Nancy Fink

State of Maryland , Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Director, Professional Outplacement Assistance Center

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MD Chapter – IAWP – First Vice President and Education Chair IAWP International Board – Chair- Professional Development Committee

Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University – Past President; Past Chair – Alumni Groups, Governance; Current – Director Emeritus Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association – Past President; Past Chair – Membership; Current Chair – Nominating Bay Hills Community Association – Past Vice President, Secretary; Current – Director

Twice every  month, I facilitate the first part of our two day JumpStart, a re-employment program for unemployed or underemployed professional, technical and managerial individuals.  It is my job to set the tone for this upbeat and information packed session. Many customers come in with a preconceived notion about the quality of services offered through the state.  In my 2.5 hours with them, (groups range from 20 – 50 individuals), I am able to get them engaged in an active learning process to enhance and facilitate their job acquisition campaign. As a result of this, customers are inclined to sign up for and attend our value added sessions.

In my community, there is an ongoing concern with cars speeding through the area. I was the only dissenting vote last year when the decision was made to contract with the county to paint lines for walkers on each side of the street.  (We do have sidewalks, as well).  My concern was that this would impact the entire community and its aesthetics and I did not feel that we, as a board, had the power to do this.  Shortly after the board decision was announced, community members organized a campaign to let the county know its feelings about this change.  A hotline was set up and residents could call in or email their support or dissent. I cannot take credit for this effort (I was surprised when I heard about it!) and was delighted in the grassroots efforts.  At the end of the allotted time, it became very clear that, overwhelmingly, the community did not want such lines painted.  While it would have been easy to gloat at subsequent board meetings, I did not. My stand, however, did earn me increased respect from my peers as a person who not only speaks her mind but also looks out for the greater good.

I embrace technology as a way to communicate but realize that, if possible, there’s no substitute for face to face contact.  Since we operate in a global and fast moving society, where resolution is required quickly, I am a huge fan of email with the phone as a follow-up.

Several years ago, my boss asked me to take on the added responsibility of overseeing the Re-employment Opportunity Workshop (ROW) program.  This is a full day session, in which profiled UI claimants must participate.  I was asked to breathe new life into some stale programs offered throughout the state.  I instituted state wide meetings on a regular basis which had both a professional development component and a best practices component.  I also encouraged facilitators to attend a “Training from the Back of the Room” facilitation course to enhance their style. I formed a small work group called “Rock n’ Row” to look at creative ways to deliver materials.  We recognized that there is no one correct way to deliver information and that we need to embrace the unique talents of each of our facilitators.  While there are still a few who are resistant to change, the energy level and commitment to life long learning has increased dramatically.

IAWP - Workforce Professional Development Program
For better than half of my career with the state, I feel I have been a poster child for IAWP.  For a number of years, we did not have the active support of the administration.  In 2014, with the election of a new governor, we saw a chance to plead our case.  And it fell on wide open ears. In the last four years, IAWP has been viewed as a strategic partner in large scale professional development activities.  Our programs are sought out and well attended.