Leaving the Classroom 35: Day in the Life of a Non-Profit ID with Pamela Wynter

Dec 20, 2023

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

Leaving the Classroom 35: Day in the Life of a Non-Profit ID with Pamela Wynter

In this episode of Leaving the Classroom, host Kristi Oliva interviews Pamela Wynter about her experience transitioning from teaching to becoming an instructional designer at a nonprofit organization. Pamela discusses her background as a teacher and how she discovered IDOL Academy, deciding to make the transition out of the classroom. She describes her journey through the IDOL program and landing a job as a senior manager and instructional designer at the American Diabetes Association. Pamela also discusses her daily responsibilities in her remote role and how she applies skills from her teaching experience.

Tune in to hear:

- How Pamela committed fully to IDOL Academy, treating it like a full-time job to successfully transition out of teaching.
- The importance of networking on LinkedIn and putting yourself out there through consistent posting to attract opportunities aligned with your passions.
- Strategies Pamela uses from her teaching experience that serve her well in her new role, like organization, discipline, and flexibility.

 

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Kristi on LinkedIn

Connect with Pamela on LinkedIn

This podcast is sponsored by IDOL Courses and is the only authorized vocational school and implementation program of its kind that not only shows you exactly how to create your job application assets and build a portfolio from scratch, but also includes credentials, mentorship, expert coaching, and paid experience opportunities in corporate instructional design and online learning for life! Learn more about the program here.

 

Enjoy the podcast transcription:

Kristi Oliva  

Welcome to Leaving the Classroom. This is a podcast for teachers who are ready to transition out of the classroom and into a new career. Each week, I'll share stories about what I've learned moving from education to the corporate world. I'll answer the most common questions and share my best tips to help you get started. If you are considering leaving the classroom, this show is for you. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Leaving the Classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva and I'm so glad you are here. Today's topic is a day in the life of a nonprofit instructional designer and I have a special guest here to talk about it. So today I have with me Pamela Wynter, member of IDOL courses Academy and a nonprofit ID. Welcome, Pamela!

 

Pamela Wynter  

Thank you for having me. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

I'm so glad you're here. Oh my gosh, I can't wait to hear all about it. So for those of you listening Pamela shared right before we started recording that she landed her ID role and so we're gonna hear all about that today and her journey. So do you want to just tell me Pamela about your background? Like what kind of teacher were you? How long were you were a teacher and then how you found IDOL and made that transition, which we can't wait to get to.

 

Pamela Wynter  

Okay, so prior to this, I had had ten years in the classroom. I taught second grade, third grade, and fifth grade. And my most recent role was in fifth grade English language arts. I taught fifth grade English language arts, particularly with our English as a second language, or now called multilingual learners, arena. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Okay.

 

Pamela Wynter  

I had heard about IDOL in March. I actually had done the IDOL challenge and I realized I was like, Oh, this would be a really nice transition out of the classroom. This would give me the time and ability to have the work life balance while still being able to be in a creative space. And so when IDOL challenge finished, and they came out with a program in July, I definitely jumped on that.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Nice. And so then you joined IDOL courses Academy. When did you say that was?

 

Pamela Wynter  

July.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Okay, just in July. And so had you already decided, like, I'm not going back next year? Or were you... like, how did that go? Because I know some teachers, they're like, I quit and now I'm fire under my pants. Some people are like, I'm just gonna keep working and when I get the roll, that's when I'll jump. What was yours? 

 

Pamela Wynter  

Well, initially, I thought it would be a lot easier to make that jump over. So during the summer, I was already looking for jobs, while in the midst of IDOL. One of the things that I did realize was that the job market had changed remarkably, from the early ages of the pandemic of 2020, 2021, currently turning 23, where it was a lot more competitive. And a lot of companies weren't really looking to give positions that were remote. So competition for those types of roles definitely increased.

 

Kristi Oliva  

That is so true and I think that's continuing right now. A lot of people are looking for those remote roles. And there... It feels like they're more hybrid or more in person, now. I don't mind the hybrid, though. I gotta be honest. Okay, so you joined in July. I mean, it's only November, honestly, even if you were transitioning right this second, that is a really quick transition so you did really well. So tell me about like, what was your time commitment each week? I think people are gonna want to know, like, how much work did you spend in that time to transition.



As a teacher, you know, I was already offered the summer. And so I committed to this, like it was a full time job. So I'd wake up in the morning, and I did it as like an eight to four type situation, of course, and I gave myself lunch breaks and stretch breaks. And I pretty much work four instead of the five days, and then I did a three day off type thing so that I could get through a lot of my content and a lot of it I was already familiar with.

 

Kristi Oliva  

That is... I like that strategy. Obviously, it worked for you but I think it's easy to just like approach it from a part time perspective. But I love that you did that because I think it probably also prepared you for the role. You were deep in it like it was your job. And so then you were just able to transition smoothly into it. Do you want to tell us where you work or anything like that? Are you free to share?



I am free to share. So right now I work for the American Diabetes Association and I'm loving it.

 

Kristi Oliva  

That's a huge success. That's a huge nonprofit. That's not just like... that is a legit… like we all know about this nonprofit. Good for you. Amazing. 

 

Pamela Wynter  

Thank you. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Oh my gosh. Okay, so your role, your title is instructional designer. Is that correct?



Pamela Wynter

It is actually the senior manager so I have IDs that work under me.

 

Kristi Oliva  

What!? Pamela.

 

Pamela Wynter  

I go through and I'm the editor. I know it's crazy. It is so crazy. But I'm definitely… I will say the fight for impostor syndrome is real sometimes. But yeah...

 

Kristi Oliva  

I have come to realize that that's never gonna stop. And I think that that has to be your comfort level is just, every time I go to a new level... like that, new levels, new devils. Have you ever heard that phrase before? 

 

Pamela Wynter  

Yeah.

 

Kristi Oliva  

That's what it is like, you know, I took this new program manager position, and now I'm feeling super scared all the time. When it's like, I know I can do it but honestly, I just told myself that and it calms me. Where it's like, yep, don't know, expected that. You know what I mean?

 

Pamela Wynter  

But it's also kind of reaching out to your team and saying, Hey, I do bring a level of expertise. But I am also new to this particular aspect. What are your ideas? What are your thoughts because there is something so humbling about coming in with the perspective of I am still here to grow, versus I'm here to know and kind of Lord over you.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Hmmm... that's, I mean... I think that's not even just for teachers or people in corporate, for all managers out there. I know somebody who's dealing with that exact thing, exactly. A micromanaging, lording over manager, not fun at all. So I wanted to ask you too on that. Let's riff on that a little bit where you said that, you know, you come in with this imposter syndrome. Are you feeling like you have the appropriate support? I mean, I would guess that it sounds like you are because you don't seem like you're overwhelmed, you're just happy. Cuz I think that's one of teachers biggest fears is entering in, and they're just like, I'm not going to know what I'm doing. And I know, I felt that too where I was like, they're just going to find out I didn't know anything and fire me. So can you give me your perspective on like, that, that doesn't really happen. That's not really how it goes?

 

Pamela Wynter  

Oh, no, there are times where I'm just like, Am I okay? Did I really get this job? But really, and truly, it comes from a confidence within. You have to build that confidence and the only way to build that confidence is to constantly work at it. And so my thing is a constant everyday, if you build it into a habit of I'm constantly learning, I'm constantly growing. You're reaching out and you're exchanging ideas with other people within your field. They come to look at you as an equal and you come to realize that you do bring talents and gifts and unique perspectives that can aid your company or your organization.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Yeah, and one thing I've learned too, is it doesn't matter, like even if somebody held your exact role in another company, they're still going to come on and have a lot to learn. And I think we discount that as teachers, we just think you're supposed to just go in and just get it because teachers kind of have to do that. If you switch districts, they're not doing it that much different, you just fit right in. And so I think we've been programmed, of like, that's how it's supposed to go when really, it's not. Like I... 

 

Pamela Wynter  

It's learning curves. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Yeah, like I'm in a new role, but it's still a program manager role. It's still at Amazon. And yet, they're still just like, take your time, get onboarded, get to know our part of the business. And so I want to just say that for all the teachers out there, like they're... A good company is going to wrap their arms around you and make sure that you feel led well into that process of getting to know the company in the new role. So I think hopefully, that'll help some people who... I still struggle with that. It's hard to onboard to a new company. So I know there's no like typical days for an ID, right? Every day is so different, and you're still pretty new to the company but I'd love to hear more about like what you've encountered so far. What does your daily, weekly, monthly life look like? Whatever that is for you. And are you remote?

 

Pamela Wynter  

I am remote.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Okay. All right. So go ahead and tell us about that. What does that look like for you?

 

Pamela Wynter  

Okay, so normally this looks like... on a daily basis, I tend to wake up, I'm an early bird. So most of my heavy lifting is done early in the morning from that normally eight to nine o'clock. I like to do emails, respond to anybody, look at my to do list. I do create my to-do list on Trello. Definitely IDOL, they got me hooked on Trello. So I kind of go through that. I see where I need to contact. What are my meetings looking like for the day? Staying abreast of course on the topic at hand, which we are in November. So it's American Diabetes Awareness Month. So with that comes watching social media. So part of my day is I look at social media, what am I seeing? What's trending? What are the new topics and technologies because those oftentimes are used, you know, within our meetings. And then also taking some time, of course I schedule my meetings normally between an 11-2 window. Of course, you know, life isn't perfect. Sometimes it's going to be up until four or five. When I close out my day I try to make sure all the three major things on my list that I had to do, done for the day and then there's anything that I need to tie up and wrap up for the next day. Normally if I message I send afternoon emails between 430-5. But because I am one of those people who I know what teacher life was like and you constantly wanting to work after hours. What I do to kind of alleviate my partners or my teammates is I will actually schedule the email to be sent out the next day. To avoid them feeling like, Oh, it's 430 and she said this, and I have to get it done. So I just go ahead and I schedule everything out for that next morning for them to start their days off.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Such a good manager already, Pamela. So nice. Oh, my gosh. So I have a couple questions. So tell me about like what types of projects your team works on.

 

Pamela Wynter  

So right now, I am a lead on two different projects, I can't say necessarily too much. But a lot of it is collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, and looking at different and new technologies that are coming out within the diabetes space.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Okay, and then you just educate customers, like who's your customer base? Is it internal customers, external customers?

 

Pamela Wynter  

External. So it could be consumer facing as in your actual clientele but then also a lot of your pharmaceutical companies and your health care professionals. So it is going from having very complex type wording within the infographic to something that's very basic and simple for things such... marketed towards your parents or to younger children.

 

Kristi Oliva  

So I think a lot of teachers are gonna be thinking, but I don't have any medical background, like they're gonna assume you have medical background. So can we just get that out of the way? I don't know if that's true or not. Doesn't sound like it but how did you get a job with ACA, if you don't have medical background? Come on, tell us about it.

 

Pamela Wynter  

The thing is you have people who that's their area, that's gonna be their forte, but what they don't understand and what they don't know necessarily how to do is how do I take that medical jargon and make it relevant? How do I fit all that into an infographic without overwhelming the reader? So currently, yes, if I was to read a medical document, about three wines in I'm going to be like, okay, and I'm going to put it down. But what can I do? What can I create? What can I assist in creating, that would allow somebody to want to sit down and actually read it? It's not a narrative fiction book that's going to grab your attention but the elements of storytelling is still in there. There's still a problem. There's still a way that we're working for a solution. And that crafting of a story is where I have my expertise and forte, that the medical jargon necessarily wouldn't. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

I mean, that's exactly what ID is, isn't it? Like you're not supposed to be the subject matter expert. You just take all the difficult stuff that they give you and simplify it. I love that. Well, thank you for sharing that because I think I thought that as well, is that, if somebody had a job in nonprofit or in the medical industry or in the government industry that I was like, they must have already had something that helped them. And I'm sure even the application you filled out, the job requisition, may have even said medical background preferred, or something. I'm not saying it did but you'll see that a lot. And I mean, I don't know, did you let that discourage you at all? How did you... How did you approach this job, particularly without letting that faze you?

 

Pamela Wynter  

So I'm one of those 80% threshold people. And what that means is if 80% of that job description applies to me and I can do it pretty well, then I'm going to go ahead and apply for the job. The other 20% can be learned to be honest with you. And in looking at statistics we already know, as women, most of us tend to shy away unless we've met every little tick on that checklist. But oftentimes what I'm discovering, especially in interviews, that some of these are nice to haves, whereas when we read it, we read it as we need to have. And so I think that's one of the things that really helped me to stand out. I knew that I was strong with project management, I knew I was strong with ID, those are my Forte's. I have the ability to break content down, not only to children, but to people whose English is not their first language. And so with that, I understand that within our organization, diabetes has no discriminatory factors. It gets anybody from any culture with any language and with that comes my uniqueness and my talent and my ability to reach the masses with a language that's easy to understand. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

I love that. Pamela, I'm so excited for you. This is so great. Oh my gosh. 

 

Pamela Wynter  

Thank you.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Oh my gosh. Can you tell me more about the actual application process? You just went through all this, the interview process. This tends to stress people out too. What did that look like? What was the timeframe and all that?

 

Pamela Wynter  

So interestingly enough, I had gotten into the habit of trying to post some content on LinkedIn. So I was actually reached out to by a recruiter prior to actually applying for the job where she said, Hey, one of your friends actually liked your content and it showed up on my feed. I looked at your profile. It looks really impressive. Would you mind having the conversation? One thing I would say is never decline a conversation. A conversation is a conversation and nine times out of 10 in talking and listening to the projects that would be involved, day to day tasks, I realized that that meshed with not only my skills and abilities, but my passion. And so what ended up happening is, when I create the content, I created content that aligned to my passion. And therefore it attracted people who had job opportunities that also aligned to my passion. And from there, I went ahead and I applied for the position after speaking with the recruiter. I had one interview, and then a second one, and then finally was offered the position. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Oh my gosh, Pamela, I'm so, I'm just so thrilled for you because you've always just been such a positive presence in my mentor groups and stuff, and so helpful to others. And so I think it just makes sense to me that you just got this wonderfully perfect role for you. It makes me tear up. It's so amazing. Congratulations. I'm so happy for you. 

 

Pamela Wynter  

Thank you.

 

Kristi Oliva  

So if somebody was searching out jobs like yours... Where were you doing that? Where can somebody find a job like that?

 

Pamela Wynter  

I definitely say LinkedIn. I am... half and half. So I am… look on LinkedIn, of course for your ID roles and things like that but also use LinkedIn for a networking service. So start finding your niche. That was the biggest thing that assisted me in kind of pivoting out of education. So looking in, ID is such a big world. So to say, just looking at every ID role would overwhelm you. And to be honest with you, the month of October, I took a social media break. Because in going through in the constant... the applying for a job, and interviewing, and having multiple interviews, it got tiresome. So definitely building that tribe on LinkedIn and then yes, you can search roles but this is what I would say. Look at commonalities that you're seeing amongst these roles and make sure that the companies that you're looking at, are actually companies whose values align to yours. Because that's going to be really important. And to me that compensates for the actual pay, because some of these companies will pay a lot more. But what comes with that? Those are things that you kind of really have to weigh out. Which is why I am a really big fan of, find a company that fits your passion, that fits your belief and value system. And let that be one of those companies that you follow, start making friends, or associates, networking with people within those companies, because oftentimes, they find out about positions long before it's ever posted on LinkedIn.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Yeah that's so true and I love how you mentioned networking, because you did get a job by networking, but it wasn't what we think of as networking. Like, oh, you reached out to the recruiter, or you knew the recruiter or you knew somebody that worked there. No, it was literally you've been networking and somebody that is in your network liked a post, which then makes you, in turn, because you're their friend show up in searches or other things. Yeah, it's really cool how that works. That's what I love about LinkedIn. And I'm sure it's that way with all social media. But for LinkedIn, we can use it to our advantage.

 

Pamela Wynter  

Definitely use it.

 

Kristi Oliva  

And land that role. 

 

Pamela Wynter  

Another thing I will say, the creating of content. So remember how we have our Do It Messy Challenge, right? The concept is, put yourself out there, start posting things that you're passionate about and that's what I did. So, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, my goal was to be on LinkedIn. Those were my top three days, simply because looking at data and analytics, those tend to be your busiest days. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So Monday, I would create a cute little Canva infographic. It might be something that's thought provoking that deals on a topic that interests me. And then Wednesday, I would take some time to kind of comment on some of the other IDs, posts that I saw. Making sure that you're interacting with those people within your niche. And then Friday, I would take time to kind of go through and see let me look at some jobs here, there and everywhere. You don't want this to be your full time job, because trust me it gets hectic really fast. And if you go to the point of where you're saying every single day, I'm applying for all of these jobs, by the end of the month, you're burnt out. So I did Monday, content creation and release. Tuesday, interaction with other people on other peoples pages looking under comments of some of your top ID people. Sometimes they don't necessarily interact back with you, but their followers interact with you. And after they've started seeing that you've liked them, you've interacted with their stuff a couple of times, you'll also start popping up. You can probably send a little connection. And that's how you kind of gain your followers that are within your niche. And then just being positive.

 

Kristi Oliva  

I love that which you definitely are and don't... Pamela, you need to be like an IDOL mentor or something. I gotta be honest. I hope you consider that but I think what I'm getting out of this is you were so successful in such a short period of time, because you were organized and you had a plan and then you worked your ass off. I mean, that's really what it is. You had a plan and you executed and it worked for you.

Pamela Wynter  

But one thing I think I have to say... Go by discipline, don't go by motivation. Because there were days and I'm not gonna lie to you, I woke up and I was like, I don't really feel like posting. I don't really feel like messaging, Ooo I overslept. I could just wait for tomorrow. But that consistency in addition with the algorithm, working off of discipline versus motivation, motivation will wax and wane like the moon. Discipline, and that consistency will get you where even sometimes talent won't.

 

Kristi Oliva  

I love that you say that because... and I think that's why again, you organize. You set a schedule, you set, this is what I'm doing on Mondays. And that's the difference between people who are like, I'm gonna do something every day, but they didn't set the hours they're gonna do it. They didn't say how many, like, you have to make it tangible, where you know, you were able to check it off that day. And so I think, again, that's part of your success. I mean, I don't want to speak for you but it just feels that way. That you were super intentional about your time, how you were spending your time, and how that was going to contribute to your goal. And then it worked. So there it is. Okay.

 

Kristi Oliva  

If you had to pick three skills or more, just give me a couple of skills that you took with you, your teacher skills, that are now just serving you well, or that you see are going to serve you well as you continue in this role.

 

Pamela Wynter  

Definitely.

 

Pamela Wynter  

Organization, number one. Teachers, we are kings and queens of organization. So that's definitely one that works. Another one, discipline. Understanding that this job is not going to be something that overnight you're just going to be amazing at. And we tell our students that. We don't expect you to be amazing the first time you try something, but it's that consistency and building, you want to look for that progress versus necessarily achievement. So as long as you're going through and you're making gains, you're going to be fine. And taking that mentality and attitude was definitely one that'll help on days where it feels kind of hard. And then I think my last skill would be flexibility. Because as a teacher, you know, we wake up one day, and we have our game plan and fire drill, Umm parent-teacher conferences, like so many things pop up.

 

Kristi Oliva  

Phone call to the classroom. 

 

Pamela Wynter  

So you have to really learn how to be flexible, take things in stride, don't take yourself too seriously. Own up when you make a mistake and find a way to correct it. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Those are great ones. I think autonomy, that flexibility... and not autonomy, what? Like where you just don't know what's going to happen next. I think you need that in the corporate world, I'm sure the nonprofit... just the business world. And I don't think we realize that we have that as teachers. We are able to just adapt and just be like, Okay, you want me to drop that project I just worked on for a week. All right. I mean, we're able to do it, because we've had to do it so many times. 

 

Pamela Wynter  

So many times, where we've been working on something we're like, Okay, we're almost done. And the boss comes to you and says, Hey, change your plans, we are now working with this project. You can do it. You have to shift that mindframe because a lot of this is going to seem a lot... very similar to what you do.

 

Kristi Oliva  

The difference is though the respect for me, I mean, I know that it can vary from company to company, but there's the respect with your time, respect professionally, that you're just going to get your work done. Respect... at least at my company, again, you know, I've been having conversations on LinkedIn lately of other corporations that do check. And again, I know somebody personally right now that, like if their Microsoft Teams goes to yellow, they're immediately getting a ping, like what's going on? And it's like, dang, you know, but I do think that overarchingly, we have more opportunities as teachers to not have that anymore, outside of the classroom.

 

Pamela Wynter  

Mm Hmm. Definitely. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Well, Pamela, I gotta tell you, I think so many people are going to be so interested in your story and really want to reach out to you and get advice. So what is the best way for people to do that?

 

Pamela Wynter  

Best way to contact me definitely is my LinkedIn page. I definitely do check that quite frequently. I am going back now into December, I'm gonna go back into posting content. Just because you know, I have to keep my feet wet and kind of further challenge myself. A lot of new changes have happened with a lot of the programs that we use. Be it Canva, new things are popping up every month. And so to stay abreast on all of that, I definitely believe in just practicing. Practicing tinkering, however you call it, with your platforms, because that's honestly the way how you get better.

 

Kristi Oliva  

So true. Well, Pamela, I'm just so thrilled for you and so thrilled that you were able to come today. Thank you so much for coming, and I'm sure we'll be in touch but I can't wait. I can't wait to see what's next for you. 

 

Pamela Wynter  

Thank you so much. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

Do you want to leave the classroom and become an ID like Pamela? Well, at IDOL courses Academy we help you build your professional portfolio, revise your resume, prepare for interviews and give you valuable feedback on what you design. Sign up for IDOL courses Academy using my code classroom100 And get $100 off enrollment. It's time to take control and make the career change that will change your life. It changed mine. See you next time. 

 

Kristi Oliva  

That's all for this episode, but you can find more at idolcourses.com or subscribe to the podcast. And if you are ready to leave the classroom, use my code classroom100 And get $100 off enrollment to IDOL courses Academy.

 

 

 

 

Send your stories or your questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram  @leavingtheclassroom.

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