Sheri Carlson is the Director of Finance and Administration at Land O’Lakes Venture37, an organization that helps global communities thrive through agriculture. With many years of private-sector finance experience behind her, the nonprofit space was new to Sheri when she first joined her colleagues eight years ago. Since then, Humentum’s trainings and networking opportunities have been vital in helping Sheri learn the best practices in leading a finance department within this sector.
We recently caught up with Sheri to discuss the value of Humentum’s membership and why Land O’Lakes Venture37 couldn’t do without it.
What brought Land O’Lakes to Humentum?
Sheri: Humentum is an important organization to be a part of. It’s a way to connect with peer organizations, to gather information on US Government rules and regulations, and dive deeper into pertinent topics. Our organization has gone through many changes in 40 years. We started as a division of a for-profit entity and then spun off as a nonprofit. Through these organizational changes, we had to adjust how we do things.
Having resources available to us through Humentum was crucial in ensuring that leadership had the information to make decisions as we were going through these changes. And that staff supporting our projects had the skills, training, and information they needed to do their jobs well. It’s been beneficial both from an on-the-ground and leadership level.
Can you speak to the specific support you were looking for?
Sheri: One of the things that came back from many people – our CEO, HR, Finance, and Programs teams – was how helpful the roundtable meetings are. They provide a way to connect with peer organizations at a smaller group level to talk about key topics. This includes organizational shifts, policy change, or addressing an issue of the moment, like the COVID pandemic and the economic situation in Lebanon, etc. The roundtables allow you to connect with leaders in your particular function and ask the questions on your mind.
For example, Venture37 wanted to look at modifying its travel policy to better align with its competitors and ensure we were providing the right duty of care for staff traveling internationally. It was helpful to go to the session on developing a travel policy, ask important questions, and hear how other were approaching international travel in the post-COVID era.
Does your organization benefit from Humentum’s other services and offerings?
Sheri: We have sent many people to the USAID Rules and Regulations training. I participated in the Maximize Your Indirect Cost Recovery training. A number of my staff have attended the two budget trainings offered – Budget Monitoring Essentials and Budgeting Essentials. Having the breadth of courses out there, and offered frequently, is very helpful.
The other thing staff mentioned was the available networking opportunities. Again, some of those come through the roundtables and the past annual conference. They allow you to network with others, raise questions and create connections.