Throughout my 10-year career in the nonprofit sector, working as a program director in youth development and later as an operations director in philanthropy, professional development has often entailed a one- to two-hour webinar on cultivating relationships or a half-day session on best practices in program management and has always felt like punishment from those in charge. Such programs remind me of required summer reading—something to keep you busy that instructors never revisit during the school year.

The mandated “opportunities” are mainly designed to point out potential areas of improvement or “growth” for employees—but not management.

Meanwhile, those professional development sessions took valuable hours out of my workday. As a direct service provider, I knew that the clients I served would need me during those hours, and if I stepped away from my desk or phone, their needs wouldn’t be met. Losing those hours also meant that I would be working additional hours from home later that night.

It is difficult to take many of the trainings seriously when you know beforehand that the bulk of the information will not change the current policies or operating procedures of the organization.

Read the full article about professional development for women of color by Jamie Ricks at Nonprofit Quarterly .