Cultivating Diverse Community and Board Leaders with United Way’s Blueprint for Leadership

EnerSys is proud of its years-long partnership with the United Way of Berks County. This includes support both through monetary resources and volunteer time. One example is the United Way Blueprint for Leadership program in which we participated for the eighth consecutive year in 2021.

Blueprint for Leadership is a program aimed at fostering diversity in which United Way, through its partner organizations, seeks out individuals from underrepresented and minority groups to train them in leadership skills and connect them with nonprofit boards. The overarching goal of the program is to diversify the nonprofit boards in Berks County.

Mary Jimenez, who has been managing the Blueprint for Leadership program since 2018, explained, “Nonprofit boards are not always representative of the populations they aim to serve. This is the gap the program works to close. The decisions are being made for a certain population,” Jimenez said, “but the boards are not always made up of people who can fully understand the experiences of their stakeholders. It’s important to have that voice from the community, the different perspectives.”

Blueprint for Leadership is a seven-to-eight-week program, with weekly instructional and interactive sessions centered around leaderships topics like personal development, personality assessments, public speaking, communication, conflict management, board-specific information and more. Participants also have the chance to sit in and observe an actual board meeting. Upon completing the program, participants then volunteer in the local community with the ultimate aim of serving on a nonprofit board or committee.

The Blueprint for Leadership program launched in 2013, and EnerSys has had at least one team member participating in the program since 2014. Since 2017, EnerSys team members have occupied two spots in the annual program.

EnerSys Senior Supplier Quality Manager Patricia Gamboa was one of the participants in the program.

Gamboa said that she enjoyed the interactive nature of the instructional sessions, and was able to learn about herself and develop her leadership skills like communication and conflict management while making meaningful connections with the other program participants. She recalled, “We not only learned from the presenters, but we were also able to learn from our classmates in different areas who have their own experiences, points of view and areas of expertise.” She then added that the program, “provided me with the critical combination of developing leadership and management skills while also emphasizing the importance of community engagement and helping participants figure out how to get more involved.” Gamboa also noted the impactful interactions with other program participants, “Everyone came with their own experiences, but there were commonalities across all industries – everyone is facing the same issues with relating to their colleagues, managers and the community.”

From left to right: Daniel Sansary, Blueprint for Leadership Committee Chair for 2016-2021, BFL Graduate 2014; EnerSys Senior Supplier Quality Manager Patricia Gamboa, BFL Graduate 2021; and Tammy White President at United Way of Berks County

Gambao is eager to take what they learned during their team at the Blueprint for Leadership program and apply it in her community efforts and board-level aspirations, which she found to be closer in reach than previously thought.

EnerSys is proud to support team members in their efforts to improve their personal and professional development, as well as their ambitions to become better leaders, especially for the purpose of ensuring that the organizations dedicated to serving their communities are representing the voices and interests of the people they serve.