2015 Sessions

Sessions take place from 11:30am-1:30pm* at the William A Grant Water & Environmental Center at Walla Walla Community College.  The sessions are duplicated on the second date, so please register for the date most convenient for you.

2015 Curriculum Description for Sessions offered March through November


MARCH 18, 2015    Yvonne Freitas McGookin with 501 Commons joins a panel of local Human Resource professionals from the Blue Mountain Human Resource Management Association of Walla Walla to share best practices concerning the importance of employee engagement to reduce turnover and enhance the effective delivery of services.

March 27, 2015    Sara Lawson with Shorthand Consulting, Seattle, WA, will address Leadership, Teamwork, and Trust: Building an Extraordinary Board-Staff Partnership at the Sherwood Trust's 16th Annual Workshop at Whitman College.  This interactive workshop will focus on how to build a strong partnership between board and staff to set the stage for strategic thinking, powerful decision-making, and effective follow-through.

APRIL 21 and 22, 2015    Susan Newton of Development Strategies Plus will address a topic currently relevant to the local nonprofit community.

MAY 21 and 22, 2015    Andy Robinson, noted national consultant, trainer, and author, addresses Mobilize Your Board to Raise More Money.  Andy will explore why boards don't raise money and outline practical strategies to inspire them to become involved and effective.  He also will be available for 1-hour consultations with individual nonprofit organizations.

JUNE 9 AND 10, 2015   Jim Byrnes, executive director of Friends of Children of Walla Walla, is a certified Lean Leader trained in Lean Methodologies.  Although LEAN originally was designed for manufacturing firms, it has been adapted to the nonprofit field by agencies such as Group Health Cooperative and others.  Jim will focus on communication and work flow using LEAN methods along with development of cross-functional teams and team building.

SEPTEMBER 15 and 16, 2015     Susan Newton of Development Strategies Plus will explore Peter Drucker's comment that "culture eats strategy for breakfast."  She will focus on what is culture, why it is important, and how do you change it to build and sustain the capacity of an organization.  She also will address how to get the "right staff people on the bus" and to retain them.

OCTOBER 20 and 21, 2015    Jan McGowan of Jan McGowan Nonprofit Consulting will continue the conversation on "culture eating strategy for breakfast" by focusing on how culture impacts strategic planning, fundraising, and delivering programs in order to sustain the organization.  She also will address how it impacts conflict resolution within an organization.

NOVEMBER 17 and 18, 2015    Kay Sohl of Kay Sohl Consulting, Portland, Oregon will address the challenging reality of creating and maintaining a most effective board, including the identification and recruitment of board members who best complement one another as well as represent the optimum mosaic of talents for the organization.  Kay will focus on "why" a board would want truly "different" members and "how" to recruit, engage, and retain them.

Register for the 3-18-15 Free Employee Engagement Workshop

 Click Here to Register



What's in Your HR Toolkit? HR Toolkit Program of 501 Commons

What’s in Your HR Toolkit?

Key HR Practices

The HR Toolkit program, sponsored by Sherwood Trust, will provide you with free training and support in 5 key HR practices that will strengthen your organization:

1. Writing clear and objective job descriptions

2. Developing an effective interview and selection process

3. Creating a simple onboarding process for new employees

4. Managing performance informally and formally

5. Establishing a process for employee separations

While these might seem like foundational practices, our experience shows that many nonprofits have not committed the time or resources to developing them. As a result, you may not be attracting and retaining your key resource — qualified staff of all levels who are dedicated to supporting your mission.

How it Works

As a participant, you will be matched with an experienced HR professional from the local community who has volunteered to serve as a consultant.

The consultant will work with two people from your organization who are responsible for carrying out the HR function. In collaboration with you, the consultant will plan and facilitate meetings, offer resources and guidance, and develop the HR practice you would like to implement.

501 Commons staff will review your plan and tools, and offer support to the consultant.

Each team will complete:

An assessment of the organization’s current HR function

A Key Issues Report that describes the HR-related challenges and identifies the key HR practice issue that they would like to focus on

A tool from one of the 5 practice areas along with a plan for implementation

In cohort meetings, you will have an opportunity to learn more about HR, share your experience, develop peer relationships, and gain additional support.

The program will launch in early April. Applications are due by March 23, 2015. Participation is limited to 15 organizations.

PDF Click here for a 3 page General Description of the HR Toolkit Program 

About 501 Commons

Your mission is to build a better world. Our mission is to help you succeed.

We’re a nonprofit that has been providing customized, affordable services to strengthen and support nonprofits and schools in Washington for 25 years. To learn more, please visit: 501 commons.org

Ready to add to your HR toolkit?

To apply for the HR Toolkit program, complete a Request for Assistance Form on our website: www.501commons.org or contact Yvonne Freitas McGookin at yvonne@501commons.org by March 23, 2015.

Join us for a free training workshop on Employee Engagement: Trends & Practices and an overview of the HR Toolkit program on March 18th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Nonprofit Learning Center at Walla Walla Community College.

The 501 Commons HR Toolkit program is offered free to Walla Walla Valley nonprofits through the support of Sherwood Trust.


Annual Workshop for Nonprofits at Whitman College

This all-day session will be held on Friday, March 27, 2015 at the Reid Center and feature Sara Lawson with Shorthand Consulting.  Her topic will be Leadership, Teamwork, and Trust: Building an Extraordinary Board-Staff Partnership.


2015 Session Dates at the Learning Center at WWCC's Water Center

April 21/22, 2015

May 21/22, 2015

June 9/10, 2015

September 15/16, 2015

October 20/21, 2015

November 17/18, 2015

Please note that the content for each session is repeated on the second date, i.e. these are not 2-day sessions with new material at each session.  Also, any PowerPoint presentation and handout material will be posted on the Learning Center's webpage, i.e.   www.wwcc.edu/learningcenter 



Past Sessions