One of the good things that happened in 2020 is Julia Mercier and Jessie Reibman founding The Space For Good, which is a group that trains and develops talent for nonprofit groups. Space itself is also a nonprofit group, but is designed and intended to assist other nonprofit groups.
According to Jessie Reibman, “Nonprofits will benefit from The Space For Good’s high-quality training and development offerings,” adding that nonprofits “may prefer to work with a group like ours,” which “understands the unique challenges and nuances within the nonprofit space.” As a co-founder, Reibman is also the executive director of The Space For Good. The group delivers the full array of “staff and leadership development training and coaching programs,” which benefits their clients in terms of strengthening their organization and their people.
Since COVID-19 hit, Julia Mercier and Jessie Reibman have also committed their organization to allow their clients to continue working despite the drastic shift to remote work because of the pandemic. They continue to help their clients by training and coaching them, enabling them to use their organizational strengths to amplify their impact towards the people they serve. With the assistance fro The Space For Good, more nonprofits will be able to “amplify the impact” they will leave for “their communities and beyond.”
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Jessie Reibman: Thank you for having us! So, Julia and I both started our careers a bit differently. I started mine in hospitality and Julia started hers as a lawyer, and then as a law firm learning and development leader. After working together for about two years, we realized that we could take our skills and passion for training and events to the nonprofit space.
The Space For Good was born in 2019 on a plane ride from Chicago to New York where we exchanged views on everything from learning, creativity and fun to our desire to merge our corporate work with the nonprofit sector. It was clear to us that we needed to collaborate. Soon after, we started meeting weekly and building our vision.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Jessie Reibman: In short, building an organization is tough! Neither of us had worked in the nonprofit space before so we really were going into this with lots to learn. I think at the beginning the hardest of times were balancing our workloads. I don’t think we ever considered giving up, but we definitely discussed the timing of building The Space For Good and if it was “the right time”. As for finding the drive to continue, we both knew how special our idea was and how rewarding it would be to both us and the nonprofits we would work with. We know how special our training so knowing that we had the tools to help others and make a difference kept us moving forward.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Jessie Reibman: We will never forget this day. It was the morning of an all-day training session. We had hired a New York service, Glam Squad, to come and do our hair before the training. Who doesn’t love to feel put together and fabulous on a big day! So, as we were sitting getting our hair done, we were on our laptops, prepping for the day and all of a sudden, the room went dark. We blew a fuse! Both of us immediately looked at each other and started laughing. We were trying to be as efficient as possible by scheduling our glam and prep at the same time, but soon realized that sometimes multitasking is not the answer. With half dried hair, we ran around frantically trying to fix the fuse. Luckily, it all ended up working out and the training was great! We learned that you can have and do it all, maybe just not all at once!
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Know To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results?” Please share a story or an example for each.
Julia Mercier: Of course! Here’s are delegation toolkit:
- Match the task or project to the person. Consider their level of ability and how to best motivate them. For example, a person doing something for the first time might need more coaching from you in the short term, but you’re investing in them for the next time.
- Be clear on roles and responsibilities. Generally, the leader’s responsibility is to provide clear expectations and to be available for questions.
- Over communicate! Most of the issues that come up in training and coaching around delegation are about communication. If you are giving a deadline, be clear about the timing and why the deadline is important, especially in our current environment. People are being pulled in lots of directions and need more clarity than before.
- Check in and follow up. As a leader, you might think your role stops once you’ve given someone their instructions. In some cases, that’s true — when working with someone with a proven track record, but generally it’s a good practice to check in. You can catch potential issues before they become problems.
- Give feedback. We could do a whole other interview with you about feedback! Giving feedback effectively is the key to satisfaction and process improvement. Most people would like to get more feedback, even if it is constructive. We’ve had clients who had breakthroughs with team members as a result of a simple feedback conversation. It’s a powerful tool!
Jerome Knyszewski: One of the obstacles to proper delegating is the oft quoted cliché “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Is this saying true? Is it false? Is there a way to reconcile it with the importance of delegating?
Julia Mercier: That’s a good one. It really goes back to prioritization and thinking strategically about what needs your attention and what doesn’t. It might be true for certain things, like pitching your business for a new opportunity, but it can’t be true for everything. If you absolutely think everything needs to be done by you, then you are likely missing opportunities to benefit from the ideas and talent of others.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Julia Mercier and Jessie Reibman: Thank you so much for the opportunity to chat with you about this important topic. Readers can visit our website www.thespaceforgood.org to learn about our programs and how they might benefit their organization. We are also on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!