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Client Success Story:
Stacy Williams-Duncan

Stacy Williams-Duncan is a parish priest who shares her expertise in pedagogy, curriculum design, change management, and digital learning through Learning ForTE

Learning ForTE is a consulting company that works with theological schools, seminaries, and nonprofits to assist in the integration of change management, learning design, and educational technology.

They support organizations and individuals seeking to increase their capacity to offer formal and informal learning opportunities in hybrid and digital environments.

The Challenge

From the beginning, Stacy knew that she needed an extra hand to help and support her in the startup environment in which she found herself with Learning ForTE.

She met with a business coach, and he encouraged her to find someone to whom she could delegate tasks and pass off her systems.

“[I learned that I needed] to not spend energy having to set up the project so [my] assistant could do it,” Stacy reflects. “[I needed] to be able to say, ‘I don’t know how to do this; help me figure it out,’ and for them to carry more of that weight.”

That’s when Stacy turned to BELAY.

“I didn’t know how to find somebody, and it made a difference [to me] that BELAY had worked with congregations [because] while we may be a more traditional consulting company, our clients are not,” Stacy says. “I needed someone who would understand that environment.

“The conversation in that matching process helped me get clear about what I needed,” Stacy says. “What were the technology capacities I needed? What were the organizational pieces I needed? I forced myself to be really honest in those matchmaking conversations.”

This honesty from Stacy laid the groundwork for a match that led to a healthy work relationship and, ultimately, partnership with BELAY VA Alyssa McCormic.

The Solution

Alyssa immediately spotted a potential pain point with Stacy’s full calendar, and stepped in to help her protect her time — while working to maintain her ideal week. 

Because of the boundaries Alyssa has helped Stacy put in place around her calendar management, Stacy is taking a five-day vacation and leaving her computer at home.

“I’ve told my team to go to Alyssa if they need something while I’m gone. That’s a new boundary I’ve never held before,” Stacy admits. 

“I’ve never felt comfortable enough or safe enough [until now] about having people here to have my back or watch my email [while I take time off].”

But it was so much more than calendar management. 

Because although that is a key component in a successful work environment, trust and partnership are also important – and Alyssa boasted both.

She came with a background in ministry and was a great fit who was eager to get to know the other members of Stacy’s team and even take the lead on remembering birthdays and important dates to send a gift to her employees on Stacy’s behalf.

“Alyssa really understood that to be effective as my executive assistant, she had to be trusted by the rest of the team,” Stacy says. “She has invested time and energy into that in a beautiful way.”

“With the company being relatively young, part of me coming in has been helping to establish and create some systems,” Alyssa says. 

“We’ve established some systems for client contracting, I’m managing our monthly report processes, and [I’m] managing Stacy’s email, calendar and travel.”

The Results

“We’ve made a decision recently that Alyssa is going to be the front person of the contracting inquiry process,” Stacy remarks. “I was spending too much energy keeping other people’s work going, so I never had the time to think on a bigger level.

“Being able to pass off those pieces and [being able to] work closely together as we automated the process is important.”

“I remember weeks where I would look at Stacy’s calendar, and it was full from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Alyssa reflects. “It was just meetings. It wasn’t even the time she was supposed to spend doing stuff. 

“Being able to see some space on her calendar now — even if it’s just blocked off for work — [means] she’s not simply reacting to what is immediately in front of her, but either she’s resting because she’s able to take time off or she has more margin in her day.”


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