Professional Development: Prepare Yourself for the Future

Woman showing YLAI logo (State Dept.)
(State Dept.)

Personal improvement is a major part of the entrepreneurial journey. If you’re just starting out and looking for helpful tips, take advantage of our free online courses through the YLAI Network website at https://ylai.state.gov/online-courses/.

Here are some recommendations for what you can do to work toward your personal improvement goals:

  1. Enhance your organizational skills. When you become more organized you increase your own effectiveness. You become more effective at completing tasks, managing your time, managing employees, handling problems and alleviating stress.
  2. Don’t procrastinate! Eliminating time constraints will help you reduce stress — which is beneficial to your growth as a leader — and increase your productivity. Just having a good idea isn’t enough. Separate yourself from those who have ideas and become someone who puts those ideas to work.
  3. Broaden your network. You never know who might be able to help you. Keep business cards with you at all times and take advantage of any relevant networking opportunities that come your way. Be familiar with your resume and be prepared to give a 30-second speech to any appropriate person outlining what you do and who you are.

The online resources available from the YLAI Network can be part of the steps you can take to increase your overall professional development.


“Dreams do come true, but not without the help of others, a good education, a strong work ethic, and the courage to lean in.”
— Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox Corp.


The YLAI Network offers its members and the general public access to an array of free online courses and training material. The courses offer multiple tips and strategies designed to inform you on how to take the next step in starting your business and/or how to grow in your job. These courses offer access to tailor-made training videos on leadership, business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management featuring U.S. university professors who are experts in their field from George Washington University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University and American University. The videos also include entrepreneurs, just like yourself, who expand on topics like developing a business model, creating a business plan and acquiring capital.

You can find the listing of courses available in English in this page: https://ylai.state.gov/online-courses/. In order to access the listing of courses in Spanish, click the dropdown arrow on the top right of the page, or click this link: https://ylai.state.gov/online-courses-es/. Courses currently available in English and Spanish are Management Strategies for People and Resources, Fundamentals of Business Expansion and Strategies for Personal Growth.

We are currently working toward offering more courses, and we look forward to providing you with the opportunity to take all the courses without any language barrier.

Upon successful completion of a course quiz you will receive a certificate like this one, available in either English or Spanish.

YLAI Online Course Certificate of Completion

For more information and tips for your professional development, visit the YLAI Network’s Tools & Resources page. Take the first step and become a YLAI Network member today at https://ylai.state.gov/network/.

Este artículo también está disponible en español.