Block Training 2021: Remote Possibilities

YPTC hosted its annual internal two-day training series, Block Training, on April 26th and 27th! The company-wide event, titled ‘Remote Possibilities’, explored themes like the human connection, equity, and all-around success in a virtual workspace. For the nearly 300 members of YPTC’s staff, the event was a tremendous hit! 

Block Training, aptly named for its “blocks of time” session structure, is typically held in person. YPTC staff from all over the country would travel to meet at YPTC’s headquarters in Philadelphia for the event; however, this year, the planning committee had to shift to a virtual format.  

“Planning our first virtual Block Training was such a unique, exciting experience. The effort put forth in creating engaging content, fun social activities, and team-building opportunities brought the ‘Remote Possibilities’ theme to life,” said Kerri Padgett, YPTC’s National Training Director, and Block Training’s lead organizer. 

Several YPTC staff members and external experts presented on various relevant topics such as re-imagining work styles in the remote age, professional writing, and intra-departmental communication methods. Highlights included an on-camera etiquette lesson taught by PWPvideo’s Michael Schweisheimera session on nonfinancial gifts led by Mercadien Group’s Managing Director and Principal Lovepreet Buttarand a deep dive into Microsoft Office 365 with Hope Lindauer of Lindauer Learning Systems.  

Block Training also provided multiple moments for virtual inter-company networkingincluding YPTC Marketing Associate Ericka Blair’s interactive LinkedIn presentation, trivia, and a ‘Happy Half Hour’ organized by YPTC’s social committee. A particularly creative byproduct of these opportunities was a spectacular parody song written by Gregg Indictor, performed by Maria Leonetti, and produced by Haley Willis. 

Day 2 kicked off with a ‘State of the Firm’ address from YPTC President and Founder, Eric FraintThis update offered important insight on investment in home technology, a continued COVID-19 response plan, going paperless with clients, and the company’s growth. “If we were not doing excellent work for our clients, our clients would not continue to use us, recommend us, refer us, and we would not continue to grow,” said Mr. Fraint. 

This sentiment of continued growth, and what makes YPTC a ‘Best Place to Work begins with its strong, positive culture—something echoed in the inaugural presentation by YPTC’s Equity Committee. 

Led by Maria Jimenez (YPTC Washington, DC) and Kasey Henry (YPTC Houston, TX), the Equity Committee’s Block Training discussion, ‘Featured from the Front Lines’, focused on clients’ equitable responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were able to continue their missionto the populations they serve. The four panelists were Dr. Carin Berkowitz of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, Dr. Marla Dean of Bright Beginnings, Mike Nichols of Coalition for the Homeless, and Geri Wright of the Arizona Theatre Company. Each panelist spoke about their flexible, yet effective, strategies in serving constituents during the pandemic. The common theme for all four panelists was a heartfelt expression of gratitude for YPTC’s role in their respective organizations’ success despite COVID-related challenges.  

On planning and participating in the panel, Kasey Henry said, “Being a co-moderator for the YPTC Equity Committee’s first program has been an honor. I am so proud to work for a company that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values. Being a part of the program has been rewarding and fulfilling on a variety of levels—including forming genuine friendships with my fellow Equity Committee colleagues. The four panelists were wonderful to work with—they gave their time and shared experiences in such an authentic way. The experience reminded me of why we do what we do, how important our clients’ work is to their communities, and why YPTC remains a ‘Best Place to Work’!” 

Maria Jimenez added, “I’m so grateful to be a part of the Equity Committee and to have had the opportunity to co-moderate the Equity Panel with Kasey. The entire committee worked as one to advance equity internally at YPTC and planning the panel allowed me to see the important work YPTC is doing to help our clients. All panelists were clients doing incredible work to support underserved communities all around the countryIt is more urgent than ever to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion, and I was truly inspired and touched to hear how they are doing that so passionately. As a woman of color, I am especially grateful to them and YPTC for making this happen—I am so proud to work at a place that cares about all of their employees as much as YPTC does!”  

YPTC Managing Partner, Jennifer Alleva, ended Block Training on a motivational note with her session, ‘The Human Connection: Talking to Clients for Meaning and Success’. In it, Jennifer not only emphasized why communication is more important than ever in a virtual setting but taught how a happy, healthy mindset is at the core of carrying it out effectively.  

“I thought this was a great final topic for our virtual Block Training. Sometimes it feels difficult to fully connect over the computer, phone, or video chat, but I think there are ways to get around the roadblocks! I wanted everyone to come away from my presentation knowing exactly what they can do to communicate better—and incidentally, that typically begins with how we communicate with ourselves,” said Jennifer.   

With that, YPTC staff successfully completed two days of educational sessions, networking opportunities, and virtual fun. Block Training 2021 embodied the resilience, resourcefulness, and transformational spirit of Your Part-Time Controller! 

Register Now: Lobbying Myths Debunked!