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Workplace planners who join NextUp can make an impact, learn new skills, and help to eliminate barriers, says CEO Lisa Baird

In Part 1, Inclusive cultures evolve with training. NextUp & Lisa Baird are empowering the next generation of workplace leaders, Eileen McMorrow, Editor-in-Chief, The McMorrow Reports & FMLink, and Lisa Baird discussed how her career history positions Baird to lead the network of professional women. Facility managers, building managers, architects and interior designers, can discover how NextUp offers leadership, career advancement, and DEI&B programs, plus regional networking in Part II of the interview.

How does NextUp demonstrate to its members and potential members that the experience will make a difference and allow them to have ‘an impact’— a key action term in the NextUp vernacular?

Lisa Baird: In 2023, our metrics included a commitment to measuring impact. We asked members to indicate KPIs around questions like, ‘Are you learning new skills? Do you have a sense of belonging? Are you advancing your career? Would you recommend NextUp to a friend?’ We know it also has to be word of mouth. The feeling of connection is what drives a great membership experience. Women who are with NextUp for decades will tell you it is due to their connection to others and getting better jobs.

We know the ‘outcome metrics’ are compelling; we’re documenting longitudinal factors about advancing members’ business and careers. NextUp is also a best-in-class non-profit with a record for attracting and retaining members who seem to stay due to the opportunities for training and for the generational wisdom that is shared. Younger women have found mentors who are available to help them negotiate workplace issues or practice asking for a promotion or a larger assignment. For the companies who are corporate partners and sponsors, such as Accenture, Deloitte, American Express, 3M, Chevron, Altria, Costco, PepsiCo, P&G, or Sanofi, we must be an excellent non-profit organization that also connects with their mission. These companies are among the ones who are consistently working to create opportunities for the advancement of women. In turn, their own members meet great talent while networking at NextUp Leadership and Region events.

We just launched Career Accelerator University (CAU), where members can learn about communicating, negotiating, influencing, mentoring–even getting a board position.

What will NextUp be doing to “sell a better future” to working women through their membership?

Baird: The impacts that NextUp seeks are a tall order for any organization. Let’s discuss how opening minds and creating opportunities through learning, development and growth will flourish this year. We are creating capacity by expanding leadership capabilities and teaching how to rise to more challenging leadership when working with senior executives.

Every month, members can partake in a range of award-winning programs designed to build career goals at all levels such as Launch for leaders at the beginning of their careers and Rising Stars, designed for mid-level leaders.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEI&B) are also part of the NextUp mission. What are the goals for the DEI&B Workshop Series?

Baird: We saw a need for formal training and learning around DEIB, so we started a series of workshops, DEIB Ascend, to make it purposeful, to create awareness and for managing unconscious bias. DEIB is a journey that starts with the basics if they need that, explains leading with emotional intelligence, and helps people take on challenging work in the workplace while recognizing that they are also exhausted. It’s important to remove barriers for women of color and to workplace equity. There’s even a workshop on how you have conversations in an election year; around politics, and the global wars that are happening.

How can women in facility management, design, architecture and real estate get involved with NextUp?

Baird: Join the chapter in your region and volunteer in its activities. If you move cities for a job, NextUp can help a person to embed in a new locale. Or if they are fully remote at work, yet reside in or move to a city where they want and need a network, there are opportunities in programming, finance and communications. This gives them a chance to grow into leading the NextUp volunteers who are not your employees. Region co-leads also can bring a member to the national board level. Responsibility and visibility can provide leadership experiences that enhance your career. It’s beneficial to come forward for a few years and then dial-back during high career workloads or motherhood.

Click NextUp for more information. NextUp Membership is open to individuals or members of a partner organization. When you join NextUp through The McMorrow Reports/FMLink, you are entitled to 20 percent off an individual membership when you enter the code: NextUp24McMorrow at checkout.