Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Benefits of being a Partnership Broker, with Executive Director Debbie Clark

To solve complex societal issues, more organizations are turning to collaboration, especially cross-sector partnerships. While receiving input from many different sectors is valuable, it can be difficult to adjudicate every opinion and personality that enters the partnership. The worst case scenario is making the effort to bring these voices together, but results falling short of expectations.

Because effective partnerships are both highly regarded and difficult to manage, the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations along with JS Daw & Associates and the International Partnership Brokers Association are hosting Partnership Brokers Training – a 4-day course that will teach you the knowledge and skills required for maintaining successful partnerships.

To understand the benefit of Partnership Brokers Training, ECVO spoke to Debbie Clark, executive director of Edmonton Community Adult Learning Association (ECALA), who took part in the course in October 2015. ECALA helps individuals access non-credit educational opportunities throughout the city and provides programs and services as well as grants and funding.

ECVO:  As an Executive Director, how do you use partnerships and collaboration in your workplace?

Debbie Clark: As a granting counsel, we work with many different agencies in the city and we see our role as building partnerships and strengthening the sector. We also deliver the best programs we can for our learners. This training is appropriate because it allows us to be in a partnership broker role, which is different from what I’ve done in the past. It’s looking at partnerships in a different way.

ECVO: How have partnerships changed throughout your time in the nonprofit industry?

Clark: The whole concept of partnership and collaboration has evolved and changed. The concept of being a partnership broker allows us now to take a hard stance when you need to move a partnership forward. This course really affirmed some emerging theory that has come out worldwide. The opportunity to experience this in Edmonton is invaluable.

ECVO: What was your experience taking Partnership Brokers Training?

Clark: It was a very full week! There were lots of different activities going on and there was something there for every style of learner. You meet people and make lots of connections you can use later in your work. There were people representing all different sectors.

Some of the information was affirming to what I was currently doing and some of it blew what I thought I knew out of the water.

Definitely a training that ranks high with me compared to some of the courses in my MBA research.

ECVO: What was your largest takeaway from the training?

Clark: The ability to work through so many case studies that were very realistic to our world here in Edmonton as nonprofits. The way they delivered the program, I’m often reflecting and encouraging conversation around the issues we run into here based on what I learned at training. The room was very rich in experience and knowledge, even from participants. I often reflect on those case studies and what I learned from training.

ECVO: Who do you recommend enroll in Partnership Brokers Training?

Clark: If you’re on the fence, or if you’re already partnering, you will still learn so much about how to broker partnerships in this program. The work will pile up, but it is well worth the time to be able to take this program and I can’t wait to take the second phase and get accredited. This is new and emerging theory and we are very fortunate to have this is Edmonton. This a great chance for anyone wanting to build more partnerships, getting into it for the first time, get promoted within an organization or build professional development. You can also use the training for your own personal development goals as an individual and a leader.


HR in a Box Returns!

HR in a Box Returns this Fall! ECVO, in partnership with the Talent Pool, is delighted to bring back last fall’s HR in a Box series. Series 2 will reinforce the foundations shared in 2016 but with a problem solving focus. Case studies will be at the core of the 2017 sessions to help you implement practical solutions in your everyday HR practices.

Workforce Planning

Retention Strategies

Strategic Performance Management

HR in a Box will share best practices and innovative solutions designed to help organizations of all sizes build knowledge and capacity. A new roster of HR experts, the usage of a video reference library, and highly interactive problem solving discussions, will enable you to implement solutions rapidly and effectively.

The series will include this cycle, three dynamic sessions. Register for one session or the entire series.

HR in a Box workshop #1 – September 26, 2017 –  Workforce Planning: Aligning Business & People with Marcie Kiziak, CPHR &  Ada Tai, CPHR

In our rapidly shifting workplace, strategic workforce planning has become the buzzword in HR circles. Join us for the kick off September session of HR in a Box series to learn from HR experts how to deepen your understanding of what constitutes effective workforce planning strategy and how to implement it into your organization.

This workshop will address:

  • How to align organization goals and the right people in the right places at the right time to deliver on those goals.
  • Strategies that deliver the right mix of attraction, selection, recruitment, and onboarding that result in an agile workforce to meet the demands of our labour market.

HR in a Box workshop #2 – October 24, 2017 – Retention Strategies: One size never fits all with Claudia Verburgh, CPHR & Doug Alloway, CPHR

Retention is the major concern of organizations of all sizes and in every economic sector. In order to retain top performers, effective strategies must take into consideration the impact of future changes, new required skills sets, create appropriate career ladders, explore new succession planning methodologies.

This workshop will address:

  • Designing innovative strategies to maintain a healthy employer-employee relationship that delivers retention.
  • Efficient employee engagement strategies; what will employee engagement look like in an age where “digital employees” will co-exist with a traditional workforce?
  • The evolving critical role of succession planning particularly with the incoming impact of technological advances that will reconfigure the way we all work

HR in a Box workshop  #3 – November 28, 2017 – Strategic Performance Management: Always an Integrated Process with Julianna Cantwell, CPHR & Barb Read  

Providing effective feedback has become a dynamic and ongoing process. Employees want to see the link between what they do and the organizational goals. As new skills emerge due to new ways we all work, organizations need to revisit their performance management existing processes.

This workshop will address:

  • What is Performance Management and how to integrate it into your organization?
  • What is the manager’s role and employee’s role?
  • Best Practices: before, during and after a review meeting
  • Steps of progressive discipline
  • Determine if you are paying your employees competitively in the market
  • Discover if you have internal pay equity issues
  • Identify employee benefits that will attract, retain, and engage the right staff to your organization

Earn CPD credits.

This series is sponsored by the Government of Alberta, CHRP Alberta, and ASET.


Principles, Not Playbooks Drive Partnerships

By Jocelyne Daw 

Multi-stakeholder partnerships are more and more seen as a key way to tackle the complicated and complex challenges we face as a society. I am a great champion of the power of partnership and believe that they can really make a significant difference. However, too many collaborations jump head first into the partnership without considering the complicated mechanics of ‘how’ to successfully partner.

The most effective partnerships are co-created and co-managed. They are fit for purpose solutions to a pressing issue in a specific context with a particular group of people and organizations – with all their respective capacities and imperfections.

While this co-creation approach is foundational, every partnership and context is different. What works in one circumstance will not necessarily work in another. The fact remains that there is no playbook or instructional guide that can ensure partnership success.

So what can you do to help give your partnerships the best chances at success? I believe that the following five ‘principles’ are the key to successful partner relationships. Principles can ensure that the challenges we face in partnerships are addressed through agreed upon values and core beliefs.

If partners live by core principles and use them as touchstones to guide and drive their partnership work, the chances of success are strong. So what are the five core principles of partnership?

Principles must address the underlying challenges of partnership and deliver positive outcomes. The Partnership Brokers Association through the direct experience of trainers and trainees, have identified five common challenges in the partnering experience. In turn, five principles have been identified as antidotes, critical ways to address these challenges and ensure outcomes that give partnerships the best chance of success.


These five principles are applicable to all partnerships. When partners commit to and hold each other accountable for these principles there is a strong chance that their partnership efforts will be rewarded with unexpected and imaginative responses and ideally, some truly breakthrough results.

A successful partnership requires highly skilled individuals that have the tools and skills to facilitate cross-sectorial collaborations.  If you’d like to strengthen your skills, register now for Partnership Brokers Training. This four-day course will provide you with the insights and tools you need to deliver positive partnering results. BONUS – the Canada-Alberta Job Grant can help cover the cost!  Contact Gemma Dunn to find out more.