At the Institute for Child Success (ICS), Katie Hammond leads the strategy, development, and management of educational tools and resources. These tools, such as the IMPACT Measures Tool, empower the early childhood workforce to improve their measurement practices, ultimately leading to more equitable outcomes for all children.
When did you graduate, and what benefits have you gained?
I completed the Executive Program in Digital Media for Social Impact (DMSI) in 2023. Through this program, I gained a deeper understanding of how to harness digital tools and strategies to increase the impact of mission-driven organizations. I had the chance to practice new skills and use new tools in service of my organization’s work and mission. I also had the opportunity to learn from other leaders who are working to increase the impact of their programs and organizations. All in all, it’s been a chance for me to learn new skills and adopt new mindsets when it comes to creating social impact.
The DMSI program helped me deepen my skillset on an array of topics, including social impact strategy, marketing, inclusive tech, and more. It included a great balance of the theoretical underpinnings for these concepts, as well as practice-based elements that I could immediately apply to my own work. It focused not only on current events and developing trends but also on the historical context that led to these systems and practices. I found that incredibly helpful not only to understand the digital landscape more deeply but also to ground my work in alignment with the values of accessibility and equity.
The in-person convening at the University of Pennsylvania helped expanded my awareness of key frameworks and processes to help orient my approach to my work, including how to clarify the messaging around my organization’s purpose and goals, and how to approach project life cycles, problem-solving, and design thinking in innovative ways. During the convening, I also had the privilege of directly connecting and working with others in the program who are doing exciting and innovative social impact work. All of the activities and courses were grounded in deep empathy for the communities we serve, with a human-centered approach as a throughline for all the work we create and elevate.
Have you grown since the program? If so, how?
I have benefitted from the DMSI program not just since graduation but from the very start of the program. It has given me a chance to zoom out and be intentional in how I approach my work, what strategic goals I set for myself, and the tools I use to reach those goals.
During this program, I was leading projects at my organization to develop a refreshed branding and website. This program allowed me not only to gain valuable skills to maximize the impact of these efforts but also served as a guide for how I approached the process and strategy of those projects throughout their duration.
Can you share a favorite moment, lesson, or connection with a classmate that still resonates with you?
I truly enjoyed the interactive and collaborative nature of the convening. It felt energizing, inspiring, and comforting to partner and connect with others who do similar work and encounter similar challenges as I do. I really appreciated how the very nature of brainstorming and problem-solving was reframed during these sessions. The teaching team helped us move beyond the approach of immediately generating “the right” answer when problem-solving, encouraging us with the guidance that the first idea isn’t always the best idea, and that iteration and generation without fear of failure can ultimately lead to the most innovative and creative solutions. They also reinforced the value of centering our community in all we do, using deep listening and empathy to help ensure that our solutions are truly benefitting the people we serve.
What advice do you have for future applicants?
If you’re considering applying: Go for it! The program is very flexible and offers an array of useful topics with hands-on experiences to help you grow your skills. I really appreciated the flexible nature of the program. The teaching team truly lives their values in this way, ensuring the course is accessible and flexible, and that students are supported throughout and even after the program. I felt valued and empowered every step of the way.
Thank you, Katherine, for sharing your experience in the Center for Social Impact Strategy! Follow our page to hear from more brilliant Changemakers and sign up for our upcoming information sessions to learn more about the Executive Programs, and check out our 2023-2024 Program Outlook to start your journey towards making a social impact.
Did you know executive education graduates can apply to the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated, on-campus, or online format? Learn more at the link provided above or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are live for the Executive Program in Digital Media for Social Impact and the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy Apply by October 22, 2023, to receive an early bird discount!