Management Development Can Be a Captivating Experience for Non-Profits!

By Ellen Manning

Historical Perspective

Beginning in about 1930, the “Human Relations Movement” gave attention to the unique abilities of individual workers. Proponents of this movement believed that happy workers would produce more, work harder, and allow the organization to prosper. The focus was on understanding the needs of workers, aligning them with work they enjoyed, and preparing them for careers with the organization.

Within the human relations movement, employees were put into training programs to develop and learn supervisory skills such as delegating, motivating, coaching, mentoring, etc. That focus continues today as organizations have employee and leadership development programs in place. Quest of Central Florida is one such organization. Other non-profits are invited to view these programs in light of their own human relations goals.


Commitment To Career Growth Opportunities

Quest, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that inspires and empowers individuals with developmental disabilities by offering choices and opportunities to learn, live, work and play. Through Quest’s comprehensive suite of services, children and adults imagine and achieve goals that allow them to maximize their capabilities. Team, or staff members at Quest serve individuals at all stages of life through the use of core competencies which include providing behavioral therapy and individualized programming. The organization has been in existence for over 50 years and its commitment to the people they serve has never diminished.


Quest is also genuinely committed to providing its team members with learning and career growth opportunities. In 2011, Quest created Captivate!, a leadership development program for emerging leaders in the organization. The definition of “captivate” is to enthrall, hypnotize, fascinate and charm. Quest intends to captivate its future leaders by intensifying their knowledge, skill and power as they passionately build a better future -- for its teams, stakeholders and for the people they serve.


The Captivate! program is a year-long program that provides classroom training on a variety of topics including:


  • Strategic Thinking & Planning
  • Financial Analysis & Budgeting
  • Manpower Planning
  • Leadership Versus Management
  • Presentation Skills & Public Speaking
  • Executive Savvy & Presence – the Skills of Influence.


Additionally, participants are assigned to workgroups where they tackle real-life issues facing the organization including:


  • How to make the organization more sustainable
  • How to attract and retain the best workforce for the organization
  • How to provide growth and innovative opportunities for the organization.


These workgroups, called cohorts, not only provide participants with networking and team building opportunities with their peers, but also force them to manage their time and resources. Individuals must complete their own daily work, but are also required to hit the deadlines established for their cohort projects.


In 2012, the first graduates of the program designed a growth model for expansion of Quest programs and services, created a Sustainability Policy for the organization that was adopted by Quest’s Board of Directors, and developed a five-year Sustainability Action Plan that was adopted by Quest’s leadership team. In addition, they developed a tuition reimbursement benefit to encourage staff to pursue their dreams of higher education. Quest leadership can’t wait to see what exciting innovations this year’s cohort of graduates will present in December 2013!


Quest, Inc. is an organization that is actively making a difference – for its team members, for the people they serve, and for the communities in which they live. Quest is excited about what the future holds for them and are passionate about expanding their premier brand. For more information about the programs Quest offers for team members and the people they serve in the community, contact Tikisha Hughes, Director of Marketing and Communications at thughes@questinc.org.





Ellen ManningEllen Manning, SPHR, is the Vice President of Human Resources at Quest, Inc. She is a seasoned human resources professional with experience in a variety of industries including telecommunications, education, and engineering and design. Although her professional background has been mostly in the corporate arena, Manning’s passion is working with nonprofit organizations. She has previously been involved with SmArtBoard, a United Arts of Central Florida program, and has served on various committees of the Red Chair Affair. Manning is also the founder and regional publisher for CentralFloridaTails.com, an online magazine part of Tails Pet Media Group devoted to the rescue and adoption of homeless animals in the seven-county Central Florida region. Manning holds a Master of Arts degree from Boston University and has earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification. She can be reached at emanning@questinc.org


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