Grant Trainers – Who’s the Expert?

Years ago, the Grant Professionals Association started the Conference Navigators Program as part of their annual conference. They pair regular attendees with first-timers a month or two before the conference. Conference navigators typically email first-timers before the event, sharing advice, and offering to answer any questions. I always warn to dress in layers that can overcome fluctuating room temperatures; bring comfortable shoes; participate in one or two of the social activities; and make a new friend. Inevitably, someone will ask how to determine which workshop to attend because there are so many. My advice is always the same: sometimes it’s not the topic but the speaker who makes for the best workshop. And then, I’ll proceed to share names of classic “can’t miss” individuals.


Honestly, it’s how I always pick what webinars and other professional development activities I attend. You could attend a session on the same topic year after year, but you’ll learn the most from the most engaging individual. These are the speakers who share hard-won insights and tips. They balance the knowledge they impart with stories and anecdotes that bring the information to life. They share handouts and resources. They answer all your questions. They make you feel something about the topic. Are you already thinking about the one trainer who made a complicated, new, or downright boring topic come to life simply because of their presentation style?


When Kimberly and I decided on federal in-direct costs as one of the topics we wanted to present on this season of the podcast, we wanted an expert to take on this complex subject.  It was a no brainer to ask Karen Norris, Principal and Subject Matter Expert at Kanoco, to join us. We both had the pleasure of attending many of her workshops at previous GPA conferences, including one on in-direct rates.


I knew she would be knowledgeable, but I had almost forgotten how well she boils a complex topic into simple, manageable bites. And it’s no wonder: she’s a former educator in the public school system. She knows how to teach and teaches well. So whether you are a subject matter expert in in-direct costs or know nothing about the topic, I highly recommend you take a listen:…-in-direct-costs/.


I’m curious. When I asked you if you were thinking about that standout trainer, who did you think of? What was the subject? Share your favorites in the comments. Let’s create a list of quality grant training opportunities for this fabulous community of ours. I love hearing from other grant professionals about the can’t-miss educational opportunities I should check out for myself.


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