Sonja Barisic

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Age: 46

Current job: Director of Marketing Communications at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children

At TCC: Sonja completed five classes at the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence, which offers professional development at the Center for Workforce Solutions: Annual Reports, Crisis Communications, Nonprofit Communications, Updating Your Marketing and, most recently, Project Management.

How did the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence help advance your career?  “When I switched careers, from journalism to nonprofit public relations and marketing, I looked around for training to help me get a good start in my new field. For example, I didn’t know anything about crisis communications plans, or why a nonprofit should have one. The two-day Nonprofit Communications class helped me assess all of the communications materials at St. Mary’s and begin to formulate a long-term plan to make the materials more consistent and appealing.

What did you find most helpful at the Academy? “I learned how to create an effective annual report from a class taught by Sally Hartman, vice president of communications at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Five years later, I still refer to my notes and worksheets from that class. The classes are very affordable, incredibly practical and most of them can be completed in one to two days.”

Advice for a future student:  “Don’t be afraid to take a class that might seem outside your job description. Even though I’m not a project manager by title, I took a two-day course on project management, because I am responsible for a number of projects. The course has helped me improve the way I organize myself and my priorities.”

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