources and professional development opportunities to overcome these obstacles and elevate their communication strategies.

THE SOLUTION – A Perfect Blend of Immediate Applicability and Long-Term Strategic Guidance

Shortly after registering for the Communications Director Mentoring Program, Tenaya discovered the immense value it offered. She expressed that the program resonated with her, describing it as speaking directly her language. “The Mentoring Program was exactly what I was looking for. I trusted Kivi and wanted to learn more through her. It was a no-brainer for me to go with this program,” shares Tenaya.

For Tenaya, the program offered a perfect blend of immediate applicability and long-term strategic guidance. She embraced the structured frameworks, wealth of resources, and insightful peer interactions. “I've been able to insert communications into the strategy and functioning of the organization instead of operating as an internal agency,” says Tenaya.

She also found receiving personalized support during one-on-one time with Kivi valuable and unique. This tailored approach allowed for a deep dive into specific issues, challenges, and dynamics within her team environment.

“The opportunity to engage directly with Kivi provided a platform to address my individual concerns effectively and discuss obstacles in a manner that was directly relevant to our needs,” says Tenaya.

Another aspect of the program that Tenaya found valuable was being part of a cohort of peers. “Hearing from and interacting with other professionals facing similar situations offered valuable insights and perspectives. It helped me feel connected and less isolated, knowing that others are navigating similar challenges,” says Tenaya.

THE RESULTS – Clear Roadmap for the Communications Team and the Organization

One of Tenaya's biggest challenges was prioritizing audiences in terms of communications. It was a daunting task due to the diversity of LTSC's work. She learned strategies during the 6-month program that she could immediately apply to address the challenge of getting organizational agreement on the target audiences that LTSC served.

With this newfound clarity, Tenaya successfully facilitated a conversation with her directors, leading to a collective agreement on the priority audiences for their communication efforts. “Previously, that wasn’t a conversation that I felt prepared to have with our leadership, but through a one-on-one call with Kivi, I gained valuable insights, a framework, and key questions to guide the discussion with leadership,” says Tenaya.

Tenaya shares that the benefits of the Mentoring Program extend beyond individual teams and work projects. “The insights I gained significantly impacted the entire organization. I feel like I’m able to wield the full power of communications to support the organization’s mission and ultimately strengthen our impact.”

The program covered a wide area of her work and provided tools designed to be beneficial in the current situation and for years to come. “The resources I gained allowed not only myself to grow, but my team as a whole. There’s nothing else out there that speaks to nonprofit marketing and communications with the quality level that this program provides,” says Tenaya.

The program also equipped her with skills, tools, and knowledge that she can carry forward in her career. “What I loved about this program is that even though it was catered to and tailored to my specific situation, these are also skills and tools I can take with me throughout my career, not just my role in this one organization,” says Tenaya.

The Mentoring Program enabled Tenaya's communications team to have all the necessary tools to achieve significant progress and map out future success. “Because we were starting from a beginner place, this program gave me structure and prioritized different aspects of the work for my team in particular. I have a roadmap laid out ahead of me, with clear steps and resources, and I can see how I want my team to be functioning years from now,” says Tenaya.