Diane Lyons, '16, reinvented herself through certificate programs with the UW Tacoma Professional Development Center.
Like many parents, Diane Lyons, '16, life shifted when her youngest was entering high school. She sought a change from her 20-year career as a business owner and graphic designer. Without a bachelor’s degree, Diane was puzzled by what her next steps should be. As she sought to reinvent herself, a key to her career change was gaining knowledge, confidence, and a network through her involvement with the UW Tacoma Professional Development Center.
When she became a fundraising events manager for a local nonprofit, she soon realized that the world of fundraising went far beyond special events. “I very quickly realized that there was so much more than events that I wanted to be a part of and I was missing the rest of the picture in the work that I was doing. I felt that there was a better way to engage donors and sustain an organization beyond events,” notes Diane. Seeking to learn more about the field of fundraising she enrolled in our Nonprofit Management and Fundraising Management Certificates.
It was important to Diane that what she was learning was going to apply to her work and that she would be learning best practices. She notes that her instructors were “incredible” and she was learning the cutting edge of fundraising ideas and techniques through their expert instruction. “They were out there every day doing the work, so I knew that they were on top of their games. Always compassionate and kind, there was never a moment when someone’s question went unanswered,” said Diane.
“The courses helped me feel prepared to tackle every aspect of fundraising, even the parts that I didn’t think that I would enjoy— like grant writing. The Writing for Development course taught by Toni Aspin made lightbulbs come on all over the place for me. So now, I am beginning to enjoy grant writing and I am pretty successful.”
“For me, earning my certificates in Nonprofit and Fundraising Management was life-changing. I know having that knowledge and experience were invaluable when I interviewed for my current role. It’s also had a huge financial impact on my life and I am earning more than twice as much now as I was before I took those courses.”
“I’d completely recommend professional development to others. If you are not sure you want to get into the nonprofit arena, it’s a great way to dip your toe in to find out. The courses are also a great way to dig deeper on the things that you know, but want to gain more confidence and mastery.”
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