Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. In addition, NAA offers a variety of opportunities for virtual professional development (PD) through meaningful content, conversations and connections. Click here to see full descriptions of virtual PD offerings.

How NAA’s Podcast Club Is Spurring Reflection and Conversation

NAA's Podcast Club is PD designed for busy professionals interested in gleaning ideas and inspiration from group discussions about our favorite podcasts. It's like a book club—without the time commitment!

Participants listen to a selected podcast and come prepared to connect in community and conversation with NAA's Pod Squad, led by Heidi Ham, NAA VP of Programs and Strategy.

The first-ever Podcast Club meeting took a look at "The Art of Gathering" episode of Brené Brown's Unlocking Us Podcast, where she welcomed author, master facilitator and strategic advisor, Priya Parker.

After listening to the episode, Ham was joined by co-host Brad Lademann, Associate Director of Quality Initiatives for the Missouri AfterSchool Network, to delve into the episode with participants and examine how Brown and Parker dig into what it means to come together, why connection requires intention, and the often-invisible structures inside our most meaningful gatherings.

Lademann reflected on what stood out to him most in the episode.

"A quote that stood out to me was, 'Gatherings crackle and flourish when real thought goes into them, when (often invisible) structure is baked into them, and when the host has a curiosity, willingness and generosity of spirit to try,'" Lademann said.

The next Podcast Club meeting the following month examined Sam Chand's episode on "The Art and Importance of Appreciation."

Ham shared why they chose this particular episode, before encouraging participants to reflect upon what the podcast taught them or changed their opinions about.

"We were originally intrigued by the podcast intro, which said, 'Most people don't know how to give and receive appreciation. To be a great leader, coworker and friend, we need both of these skills. Here's how to grow in both areas,' and then after listening to the episode, I appreciated the importance and simplicity of his message," Ham explained.

Follow up resources were shared with participants, including the recording of a past NAA Coaching Conversation on creating a culture and practice of appreciation, Katherine Spinney's blog "Showing Gratitude to your OST Team", On Wings and Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary by The Leadership Program's Erika Petrelli, and more.

Next, the Podcast Club listened to "The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know" episode of This Working Life with Lisa Leong. In the episode, host Lisa Leong talks with researcher and author Adam Grant about the critical nature of how questioning your beliefs, rethinking or even unlearning are key skills for today's rapidly changing work environment.

"Brad is really good about asking questions to get to know someone better or to get them to open up," Ham said. "In this case, he asked me about what books I was reading and after answering him, I asked him the same. He mentioned Adam Grant's book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know, which spawned the idea of discussing it with all of you."

After the episode discussion, Ham closed the conversation out by asking participants to do a head-heart-feet assessment: To share something they learned, something that inspired or provided motivation, and an action they'll now take.

Participants were provided with follow up resources including a past NAA Convention presentation titled "Introduction to Motivational Interviewing", a method for troubleshooting, quality improvement and problem solving called "The 5 Whys", Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk titled "The Danger of a Single Story", and more.

The Podcast Club is available to Executive members, so upgrade today and join us each month for an interactive exchange and discussion about what you heard, what you learned and how you'll apply it. See the upcoming Podcast Club events—in addition to more virtual PD opportunities—by clicking here.

Courtesy of NAA.