Janet Levinger, Social Impact Leader

Janet Levinger (9)

I want to create opportunity through engagement, advocacy, and philanthropy. I support and consult with organizations, boards, and people who live these issues. I advocate for systemic and structural changes. I connect people who can catalyze each other. I try not to tell experts how to do things when they know better. But I will share my expertise when it will help.

I have served on 17 boards over the past 25 years. I have been board chair of five of them.

More specific information on LinkedIn.

I want to acknowledge that the land I am on was the land of the Coastal Salish people.

About Leading Well

I came up with the idea for this blog after I resigned from a board in complete frustration. I shared the story with some friends at dinner one night – which was very cathartic. We were an involved group. Everyone had served on many boards. Everyone had a story – or two or three. We shared our stories. We all felt much better.

“Awesome,” I said, “Getting it out is great. But what are the lessons learned? We all want to be good leaders. We all want to do good. How can we do it better next time?”

There are lots of web sites, consultants, and books that tell you how to be a good board member. Check lists are great. But the stories make you understand why you need the check list in the first place. So I am researching and sharing stories.

I interviewed dozens of people from all over the country. I asked them to share stories about board service, and most importantly, what lessons they learned. Most had served on multiple boards. A couple had served on more than a dozen! I have a lot of stories to choose from and I’m just getting started. This blog is from the perspective of mostly nonprofit board leaders, not staff.  These are people who are volunteering their time – and typically their financial resources as well – who want to lead well and serve the community.

I interviewed dozens of people from all over the country. I repeated that on purpose because I know some will say, “I know exactly which organization you are talking about.” Unlikely. What you can say is that you know an organization with a similar situation. The stories and lessons are universal — because they deal with people.

I’m telling the stories in the first person, as they were told to me. So “I” is not Janet in these stories.

If you like these stories, share them. If you have a story with a lesson learned, contact me.  I’d like to learn your story and share your learnings with others. If you have a strategy or suggestion, please add a comment – let’s make this a discussion. How can we all Do Good Better? How can we turn every board into a great board?  I don’t have the answers. But our collective wisdom might lead us there.