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Pitt County nonprofit leaders earn certificate from Duke

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Pitt County was well represented in this year's Duke Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership training. Theresa Gilmore, Susan Nobles and Emily Jarvis, left to right, were part of the 26-member class, which featured representation from 14 states and four countries.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

A trio of professionals from Pitt County nonprofit organizations completed a week of training at Duke University last month to earn the prestigious Duke Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership.

Accepted for participation in the highly-competitive program were Pitt Community College Vice President of Institutional Advancement Susan Nobles, A Time for Science (ATFS) Executive Director Emily Jarvis, and Theresa Gilmore, who is chief development officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain. In all, the 2017 class was comprised of 26 students from 14 states and four countries.

“This was an amazing opportunity to connect with nonprofit leaders throughout not only the US but internationally,” said Jarvis, who has been with ATFS since 2013. “It was incredible spending time with my classmates, sharing challenges and successes of our nonprofits, something that I rarely get the opportunity to do.”

Offered annually, the certificate program consists of high-impact training for nonprofit professionals whose leadership transforms organizations, communities and lives. Topics include best practices of high-impact nonprofit organizations, leadership principles, cultivating entrepreneurial leadership, and preparing for the next generation of nonprofit leaders.

Jarvis said the training she received at Duke included strategies for tackling common issues that affect nonprofit organizations.

“Not only did this certification program offer best practices for business, it focused on self-reflection and self-care of the leaders of the organizations,” she said. “I came back with a new perspective and was able to immediately implement some best practices to benefit A Time for Science and its staff.”

All three of Pitt County’s Duke Scholars received scholarships from the Community Foundation of NC East to attend the training, which took place Oct. 9-13. Funding came through a Wells Fargo Foundation grant the Greenville-based nonprofit was awarded several years ago to provide professional development opportunities to leaders in nonprofit management in eastern North Carolina.

Melissa Spain, executive director of Community Foundation of NC East, said her organization provides professional development seminars throughout the year, in addition to awarding several scholarships for the Duke Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofit Management annually.

“It was an honor to receive a $5,000-scholarship from the Community Foundation of NC East for this outstanding executive leadership training,” Nobles said. “The investment they made in three Duke Scholars should provide great dividends in higher level management support for the three nonprofit organizations we represent in Pitt County and eastern North Carolina.”

In addition to learning more about entrepreneurial leadership and the positive impact it can have on an organization and community, Nobles, who also serves as the PCC Foundation’s executive director, said she learned the importance of developing an organization’s goals and values.

“Several faculty members stressed the importance of developing the culture of an organization with the staff and the board, and recognizing that the culture of the organization is much more important for its success than its strategies. Or, as the late management consultant Peter Drucker once said, ‘culture eats strategies for breakfast.’”

Gilmore, who assumed her current role with Boys & Girls Clubs in 2013, said she looked forward to incorporating the lessons she learned at Duke into her role with the organization. She is responsible for securing major gifts from donors, coordinating special events, and writing grants to support a $4.2 million-budget needed to serve more than 3,000 youths in eastern North Carolina.

“Our organization has experienced significant growth over the last five years,” she said. “The courses at Duke prepared me to more effectively lead a team through organizational change and operational effectiveness and efficiency.”

A unit of the Duke Office of Continuing Studies, the Duke Nonprofit Management Program offers affordable, practical, and accessible training to individuals working in or with the nonprofit sector – whether paid staff, volunteers, philanthropists, boards, nonprofit leaders, faith-based communities, or those transitioning from the private sector. The program integrates Duke’s commitment to academic excellence with the practical wisdom of instructors and realistic work experience of participants.

“As the nonprofit profession continues to evolve and nonprofit professionals take on broader and more strategic responsibilities, nonprofit leaders seek to develop their leadership skills,” said Nancy Love, director of the Duke Nonprofit Management Program. “In today’s environment, high-impact nonprofits need people who lead by accepting change and creating innovative solutions.”

For more information on the executive certificate, which will be offered again in October 2018, visit www.learnmore.duke.edu/nonprofit/executiveleadership.

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