When I was hired as the Executive Director for CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) Vancouver-Burnaby, I was charged with accomplishing a few key priorities, including working better with other local CMHA branches.
Formal collaboration had been discussed but was mostly stuck in the research and contemplation phase. An opportunity to bring the three local branches together presented itself through a growing fundraising event called Ride Don’t Hide. I used the event as a way to demonstrate that the local Branches could work together more closely. The Executive Directors had to meet regularly and negotiate an agreement on the often difficult subject of money. My hope was that if the branches could reach agreement on a topic as sensitive as money, they would learn how and if they could work together while building trust. The fundraiser also provided opportunities to build relationships between the boards.
Good morning everyone! Welcome to BOSS 2017! I am so delighted to see you all here at our 3rd annual BOSS conference: Building Organizational & Sector Sustainability.
Look at all the talent in this room. More importantly – look at all the potential in this room! Imagine what our organizations can accomplish if each of us had the opportunity to more fully develop our leadership. I’ll suggest this – improved stakeholder engagement, better staff engagement and retention, superior program outcomes, and increased financial sustainability. Ultimately, we would create stronger, healthier communities.
And what is what is required to unleash all this potential? Investment in time – we are busy and have multiple pressures and priorities. Investment in money – we are reluctant to spend money outside of critical programs or on overhead. Investment in commitment – to ongoing coaching and support and encouragement of each other. But if we made this investment, imagine what this will make possible for our sector?
More and more, BC not-for-profit organizations are looking to make a greater impact through their boards. Some groups want to go beyond the typical governance practices - such as monthly meetings, Robert’s Rules of Order, and the implied expectation that directors are fiscal managers. Recently, a group reached out to Vantage Point to ask how they could support and reflect indigenous cultural practices at the board level. There is also a rising awareness to support and reflect the diversity of our communities in our boards.
When you decide to provide feedback within your organization, chances are your intentions are pure. Maybe you see the potential to smooth a point of tension, or an opportunity for improvement. Bringing up a tough issue can be uncomfortable, so you make sure to plan your approach carefully. But somewhere between your good intentions, the awkward Tuesday meeting, and Wednesday at the microwave, things go awry.
The feedback sandwich has always been touted as the solution to this problem. It works like this; first, you provide positive feedback, then constructive criticism, then positive feedback again. “That’s DOUBLE the positive feedback!” you think to yourself job well done, and imagine your dazzling new life, free of conflict.
This month, we speak with Mark Gifford on how to successfully navigate the first 100 days of an executive director position. Listen in for pro-tips such as: bring baked goods to board meetings! Mark Gifford, Executive Director of Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, shares insights from his long career in the sector and his new adventure in the first 9 months of this role.
You wake up on the morning of Friday, October 13 (oh so scary!) and make your way downtown on a beautiful, sunny Vancouver day – okay, that might be a bit too fantastical… it’s most likely raining. But you are enjoying the view of the Vancouver skyline as you head towards downtown Vancouver to the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel for BOSS 2017! Is this your plan for October 13? Because BOSS is where I’ll be. Here at Vantage Point we have a motto for this event: Bigger, Better BOSS-ier. We are now on year three of BOSS and our team’s mantra is holding true. We’ve leveled up the speakers, leveled up the numbers, and leveled up our excitement.
I was 11 years old walking around the field of our elementary school, sharing my Walkman earbuds with a friend, listening to Axl Rose telling us we “need a little patience, yeah”. I’m sure my ability to demonstrate patience wasn’t all that impressive as a pre-teen about to start high school. Today, living on an island and now in the 40+ category with two little kids – patience isn’t so much a virtue as a necessity.
Podcast host, Maria Turnbull, engaged thousands of volunteers in her 20-year not-for-profit journey, while also serving as a volunteer herself. She has often considered what impacts a volunteer’s ability – and willingness – to lead, rather than follow. For this month’s podcast, Elijah van der Giessen, NetSquared Community Organizer, and TechSoup Global Community Manager joins Maria to talk about and share effective practices that support true volunteer leadership.
Imagine a community service organization with no explicit policy manual on customer communications. Yet somehow, whenever the phone rings or someone walks in the front door, whichever staff member is in the office stops what they’re doing to provide immediate assistance, regardless of that person’s role in the organization. How does this happen? How does a particular pattern of behaviour become consistent across a diverse team?