New collaborative “Better Together Series” featured Design Thinking workshops

The Professional Development Collaborative launched the Better Together Workshop Series this fall to help community members in Alamance County gain skills designed to address the collective challenges 2020 brought. 

The new Professional Development Collaborative launched the Better Together Workshop Series this fall to deepen connections that contribute to more inclusive and resilient communities across Alamance County. The series was designed to help community members gain skills to address the challenges this year has brought.

“It’s really an outgrowth of when COVID first impacted the community,” said Tammy Cobb, associate director for community partnerships in the Kernodle Center for Civic Life. “There were multiple conversations with both nonprofits and small businesses on how to respond during that initial part of the crisis.”

Cobb said there was a large amount of training available to local organizations, but no larger umbrella to connect the smaller groups together.

“It came to our attention that there were different forms of education, workshops, and training offered in the community but there wasn’t anything being done in collaboration,” she said.

The Collaborative is comprised of the Alamance Chamber of Commerce, the Burlington Downtown Corporation, the Burlington Housing Authority, Impact Alamance, the United Way of Alamance, along with Elon’s Center for Design Thinking, Center for Leadership, the Kernodle Center for Civic Life, Office for Leadership and Professional Development, Recreation and Wellness, and the Student Professional Development Center.

Now, the PDC is pooling its resources in order to make education much more accessible to local groups in Alamance County. “Creative responses to our shared challenges and community resilience come from building relationships across institutional divides,” said the Director of Design Thinking Danielle Lake.

“We have resources and connections and relationships we’re tapping into, but it’s not like we’re our own nonprofit or anything,” Cobb said. “We’re collaborating to bring the resources we have.”

During the fall of 2020, the Center for Design Thinking provided three workshops featuring Elon Student Catalysts as a part of the Better Together Workshop series. One focused on bringing passion and play into adult life, while the second and third addressed implicit bias and equity in the workplace. The fall series attracted over 120 faculty, staff, students, and community members from across Alamance.

“Being exposed to design thinking methods is crucial to understanding ourselves and the world around us,” said Jacquelin Baumann, an Elon Strategic Communications major, who led the Passion and Play workshop.

“This is a new group that I was so glad to be a part of. The Center for Design Thinking seeks to be a nexus to bring people together across different spaces–government, nonprofits, business, and healthcare,” said Lake. “I’m really honored to be a part of the PDC and this series.”

For more information on this partnership or to request a workshop, click here.