Monday, June 30, 2014

Are We Ready for What's Next?

You may have heard that I’m leading a webinar this week as part of a series we have been conducting at the SC Campaign on leadership. When I agreed many months ago to facilitate this three-part series, I didn’t think much of it. Leadership is a topic that I enjoy learning about, reading about, studying and subsequently sharing what little knowledge I have with others.

The first segment in the three-part series covered the need for us to balance Leadership and Management in our roles. The second, a discussion about Leading in Difficult Times. Both of these are topics that I discuss with our senior staff frequently, topics that are very salient, and frankly, topics that I feel pretty comfortable speaking about. (Note: check out the hyperlinks if you have interest in hearing the first two installments of this series).

Who’s Got Next? is the third and final chapter in the series, where I will discuss leadership transition and developing the next generation of leaders. My comfort level on the subject wavers as I continue to read and research in preparation for the webinar. My journey has been the definition of the phrase “the more you dig, the more you uncover.” A topic that I once thought I knew something about has become a mass of data, charts, opinions and hypotheses circling in my brain that make me more panicked than ever for what comes next. But I will do my best to synthesize my experiences and research on Wednesday to begin this all-important discussion.

We are on the cusp of a never-before-seen level of transition in the workplace. As the “baby boomer” generation begins to retire in record numbers, who will take their place? My gut tells me that this scene will be especially conspicuous in the nonprofit sector.

Are we ready?  We better be…

At the very least, I hope you’ll join us on Wednesday as a beginning to this much-needed dialogue.

For more information and to register for this free webinar, click here.

by Forrest Alton, CEO, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Getting to Know our Priority Youth Specialist Rena Dixon

I sat down with Rena Dixon, Priority Youth Specialist at the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy to learn more about how she became a public health professional.  Rena has worked for the SC Campaign for four years and recently earned her Ph.D. in Community Health Promotion and Education from Walden University.

Kemi:  Describe your journey to becoming a public health professional focused on teen pregnancy prevention.

Rena: I went to undergrad thinking I was going to be an athletic trainer – very different from what I do now. They discontinued the athletic training program at my school so I had to figure out what I was going to do. At my school, you were put in health science classes to be pre-athletic training, or pre-nursing, or pre-physical therapy, so I stuck with my public health classes and I loved it. I absolutely loved it, it was great.  I did my internship with young people in the Housing Authority [of Savannah] so I really bought into working with young people, which led to my first job working at Planned Parenthood in Georgia. I learned all about pregnancy prevention, STIs, and working with young folks.  I moved away from that and really wanted to get back into it, which is why I made the switch to come back to working in sexual health all day every day.

Kemi: So, young people – that was really your driving point?

Rena: Right. I really wanted to be a person that was a resource for folks about health information.  You see so many people who don’t know the right answers or don’t know how to get the information. I thought it was really important to me as a person of color to be that voice for my own people, and my own neighborhood, and my own family. So I just kind of took off with it.

Kemi: That kind of makes me think of Beverly Bond’s talk [at Summer Institute 2014] where you’re kind of waiting for somebody else to do it [be a resource in your community then decide] I’ll just do it [instead] because other people are probably thinking the same thing, that we need so-and-so to be a role model. 

Kemi: Can you describe a typical day being a Youth Specialist?

Rena: I travel a lot. A typical day usually involves me being in the car going somewhere to meet with our providers that we work with. I do have a unique position that I work with providers all across the state and not in one particular region.  So, any given day I could be in Spartanburg, or I could be in Horry, or I could be in Charleston, or I could be in Lancaster or Rock Hill. But a typical day involves me driving to see one of our clinic partners or higher ed partners.

Kemi: So, when you say our providers, you’re talking about mostly clinics?

Rena: Yes, my position is specialized to really focus on working mostly with clinic providers to help increase their capacity to provide teen-friendly services for youth coming in, or I work with higher ed campuses to help them address teen pregnancy on their campuses.

Kemi: So, have they heard of us, or you just go in and you give them [information]?

Rena: Ninety percent (90%) of the people I work with closely are receiving some type of grant funding through us or we’re working with them on a particular project like the BlueCross BlueShield project, or the CDC project, or the PREP project, or now the PAF project. So, they’ve already been identified to work on that larger sub-project and I’m just doing my piece for that grant.

Kemi: So, how did you spend this morning?

Rena: I was doing a speaker request for a group of about 300 young people on pregnancy prevention and STIs.

Kemi: Do you do these often? Is it usually that large of a group?

Rena: Well, it’s kind of random. I think it’s always different for us because we don’t do direct service, but people still look to us to provide education and information in communities. So I do feel like we get a lot of speaker requests. Those of us in the office who are public health trainers and are comfortable getting up in front of groups usually get those requests. I did one two weeks ago and one about six months ago. It varies.

Kemi: Do you prepare a PowerPoint, or what do you do to keep young people engaged?

Rena: I did a Prezi this time because there were so many young people, I felt like I needed some visuals and I think that’s a cool, different way instead of a boring PowerPoint. Two weeks ago, I did a game with the young people because I had a smaller group of about 30, and I did two different sessions so I was able to use a game called Fact or Fiction.

Kemi: Are they [young people] pretty responsive?

Rena: Yeah, they are.  You get a lot of questions.  A lot, a lot of questions because some people don’t have anyone they feel comfortable talking to, or someone they can talk to who’s going to give them the right information.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Institute Recap

This year's Summer Institute Conference was a success thanks to all of our attendees, sponsors, speakers, vendors and staff! If you weren't able to attend this year, here's what went down...

Sarah Brown, CEO, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned
Pregnancy, and Forrest Alton, CEO, SC Campaign, have "Fireside Chat"
during the opening luncheon keynote address

Sarah Brown accepts this years Murray Vincent Award, pictured with
past recipients Rev. Don Flowers, Michelle Nimmons and Carol Singletary

Debra Chilcoat, Healthy Teen Network, presents her session "Keep It Simple:
Linking Teens to Sexual Healthcare" on Wednesday

Christina Jackson and Antquan Smith from Sea Haven talk about how to
reach runaway homeless youth on Wednesday

Eric Rowles and Pat Kelsaw of Leading to Change give an energizing session
on Thursday morning

Beverly Bond, Founder and CEO of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, delivers the
keynote address at Thursday's luncheon

SC Campaign staff take a selfie with Beverly Bond!

Party people at the 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday night
do the wobble

Charles Weathers presenting his power session on Friday to wrap up the conference

To view more photos from the conference, visit our Flickr page!

by Sara Lamberson, Corporate Communications Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Institute: Are You Ready?!

Our 15th annual Summer Institute conference is only two days away, and the SC Campaign wants to know...

Are you ready?!

We've got a spectacular program for you all this year, including...

Wednesday, June 11

Thursday, June 12

  • 8:30am – 10:00am       Breakout Sessions 
  • 10:15am – 11:45am     Breakout Sessions
  • 12:00pm – 1:30pm     BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Luncheon with keynote Beverly Bond
  • 1:45pm – 3:15pm         Breakout Sessions
  • 3:30pm – 5:00pm         Breakout Sessions
  • 5:00pm - 8:00pm         20th Anniversary Celebration 

Friday, June 14

  • 6:00am – 9:00am Breakfast for Embassy Suites guests
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm Power Sessions

We can't wait to welcome each of our 379 attendees so we can salut success and push for progress!

For the agenda and full listing of breakout and power sessions, click here

by Sara Lamberson, Corporate Communications Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Monday, June 2, 2014

Until We Meet Again...

Me and coworker/friend Sarah Kershner
As I write this blog today, I will do my best not to melt into a puddle of tears. For the past seven years, I have served the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy as its Director of Communications – a position that I’ve truly loved. I have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, some amazing people – from Forrest Alton who took a chance with me when he made his first hire as Executive Director  to Ashley Hunter who has showed me the ropes at the State House to Shannon Flynn and Sarah Kershner who have been my data gurus and more importantly, my friends. The staff at the SC Campaign is truly the best in the business, and I have been honored to be a part of this effort.

In addition to my colleagues within our office, I have also had the opportunity to work alongside phenomenal people like Don Flowers (my favorite Baptist Minister) and Bill Albert (CPO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and also the person I aspire to be like). I met both of these men within my first couple of months at the SC Campaign and have turned to them for guidance ever since. I appreciate them more than they know.

Me and my beautiful family
In just a few short days, I will transition out of my full-time role with the SC Campaign and into a less formal, consulting role with the organization.  While part of me is sad to go, I’m excited for what is waiting for me at home – two beautiful children, Lucas (4) and McLane (10 months). Since my son was born, I have seen just how fast time passes us by and have decided that I need to be more present for my children at this time.

I am very proud of what I have accomplished over the past seven years, but without a doubt, am most proud of the fact that I have built a top-notch communications department who will continue to produce A+ results.  Kylee, Kemi, Kim, Carol, and Sara are my heroes – they work tirelessly to promote our brands, to spread positive messages of teen pregnancy prevention, and to recruit supporters for our agency. At the end of the day, it is these people who I got to work with every day that I will miss the most!

I came to the SC Campaign with very little knowledge of public health or teen pregnancy prevention, but I am leaving as a huge advocate and #1 fan of the organization!  I would love to stay in touch with all of you so please follow me on Twitter and Instagram - @cbanks11.

Until we meet again…  

Cayci Banks, former Director of Communications, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy