Heightened Awareness: How Better Knowing Yourself, Your Team, and Your Community Can Lead to Better

This session will explore the benefits of self-awareness among grants professionals in creating a more successful grants program and a more effective organization. Attendees will assess their own leadership style and the workstyles within their grants teams, and recognize how heightened self-awareness across organizations can enhance overall performance. The session will also introduce the concept of cultural awareness, and how grants professionals' own values, attitudes, and experiences can shape their work and their interactions with others.

The session's main topics will include:
1) Workstyles - the session will introduce different leadership style assessments and explore commonalities to help attendees gain an immediate understanding of their own style and how it meshes with those of their colleagues and funding partners.

2) Learning organizations - the session will identify the hallmarks of a learning organization -one in which employees and volunteers are encouraged to bring their whole selves to the organization, one that values questioning, and one that is open to change in the face of new knowledge and raised awareness

3) Cultural competency - Individuals and organizations that fail to understand the cultures at play in their work and in the lives of those they serve can miss opportunities for greater impact and results; the session will explain the concept of cultural competency, and link attendees to resources that can help increase this critical asset within their organizations

Knowing what each team member brings to the table not only helps departments and organizations leverage strengths and work more effectively, it also allows us them to more easily identify what they don't know, and to fill gaps in knowledge and cultural awareness in building programs and telling their story to funders. In an environment where competition for dollars can be considerable, heightened awareness gives organizations and edge in securing support for their work.

GPC Competencies Addressed:
Organizational development as it pertains to grant seeking
Methods and strategies that cultivate and maintain relationships between fund-seeking and recipient organizations and funders
Practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers


Kari Mirkin has ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, most recently at the Foundation Center-Cleveland and through her local and national leadership roles with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN). Kari received her MNO (Master of Nonprofit Organizations) from Case Western Reserve University and holds a BA in History and German from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She's loved writing for as long as she can remember, and enjoys helping nonprofits share their stories with the community.