Since its launch in September 2022, AYN University (AYNU) has become a beacon of growth and professional development for employees at Alexander Youth Network. Rooted in our commitment to developing our staff, AYNU stands as a cornerstone of our organizational culture, fostering excellence and leadership among our team members. As a company-sponsored initiative, programs, courses, and training under AYNU are offered to all employees at no cost, reflecting our belief that investing in our team members’ growth is fundamental to our shared success.
The heart of AYNU’s mission is to provide meaningful professional development to every staff member, regardless of role or tenure. This focus on growth empowers individuals to enhance their skills, deepen their knowledge, and prepare for future opportunities within our organization.
“AYN University is integral to ensuring our employee’s success, not only because it encourages self-improvement, but also because it supports our employee’s professional growth through mentoring and leadership development,” said Sandra Pizarro, Chief People & Culture Officer, who launched AYNU after her return to Alexander.
At the core of AYNU’s programs is the AYN Leadership Institute, a transformative 6-month program that exemplifies our commitment to nurturing leaders of tomorrow. Through interactive learning, insights from internal experts, hands-on application, and mentorship, participants emerge as capable, confident leaders ready to drive positive change within our organization.
“The AYNU Leadership class has been instrumental in my personal growth as a leader and has truly empowered me to lead with confidence,” said Josh Santos, Project Manager, about his experience in the AYNU Leadership class. “As an employee, it’s incredibly inspiring to see that Alexander Youth Network values our personal development and is committed to our growth and success.”
AYNU’s impact extends far beyond leadership training and offers a comprehensive approach to growth. Lunch & Learn workshops delve into crucial topics such as diversity and inclusion, conflict resolution, and effective feedback delivery. Monthly learning workshops empower managers to refine their leadership skills, fostering compassion and efficacy. Direct-care staff benefit from self-paced video learning and self-care blogs, recognizing the importance of well-being at every level.
“As an employee I feel very grateful to be a part of an organization that encourages personal growth, promotion, and development throughout the agency,” said Alane Hayes, Intensive In-Home Lead Therapist. “Each month I was able to take in a wealth of knowledge from guest speakers who are leaders within the agency who were able to paint the bigger picture of what Alexander embodies.”
In a rapidly evolving world, the pursuit of continuous learning is critical. Professional development equips staff with the tools and insights needed to stay relevant, adaptive, and effective in their roles. In addition, professional development nurtures a sense of purpose, job satisfaction, and personal fulfillment, which contributes to a more engaged and inspired workforce.
CEO Craig Bass underscores the importance of AYNU and professional development: “AYNU is more than a program; it embodies our commitment to fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth. By investing in our staff’s professional development, we are investing in the future of our agency and the well-being of the youth we serve.”
As AYN University evolves, the seeds of leadership and growth sown today will continue to bear fruit for years to come. With the forthcoming Career Center set to launch in Fall 2023, AYNU’s commitment to fostering personal and professional development remains unwavering.
“AYN University will continue to grow its offerings because we believe our agency can only be successful when we inspire our staff to reach their professional goals. We have instilled a learning culture that challenges and supports its people,” Pizarro said about the future of AYNU.
At Alexander Youth Network, the journey of growth continues empowering our staff to illuminate the path of success for themselves and for the families we serve.
Written by Kevin Whitlock