I’ve always been fascinated by how people develop. The potential of people amazes me. The complexity of people also amazes me. People are both precious and confounding. And that probably can be said of all us – even you and me.
It’s not easy to grow. It’s not always straightforward either. Getting involved in the development of people, in my mind, is one of life’s greatest joys and most sober responsibilities. Our world is in need of developed people, grown people, mature people.
That’s why I’ve been dedicated in my life’s work to the development of people. To see the kind of world we dream of is to see a world populated by the kind of people who can make it true and real. This means that we have to invest in people’s development. There’s no other way.
I began running youth programs right out of college for teenagers of Air Force and Army personnel stationed in Ramstein and Kaiserslautern, Germany. After a few years of loving investing in the lives of youth but being in way over my head, I returned to graduate school to study the development of people through a non-formal educational lens.
After earning a Ph.D., I spent 13 years as a full-time professor in the college and graduate school classroom, working out these ideas theoretically and in a formal setting. And then, after teaching research part-time for four more years in a Ph.D. program, I turned my attention fully to working with agencies and organizations that have people as a central feature of their mission.
Over the past 12 years, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside extraordinary people in wonderful organizations like the YMCA of the USA, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, United Way of the Lower Mainland, AmeriCorps, and so many others. In fact, my team and I have provided capacity-building in “getting to what matters” evaluation to over 200 nonprofits organizations in over seven states and a few provinces in the last three years alone. In addition, I have had the chance to share these ideas at national and international conferences and gatherings.
To make a difference in this world, we need people who will be able to lead, design strategy, and evaluate their impact in communities all over. This is what “getting to what matters” means to me.
Join me in rethinking the development of people.