I design instruction that gets people where they need to go. This kind of learning moves people to be ready to take action. It addresses all of the barriers holding them back, whether they be knowledge, tools, or confidence.

Watch this six-minute video to learn more about how I “aim for action” when creating learning tools and experiences. I tell the story of Frida trying to ascend Mt. Rainier. We explore the barriers holding her back, as well as the supports she will need along the way to be successful. Thinking about Frida helps us to understand what it will take for your people to do what you hope they will do.


This graphic explains at a very high level my design approach. Through a discovery process, we learn about our focus audience, what actions we want them to take, and what barriers are holding them back. We consider all of the different leverage points to move people to action: learning, a tool, coaching, etc. We build a curriculum and learning experiences that respond to how people learn and change.


Most of my instructional design has been on behalf of Washington Nonprofits. On the Washington Nonprofit Institute learning website you can see Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits, which abbreviates to FUN because we know people are often afraid of math and money. Boards in Gear is a collection of resources related to nonprofit boards. It abbreviates to BIG to underscore the LARGE role boards play in a nonprofits success. There’s Let’s Go Legal and Strategic Planning in Nonprofits.


Learning doesn’t always have to be serious. People who laugh together learn together. Here are three examples of ways we have employed fun to stir conversation:

  • Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits (FUN) BINGO! As it turns out, what every board member needs to know spells BINGO: Balance sheet, Income statement, 990 (N), Giving, and Oversight. Why not play BINGO to test knowledge!
  • Boards in Gear BOARD GAME. Get it? A board can practice what knows– and start important conversations while playing a board game.
  • Now what? card game. While creating the Starting a Nonprofit toolkit, we wanted to drive home the positive and negative events that can happen to any nonprofit. We worked with 3 Choices Communications to come up with a card game that invited conversation about risk and opportunity.