In 2020, more than 160 of Shafer Leadership Academy’s nearly 200 public programs were virtual. More than 5,000 people participated in these programs — a record for the Muncie nonprofit dedicated to providing people of all ages, backgrounds and interests access to the tools necessary to develop and enhance their leadership skills. The organization also held the largest program in its 14-year history when SLA facilitated 144 hours of virtual leadership training for Tyson Foods in Portland, Indiana.
Meet Eilis Wasserman
To help manage the explosion in digital interactions, SLA created a new position — Virtual Program Manager — and hired, Eilis (pronounced A-Lish) Wasserman, who has been connected with the Muncie nonprofit for more than five years as a participant and facilitator. Isaacs said Wasserman is a “perfect fit” for the emerging role.
“Eilis had been helping us since March convert our interactive, in-person programs into equally interactive virtual experiences. Virtual is here to stay, and we want to continue to leverage Eilis’ expertise and innovative spirit to remain on the forefront of virtual engagement,” Isaacs said. “She’s introduced us to easy-to-navigate tools that have elevated our virtual programs and empowered introverts and extroverts to fully participate.”
Wasserman said she is thrilled to take this next step with an organization that has supported and inspired her for years. It’s fulfilling, she said, to be part of a team that empowers all people to achieve the best version of themselves.
“SLA’s mission of inspiring positive action through inclusive leadership development directly aligns with my personal mission as an educator to cultivate confidence and inspire self-discovery. I have a background in career development and passion for virtual technology and facilitation, so this role is a great fit,” said Wasserman, who previously worked as an assistant director, career coach at Ball State University’s Career Center. “What excites me the most is the ability to build upon the momentum we’ve created in 2020 to deliver intentional and long-lasting impact. This is a brand-new role with the ability to grow, experiment and implement new virtual initiatives so that we leading virtually locally and regionally. Also, I love the empathic and resilient culture of the Shafer team.”
Growing Our Virtual Programs
Wasserman hasn’t skipped a beat as she transitions to the full-time role. She said her focus is on four areas of growth: intentional assessment, innovative programming, internal professional development, and an engaging online presence. Wasserman is driven to create a harmony between in-person and virtual programs, develop an online knowledge center and integrate future of work practices.
“Shafer has a tremendous impact on the community around it and will continue to expand its influence to many communities across Indiana. The team is always innovating, so they welcome my entrepreneurial ideas and mindset of resilience and adaptability,” added Wasserman, who calls herself an “introvert advocate.” “Most importantly, Shafer listens to the community around it and meets the need of the time — bringing communities together.”
Connect with Wasserman on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/eiliswasserman) and check out the many virtual programs she facilitates at shaferleadership.com/calendar. Keep up with SLA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.