Provider’s Council Nonprofit Human Services Management Certificate Program

Published: July 20, 2017

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Program Director Robert L. Gustison, II recently completed the Provider’s Council Nonprofit Human Services Management Certificate Program. This year-long, graduate-level certificate program has been specifically designed for mid-career professionals in nonprofit organizations. It focuses on building skills that are necessary to excel in human services management. To learn more, click here.

Q& A with Program Director Robert L. Gustison, II

Robert, pictured above with Provider’s Council President & CEO Michael Weekes and  Suffolk University’s Sandy Matava.

What led you to become interested in the Provider’s Council program?

I have been involved with the Provider’s Council for a number of years prior to attending the certificate program.  Their mission to influence and direct public policy change to support community-based services has been a calling of mine since entering the human service workforce right out of high school.  I can’t tell you how many times I have donned the yellow Provider’s Council shirt and descended upon the capital to lobby on behalf of human service providers and those we serve.  I have a sister with microcephaly and a son who is on the autism spectrum so the calling is also personal.

Since starting my employment with Bridgewell, I have showed particular interest in the Provider’s Council’s Certificate in Nonprofit Human Service Management offered through Suffolk University.  I even attended the informational session my 3rd month with Bridgewell.  Over the next few years, I focused on making myself the most viable candidate that Bridgewell would want to represent us at the certificate program.  I concentrated on program operations and how best to serve the clients under my care.  I matured as a human service worker and manager.  I achieved my objective and three years later, I was in that same room with my peers, graduating with a Certificate in Nonprofit Human Service Management.

How would you describe the overall experience with the program?

Second to none.  The few things that stand out are first, the professors.  The Provider’s Council provides us with top notch educators from leading firms and/or former government leaders.  We are given not only the opportunity to learn from their vast knowledge and experience but we are able to tap into their invaluable network of co-workers, friends, and colleagues that have any and all of the answers to the questions that we have and may come up in subsequent years.  I was even able to use my successes to launch my graduate career with Suffolk as I was accepted into the Master of Business Administration program starting this summer.  To put is short, I had an idea that I was going to come out of the Provider’s Council’s Certificate in Nonprofit Human Service Management with a quality education.  In reality, what I received was that and so much more.

In what ways did the program help you within your position at Bridgewell?

In more ways that I can even recall for this answer.  The first things that are coming to mind are financial management, human resources, and development.  I would say as a Program Director we do not have multiple daily interactions with these three departments.  On a given day, we do touch upon these topics but most of our understanding is limited to what our undergraduate or empirical education has awarded us.  Upon the certificate graduation, I know how naive I was and how simplistically I approached these topics.  Now I am able to use my acquired knowledge and apply it to everyday situations to assist me in making educated decisions.  Additionally, as mentioned in a previous answer, networking is invaluable.  I am now very close friends with the HR manager of one of the largest providers in the state, the former head of DDS, DYS, and the Mass Association of the Blind.  As a professional, you need these connections to flourish and become the best that you can be to serve those that are in the greatest need.  Bridgewell sees this as a great opportunity for staff with potential and I am humbled and inspired that I was chosen.

Bridgewell staff  Kelly Pottie and Mary Coughlin with Rob at the graduation ceremony.