For Success, Pay Attention After You Hire the ED

I received feedback from quite a few readers after posting my last story about selecting a new CEO or ED. One reader said that before selecting a new CEO, it is important to have some foundational aspects in order, specifically: The board is clear about its role and about the difference between governance and service. Board and staff are aligned around a strategic plan. The board has an emergency plan if the ED is not able to continue to serve. The board focuses on professional development and meets frequently with the ED to discuss progress toward the strategic plan as… Read more

Be Intentional About Connections and Culture

I spoke to an ED of an organization in the mental health field. They reflected on the past year and some intentional actions that were taken to create connections and trust between board members so that hard decisions could be made. They also spoke of the impact of DEI training and that they are looking forward embracing advocacy. During COVID, ED Leans Into Board for Support We have a big board – 30 people. We are in the mental health field. Reflecting on the past year and more, I would say that I have leaned into the board in ways… Read more

Nonprofit Boards Are Guardians of Precious Community Assets

As told by a nonprofit CEO somewhere in the US I had a great conversation with the CEO of a nonprofit about managing through crises – as we all have been doing this past year. He talked about trust and honest communication. He listens to his board and communicates frequently and openly. He understands that boards ask hard questions because they are stewards of a precious community asset. But that also means they have to understand the clients they serve. Trust Is Key to Managing Through Crises A little background. Our organization is over 70 years old with about 225… Read more

Protests and COVID Will Change Nonprofits Forever

In this story, I talk to a long-time corporate executive who joined several boards after retiring. He reflects on how last year’s protests have advanced his journey around understanding bias and the need of board members to champion social justice and systems change — because the system treats people differently. He also discusses how he thinks COVID will change nonprofit boards in the future. Every Board Needs to Stand up for Social Justice Told by a board member somewhere in the US. I was in the corporate world for a long time and served on many corporate boards. When I… Read more

Racial Equity and Antiracism Live in Our Missional Work

For this post, I spoke to a CEO who started just before we all went into COVID lockdown. Being new, her board asked for regular reports on her activities which became even more important once COVID hit. She realized that board members cannot truly appreciate the importance of equity and antiracism if they don’t understand the day-to-day work of the organization. She also observed that holding meetings online became an equalizer for a diverse board. CEO Reports Leads Board to Better Understanding of Equity As told by a CEO somewhere in the US I was Chief Program Officer before I… Read more