VCU Center for Corporate Education

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The Center for Corporate Education is proud to offer scholarships to participants interested in enrolling in one of our courses. One of our most recent scholarship recipients, Carmen Dailey, answered a few questions for us about her experience and advice for future participants. For more information on our scholarship program, visit the CCE website.

What is your current career path, and how did you get there?

I’m an Organizational Learning Manager at UMFS, and my position is part of the Strategy and Innovation team.  I’ve always worked in non-profit; I served as an AmeriCorps member twice- first in NCCC, followed by a year with Richmond Habitat for Humanity.  I was then hired by Richmond Habitat, where I spent several years working as the family liaison and helping families navigate the process towards homeownership.  In the meantime, I attended grad school and got a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution (technically, interdisciplinary studies); my degree also included a lot of classes in the Adult Learning master’s degree program.  At the same time, I began working part time with a teambuilding company, Challenge Discovery. (Fun fact: I had a graduate internship at the Center for Corporate Education while pursuing my master’s at VCU!)

I wound up at UMFS after doing a project for them as part of grad school.  I started working in the foster care division of UMFS, in a role similar to the one I held at Habitat: helping parents navigate the process of becoming approved resource parents! I stayed in that role for three years, becoming a supervisor for the foster parent side of foster care.  My role was largely centered around improving the training and development options for foster parents, and after 3 years, I moved into my organizational learning role. I am largely a trainer, and train staff, parents and external groups on a number of topics. The other part of my work is acting as an internal consultant of sorts, facilitating projects and helping teams work through programmatic or system challenges.

How was your experience with your specific course?

It was good!  I enjoyed hearing Ann Deaton’s experiences and seeing her model the coaching approach.  The FUEL framework is helpful, and something I can see myself using in my work with staff.  

How will your experience change or enhance your current career path?

It will enhance it, for sure.  My colleagues and I are working on designing a coaching model for our staff to use, so my hope was that this training would provide some mental sparks as we create that model here.  It definitely did!

What advice would you have for someone considering participating in a CCE course?

CCE is a great resource for people who don’t have easy access to up-to-date, relevant learning opportunities!  The scholarship is incredibly helpful to others like me who can benefit from exposure to business concepts that are still applicable to the non-profit world.

Describe a “lightbulb” moment you’ve had on your personal career journey.

My lightbulb moments have usually been around finding my most authentic passions—what it is that I really love doing.  While I thought I would climb a more traditional ladder, it turns out that I really love doing support work. I love my role as an “internal consultant” of sorts, and really thrive on feeling like I’m helping people do their job/work better.  I love training, but also enjoy a range of more technical tasks like teaching people various technological efficiencies (in a layperson’s language), using our Learning Management System, designing processes and systems, and digging through data to see what can be learned.  Instead of an upward journey, I’ve found a lot of joy in finding ways to use my strengths to serve a broader cross-section of people, from foster and birth parents to social workers and directors. It’s a great feeling to know that my work invites me to use my strengths daily in support of families and kids!

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