How To Get Your Boss To Invest In Your Professional Development

Secure The Bag 2019

Workin' Girl

When it comes to personal and professional development, there are two types of people: those who wait for it to happen and those who make it happen. Depending on the industry, the company you work for, the leadership, or your supervisor – these factors can determine how easy or difficult it will be to get support for your professional, and even personal, development.

Whether you're a full-time or part-time employee, managing a full-time career and a side hustle, or even if you're a full time entrepreneur, it's important to have a constant desire to improve, learn, and grow. Whether it's going back to school, attending a conference or workshop, purchasing a book, completing a training or certification, or finding a mentor – all of these ideas can benefit your professional and personal growth, and they can help open the door to new opportunities.

I've been in Corporate America for more than 10 years now as a marketing professional, while managing a side hustle as well for the last few years. I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to simply wait for others to do it for me. Instead, I have taken ownership of my professional development. I have found ways to get companies that I've worked for to invest in me by simply showcasing my experience, skills, value, and potential. Besides, as hard as you work for the company, why not get them to go to work for you on behalf of your professional development?

With that said, I want to share with you some of the elements you can put together and develop into a deck via Microsoft PowerPoint, Canva.com templates, Adobe Illustrator, etc. Keep in mind, where you lack in design skills, enlist the help of a friend who can help you lay it out in a creative and visually engaging way.

Think "business case" – something you can share or present to help get the company to invest in you and help you ultimately secure the bag.

1. Clearly state your objectives and goals. 

This includes your short-term and long-term goals, as well as professional and possibly personal goals (depending on how open-minded the company or your supervisor may be). This section should help answer questions like: what do you look to learn, what do you look to gain? Where do you want to be six months, a year, five years, or ten years from now? Are you asking to complete a course or attend a workshop or conference? Make it clear as to what it is that you're specifically asking for.

2. Showcase how dope you are. 

Most companies don't mind investing in people who have, in some way or another, contributed to the company through their talents, time, and/or tenure…just to name a few. So, it's important to highlight the things that make you stand out as a great employee, especially if you can show how you've directly or indirectly had an impact on the sales or savings of the company.

This is your time to shine, but not in a resume format; rather, in a more creative and engaging way using visual graphics and "smart art" (a useful tool in MS PowerPoint). Showcase your education, experience, past performance reviews/ratings, awards, and/or any other applicable talents and skills that they may not be aware of or may have forgotten about. Be sure to include any relevant personal accomplishments as well. Yes, you may already know that you're worth it, but it's important that you can show others why you're worth the investment.

3. Provide an overview of the professional development. 

Whether it's a program, certification, workshop, or conference - a one-page or one-slide summary of the program will help give the decision-makers more insight into the professional development. Include things like: total hours, registration dates, curriculum, agenda, location (virtual or in-person), and the cost. It's also important to include the new or additional skills and knowledge that will be obtained, professional awards or endorsements, and possibly a few reviews from past students.

There's no need to include every detail, but if you're able to show just how much is offered and at an affordable or reasonable price, it will help further show the cost-benefit value. Feel free to include a link to the site as well where they can research further if they're inclined to do so. Strive to leave no questions unanswered, but in a clear and concise way.

4. Share your plan for successfully completing the program. 

Make it clear and show how you will be able to balance and manage your time effectively between your work duties as well as the professional development, if necessary.

During my recent marketing certification, I was managing my nine-to-five, life as a wife, my side hustle, church ministry, the more than 250 hours of content that I had to learn, as well as the comprehensive tests I had to pass. I know friends who've attended graduate school, all while managing their part-time business and their life as a wife, mother, and so much more. Nevertheless, you may have to sacrifice some time away from social media or the television, remembering that short sacrifices yield long-lasting results.

5. Summarize the overall benefits and value for you as well as the company. 

In other words, you should be able to answer the question: how will helping you help the company? Will you obtain a unique set of skills that will make you stand out more? Is there a need that you can fulfill simply by completing the professional development? Will it make you a better all-around employee? What new ideas or enhancements will you learn that can possibly help improve your company's systems, processes, or overall productivity?

As a marketing professional, it's common for me to be on video, photo, and television shoots. Hence, it was fairly easy for me to get approval and funding for certain film/TV/writer/producer related workshops, conferences, and more. How? I was able to show how those workshops and trainings were directly related to my role and responsibilities, as well as how they would better equip me for current and future productions, and even my personal goals.

Maybe you have a future position or a promotion that you're working towards, and the skills acquired will prepare you for the new role. Sometimes, companies are merely impressed by the fact that you're able to look beyond today, and consider the plans for not only their future, but for your own future as well.

As they say, "do something today that your future self will thank you for later." Having a pool of talented and valuable employees not only makes them look good as a company, but it makes you look good too.

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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