We met Ben in 2015 when he came to our session at NAEYC's Professional Development Institute on the topic of collective leadership. He had many examples of how he was using collective leadership, and we reconnected this year. He shared with us how he is using collective leadership in his new role. We were excited to feature his story in our January 10 webinar as an example of the element of evolution/emergence.
"When I started my new position as the Infant Toddler Outcome Specialist with Partnerships for Early Learners last year our statewide infant and toddler focused trainings fell into my lap. One area that stood out to me was that Indiana ranks 7thhighest in the nation in infant mortality. The state has been partnering with healthcare providers and non-profit agencies to address the issue but we had not updated our training or outreach to early childhood education providers in a meaningful way since 2006.
Indiana is lucky enough to have an amazing team of regional Infant Toddler Specialists and at our first full meeting we came up with some top priorities - #1 was addressing Safe Sleep. I quickly started reaching out to various partners such as the Indiana Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (which oversees early childhood providers), the Indiana State Department of Health, and First Candle. The Infant Toddler Specialists and myself worked together to completely restructure our safe sleep trainings for flow, content, feel, and level of engagement. We got feedback from people who had assisted with the creation of the original training. I engaged every partner that we could find and facilitated bringing their collective experiences into a completely new training.
Since our training went live I have travelled the state observing the Infant Toddler Specialists give the training (since they participated in every step of the development process they did not have to do a train the trainer which meant a quick and seamless rollout!). The difference in the participants’ level of engagement has been amazing. A great moment for me was when an Infant Toddler Specialist’s supervisor (who didn’t know my role yet) commented after observing the new training that she loved it (and how her trainer did) and that she would never have to see the old version again.
I could have approached recreating the training all by myself – in the end it would have ended up being more work for me. Getting the buy-in for the Infant Toddler Specialists upfront and throughout the process made the training much better than it would have been otherwise and made the rollout incredibly smooth."