Community Partner Highlight: Career Resources & Social Impact Partners Strategic Planning

“We are in a battle every day. You can’t even slow down to see where you are going. Social Impact Partners allowed us to take the time to do that. It’s made an incredible impact and I can’t thank Social Impact Partners enough.”

-Scott K. Wilderman, CRI President & CEO 

Career Resources (CRI) and Social Impact Partners have been working together since 2017 to improve the employment situation of Connecticut residents in order to mitigate the causes and effects of poverty.  Specifically, CRI’s mission is a transformative leader in workforce development, providing a network of dependable resources that offer customized, holistic support to people seeking economic sustainability.

Over the past 6 years, CRI and Social Impact Partners have grown together and their collaborative impact continues to be a source of strength for both organizations. “I’ve watched Social Impact Partners grow and I am in awe,” said Wilderman. “I’ve known Social Impact Partners since it had about 30 volunteer partners. It was a backyard entity and now it is a statewide player.”

For his part, Wilderman has been at CRI for 25 years and during that time has led CRI from a $1MM organization to a $27MM leader in workforce in CT. Over the past several years, this growth has been particularly significant and with it the need to address the organization’s infrastructure became a priority. 

It was this priority that created the most recent project that CRI and Social Impact Partners worked on together. Along with CRI’s leadership, Social Impact Partners volunteer partners Chris Kunhardt (lead), Mary Jaensch, Sylvia Shepard and Jack Loop took part in a strategic planning process to identify where the organization was and where it was heading.

This 9 month process began this past February at a board and staff retreat led by Mary Jaensch. This meeting took participants through a high level thought process that resulted in a clear vision and mission for the organization, as well as strategic initiatives to be explored and framed as key pillars for CRI moving forward. From there, Social Impact Partners and CRI leadership collaborated on refining and gaining consensus on a strategic plan that was goal oriented, measurable and actionable.

“We really admire the Social Impact Partners process. Mary listened to everyone’s opinions and made us all feel invested. She guided the conversations and got right to the point. Helped us re-frame. We now have a framework that is usable as a roadmap,” said Wilderman. 

Jaensch shared that what was most powerful about the collaborative process was the buy-in by staff and board members at every stage of the process. “I love to do this work and appreciate that the team trusted me. The most successful strategic planning is an outcome that has everyone feeling energized and focused and I’m thrilled that we got to this point,” said Jaensch. 

CRI is now poised for another year of sustainable growth and the team at Social Impact Partners remains grateful for our continued partnership. 

As we look forward to the new year, it is with great appreciation that we continue to have the opportunity to bring our time, expertise, resources & networks to amplify the incredible work of  leaders like CRI in CT. Together, we are making strides towards building a thriving CT where all people have access to the opportunity to succeed!