WTOP: 5 ways nonprofits can…
Nonprofit HR Staff Story
Dr. Antonio Cortes
What attracted you to Nonprofit HR?
There were multiple reasons I was attracted to Nonprofit HR. After serving many years as an internal consultant for a large federated nonprofit, I wasn’t sure how I would use that knowledge and experience when I began considering career changes. Since Nonprofit HR partners with nonprofits of varying sizes across multiple industries, the firm provided an opportunity for me to leverage and use my knowledge and skills in different ways.
In addition to this, my formal education centered on preparing me to be an organizational management consultant, so it was a perfect match for what I had always aspired to do for work.
The last item that sealed the deal for me was my initial interaction with Lisa (CEO) and Patty (Managing Partner) during my interview. I could tell that Lisa was committed to building a strong practice, but that she also cares about her staff. Patty’s energy was a perfect complement to the meeting and I just felt comfortable engaging with her and Lisa as we discussed aspirations for how the firm would launch a new Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practice. The opportunity and the environment just seemed right.
What’s your favorite aspect of talent management?
Creating “aha” moments with clients. Regardless of how we are partnering with our clients, whether it be training, assessments or strategy development, there are always moments when clients come to a new realization or start to see something from a different vantage point. These are exciting moments in the relationship as the new perspective often turns into noticeable organizational and behavioral change. Sometimes you just need a friend to help you see something differently, and I get to be that friend for my clients.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now and why?
This is a tough question to answer because I work on so many interesting projects. My favorite/coolest experiences are when I am able to support organizations that are working to address climate change (yes I know, very Millennial of me). I have multiple clients that fit into this category and I get excited to play a small role in their efforts to create radical change in this sector.
A notable mention would be a project where I am evaluating a national certification program to determine if the process is designed and conducted well when considering DEI and Justice. This is a profound project since it could have implications for how a field certifies its constituents.
“My favorite aspect of talent management is creating “aha” moments with clients.”
What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?
When I was young, I spent a lot of time with my dad and his friends who all had classic muscle cars and racecars. Almost every weekend my dad and I would be at the local racetrack to watch him race. Those were some of my best memories as a kid and to this day it is one of the main things that my dad and I do together. On some rare occasions when calendars line up, we now take my racecar to the track so he can watch me race.
What’s a fun fact about you?
When I was in middle school I played basketball for 4 years (5th through 8th grade). At the beginning of my basketball career, I was one of the tallest kids in my class (about 5’7″). At the end of my basketball career, I was one of the shortest kids in my class (about 5’7″). The problem we ran into was that I learned to play as the Center, which is typically the tallest person on the team. This worked great for the first couple of years but by the time we were in 8th grade, we realized that I simply did not have the size to play that position effectively anymore. I still did OK, but that was the end of my basketball years since I had no desire to learn a new position on the team. In retrospect, it must have been comical to see my 8th-grade team swap out our 6’2″ Center mid-game for me, one of the shortest players on the team.
Our Managing Director for EDIJ, Antonio L. Cortes, PhD, has over a decade of experience as an applied Industrial/Organizational and Business Psychologist in the nonprofit sector. In his current role, he functions as a senior advisor on methodologies to assess, plan and improve approaches to incorporating DEI into organizational operations. Areas of practice include Organizational Equity Analysis to uncover blind spots in operations which lead to inequities, Strategy Development to solve unique organizational issues in the DEI space, Global application of DEI concepts for multinational organizations and Training on DEI topics such as Building a Business Case for DEI, Implicit (unconscious) Bias, Microaggressions and Systems Theory Application to Workforce Development. Read Antonio’s full bio.
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