Home Blog & Media Supporting Humentum members through organizational change

Supporting Humentum members through organizational change

October 12, 2022

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Sarah Le Pape

Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, IQTS, France


Sheri Carlson

Director of Finance and Administration
Land O'Lakes Venture37

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.

Having that ability to converse with others doing the same thing and sharing some of those experiences is really beneficial.

Sheri Carlson

Our HR and Program staff use the Humentum Connect discussion boards. You are able to ask a very targeted question and gather feedback from other members who might be able to assist. These responses have been very useful in helping us move forward and make decisions.

Another benefit is the Resource Library in Connect.  One staff member cited the resources around lists of lawyers by their country. When you move into a new country, it’s sometimes difficult to gather the necessary resources, whether those are related to lawyers, accountants, etc. Having a starting place can make things more efficient.

You highlighted training, resources, and building connections. What stands out most in terms of the value of Humentum’s membership?

Sheri: Every department across our different functions mentioned the roundtables. They serve many purposes, not just building that community, but also as a place to have more one-on-one connections to discuss specific issues.

The second is probably Humentum’s training. Our organization, like most others, has staff turnover, especially when implementing projects that have a three or five-year lifespan. We’re starting new projects; we’re ending other projects. Staff members are coming or going. Ensuring we continue to train existing and new staff is essential and having resources available to help us do that efficiently and effectively is vital.

What can you find at Humentum that can’t be found elsewhere?

Sheri:  I’ve found a sense of camaraderie and community through attending annual conferences, trainings, and talking at the roundtables. We all have the best intentions and want to implement the best programs to get the best outcomes for those we are trying to serve.

That sense of community and willingness to share is sometimes missing when you go to an organization that just does training. You can get training anywhere. You can go to a university or other organizations. But it is conveying material – it’s giving information.

The difference with Humentum is that people understand what you're doing. Many times, they're implementing similar programs. That willingness to share - to have the outcome be a better outcome for all - is refreshing.

Sheri Carlson

It’s invigorating to be around others with a similar purpose and mission and see the excitement that comes from sharing ideas. Brainstorming ideas ends up generating the best of everything. One connection leads you to another.

Do you have any advice for organizations considering Humentum membership?

Sheri: Look at the breadth of what’s offered. If your organization has questions such as, “Would this be a right fit for us?” or “Is it worth the money?” talk to someone who is a part of it to see how it could help your organization. I think we couldn’t do without our membership.


Through our membership, we connect you to a community of peers for problem-solving and best practices; discounts on trainings for individuals and teams; groundbreaking advocacy research and reports; trusted industry partners with services you need; and more. The Humentum Community is a network of relationships and membership is at the heart of Humentum’s ability to use the power of our sector-wide network.

Become a Humentum member today