The AF Perspective: Working With Our Resource Network

By Danny Gessner, Resource Network Specialist

Our new series, The AF Perspective, gives you a look inside the world of AchieveForum and how we put our leadership skills to the test day in and day out. We empower people to lead successfully in turbulent business landscapes – internally and externally.

I’ve been lucky to work for AchieveForum since March 2019, my first day being our only significant blizzard of the season in Boston. Since I’ve started, our office has welcomed many talented people to full-time roles in sales, product, and marketing. However, my daily work stands apart because I spend most of my time working with our larger and more multi-faceted consulting staff.

I was first contacted on LinkedIn by a recruiter for AchieveForum, and after reviewing the basic job description, I had a lot of questions. Thankfully, my phone screen with my (current) manager gave me a good sense of the role and the responsibilities of working with our Resource Network, since she had been in the role most recently. She emphasized the importance of building relationships with our network of facilitators, and creative problem-solving to find solutions for client-needs on learning sessions. Since my last job was in a high-volume recruiting coordination role, I was eager to get away from transactional-based work in favor of more complex and relationship-driven projects.

The biggest and, sometimes, the most complex aspect of AchieveForum is our internal network of facilitators, designers, and consultants: our Resource Network (or ResNet). We have over 200 individuals, located all across the globe, with a diverse array of talents and expertise. Some faculty have been with us many years, from either the AchieveGlobal side or the Forum side of our “legacy companies”. Their wealth of knowledge and real-life experience from classroom deliveries is hard to quantify and track across time, but part of the resourcing team’s job is to keep our CRM records up-to-date with their skills and recent work.

Our resourcing team, a small internal staff of project coordinators and dedicated specialists like myself, work globally to manage the schedules and invoices for our global Resource Network. We work with the project leaders or client directors to identify resources who would be ideal fits given the scope of the project the client has envisioned. We match the program content and client needs with the facilitators’ backgrounds, teaching styles, and relevant experience. Clear communication, task organization, and a proactive attitude are the three most important skills for my role.

As part of my introduction to the team, my manager and I began holding quarterly phone calls to check in with our active ResNet faculty about their recent work. This is part of an ongoing initiative within the whole company to offer more opportunities for two-way feedback; the reciprocity in these feedback calls is the most important aspect of these conversations. We rely on our ResNet team to let us know if they are feeling supported and what we can do to better support their work. In turn, they are usually eager to hear more about any feedback we could offer, whether from the client, the project leader, or the resourcing team in our frequent interactions during the staffing process.

As a whole, the Resource Network displays a strong commitment to ongoing learning and development. When we onboard a new facilitator to a project and they are unfamiliar with the content, we help schedule time for faculty to connect with “Master Trainers” who are subject experts on the materials. Additionally, as an organization, we offer courses meant to update ResNet on new content, or updates we’ve made to some of our standard programs. These discussions take place during what we call our “Finishing School Program” which is a global conference call recorded for resources to listen live or at a more convenient time. I am always impressed by the energy and commitment of our Resource Network on these calls. Even though many of them are very well educated and experienced in their fields, they are always looking to absorb new information or techniques, and they help each other learn collaboratively.

I am still very new to this role, and AchieveForum as a whole, but I relish the opportunity to work with a wide panel of learning and development experts. I’ve taken advantage of a number of our internal training sessions, and feel that I am in the right environment to help foster my leadership skills. I’d highly recommend taking the time to explore some of our content and if anything stands out of particular interest, we’re the right company to find the perfect professional to deliver it to you or your entire company.

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