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2023 PDC Strategic Plan

The PDC uses a dynamic real-time model for its strategic planning to maximize the frequency of focused discussion on the organization’s strategic priorities among the Board of Directors and other key leadership.  Informed by past strategic plans, input from PDC’s committees, and feedback from PDC members, the Board of Directors sets aside significant time annually every July for strategic planning and every January for a mid-year check-in on those priorities, along with designating time at its monthly Board meetings for the implementation of strategic goals.  Additionally, the PDC’s strategic goals are included as a key part of the annual PDC Member Meeting and are shared with each of our standing committees to align everyone’s collective efforts.

The PDC’s current strategic goals focus in three key areas:

1. DEIB and social impact

The PDC takes seriously its ability to positively effect change for both Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging and social impact within our profession and beyond.  In 2023, the PDC launched the first-ever cohort of the VIBES program, hosted a Winter Certificate program on Inclusive Leadership, and has worked to include social impact initiatives in its marquee summer conference.  In 2022, the PDC created the Diverse Vendor Showcase and continued offering DEIB-focused training in multiple webinars.  To amplify new expert voices, the Programming Committee introduced term limits for our Trusted Advisors program to make space for new advisors and created the Trusted Advisors Alumni designation to retain our connections with top-caliber collaborators.  In 2021, the PDC elevated our DEIB working group to an official standing committee and adopted a charter set of goals for that committee.  We also adopted a more explicit checkpoint on conference RFPs to recognize and promote first-time conference presenters, helping bring new voices into the conversation and lifting up different perspectives.  We tested a pilot program on social impact called the PDC Volunteer Corps as well.  In 2020, the PDC began making philanthropic donations to key nonprofit initiatives aligned with social impact in the legal space, a commitment that continues to this day.

2. Member engagement

In 2023, the PDC announced a streamlined membership structure to heighten inclusivity and better serve our members.  Membership applications are reviewed by our Membership Committee, which meets regularly to create new methods of member service and engagement.  The Board sends a monthly email summary to the entire PDC membership with information about PDC programming, current events, and opportunities for involvement.  Our summer conference includes an orientation for new members and information about how they can make the most of PDC membership.  As of 2023, we also offer our annual Member Meeting in a virtual format to facilitate our members’ ability to attend.  In the past year, the PDC has implemented several new initiatives designed to increase member engagement, including a new system for welcome and orienting new members, a welcome video, and a robust schedule of webinars and opportunities for virtual engagement.  In 2022, we introduced the Recommended Reading List on our website and in 2021 we archived materials from past conferences for members’ ongoing education and reference.  PDC members actively use the member listserv through PDC Connect for ideas, recommendations, and collaborations with fellow members, and in 2022 our Innovation and Technology committee began publicizing statistics about PDC Connect activity to highlight our most active listserv topics and contributors.

3. Organization visibility and strategic partnerships

As the preeminent organization for people in the legal professional development space, the PDC works to provide a voice for our profession and to amplify the reach of its members.  In 2022 we introduced a new prospectus for PDC sponsors and potential sponsors to showcase opportunities to partner with our organization in person, online, and through special projects.  In 2021, upon our return to in-person events, we hosted the Winter Meetup in Washington, D.C. for our members.  The PDC continues to explore and develop existing and potential strategic partnership with other nonprofits, service providers, and individuals through our VIBES program, the Winter Certificate program, and pilot initiatives in our social impact efforts.  The PDC also maintains a collaborative partnership with the National Association of Law Placement (NALP) for the Professional Development Institute conference.  We continue to recognize excellence in our field through the Richard Pearson Award, which has been offered and promoted each year since 2014.

The cornerstones of our ability to implement our strategic goals are corporate governance and fiscal stewardship.  As a growing organization, the PDC has also prioritized putting into place systems and processes that will serve the organization best, maintain fidelity to our mission, and preserve our status as the leading legal professional development association in the United States and Canada.  These efforts are directly tied to the PDC’s strategic plan and goals. 

Corporate Governance

The PDC is governed by its Board of Directors, which currently includes 11 members and meets monthly.  The Board oversees the work of the PDC’s professional staff and its all-volunteer committees and provides strategic direction to the organization.  The PDC has adopted important policies and practices to guide its decision-making, including its bylaws, the PDC Policy Manual, and standard operating procedures to ensure transparency to our members and the public.  The PDC Policy Manual, adopted in its first iteration in 2022, helped the organization centralize and formalize important items including its Conflict of Interest Policy, Whistleblower Policy, Document Retention Policy, Investment Policy, succession plan, and protocol for in-person events including health and safety guidelines, code of conduct, and emergency preparedness.  The Board also revised and updated the organization’s bylaws in 2022.  As discussed above, the Board regularly devotes time to the implementation of our strategic plan.    

Fiscal Stewardship

On the financial front, the PDC Board of Directors has committed to aligning expected revenue and proposed expenditures each fiscal year for a balanced budget.  PDC officers and professional staff regularly review actual expenditures as compared with projections to help the organization stay on course throughout the year.  Since 2016, the PDC has had a financial reserve in place to provide financial stability, which is governed by our Investment Policy, managed by investment professionals, and reviewed regularly by the PDC Board of Directors.


Prior to 2021, the PDC engaged in strategic planning on a periodic basis.  Archived copies of previous strategic plans are maintained in the organization’s records.