Connecting the Dots – SourceAmerica Network Liaisons
SourceAmerica® is known across the nation for its important work to help create job opportunities for people with disabilities. Connecting the approximately 700 nonprofit agencies in its nationwide network to these opportunities is a major part of the organization’s work. To help accomplish this mission, one group of liaisons is poised to help nonprofits in the network connect the dots and navigate the ins and outs of working with SourceAmerica.
SourceAmerica liaisons are devoted professionals who know how to get things done and help connect nonprofit agencies with the right resources. This experienced group of subject matter experts are always ready to help a nonprofit successfully traverse the depth of information that can help them best leverage SourceAmerica programs.
Once a topic of interest is identified, the liaison is the conduit that links the nonprofit to the appropriate business unit within SourceAmerica to address it. Business development leads may turn into job opportunities for people with disabilities; contract management support provides the critical rules and regulations that must be followed with federal customers; and the SourceAmerica productivity engineers that support workforce development create products and processes that help people with disabilities do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Liaison Team Goals
The liaison team’s first goal is three-pronged: to meet with, learn about, and listen to the nonprofits who are a part of the network. Their objective is to meet in-person with each producing nonprofit agency every year. Although amended during the COVID-19 pandemic to include virtual meetings, the ability to come “face-to-screen” with nonprofit agency staff is still tremendously valuable.
“Every organization is different,” said David Piland, one of the SourceAmerica liaisons. “Some will be in an urban city setting with thousands of employees across several lines of business; some nonprofits specialize in local needs in their rural settings away from population centers.”
It’s critical for a SourceAmerica liaison to understand the specific needs of each organization in its network. “My most important job is to listen to how the nonprofit agency is doing. This helps me best understand where their strengths and areas of opportunity lie and gives me the real-time assessment that I need to assist them in understanding SourceAmerica’s programs,” he said.
Helping the nonprofits to serve their communities is an important outcome for the liaisons. “The adage, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ is the unofficial motto of the liaisons,” said Chris Stream, SourceAmerica’s Vice President of Nonprofit Agency Network Services. “Knowing that if the nonprofit agencies they support are strong, healthy, and robust, the entire network - from as far away as Guam and Puerto Rico and everywhere in between – benefits,” Stream said.
The second goal for the SourceAmerica Liaison team is getting feedback from the nonprofit agencies back to the right business units at SourceAmerica so they can adjust and enhance their services. Piland refers to the liaisons as “Consumer Reports for SourceAmerica.” Based on feedback that they receive from the nonprofit agencies, SourceAmerica may expand or modify what is currently offered to meet the needs of the nonprofits.
During the 2020 wildfire season in the Western U.S., several network nonprofits were reporting the evacuation of employees due to dangerous conditions in their communities. The agencies were spending money to put some of their employees in hotels, taxing the organizations even further. One liaison assigned to work with these nonprofits, Ellen Telander, was able to rapidly bring this situation to the attention of the SourceAmerica leadership team. It was this interaction that helped lead to the creation of a new Natural Disaster Assistance Grant that was announced in January 2021 for eligible nonprofits in the SourceAmerica network.
“Seeing the hardship that the fires caused was very difficult. I am elated that I was able to be a small part of an important silver lining – a SourceAmerica grant – that was born from this tragedy,” said Telander.
A shared mission
Collaboration is key to accomplishing a common mission. Whether it’s providing details about an upcoming contract change, facilitating a discussion between nonprofits looking to work together on project, or helping a nonprofit with additional information about job opportunities for people with disabilities, the SourceAmerica liaisons are always ready to lend a hand.
For additional information about the SourceAmerica network or to learn more about how SourceAmerica supports the creation of job opportunities for people with disabilities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.