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Leila is an ebullient and engaging personality, honest and direct. We had an enjoyable lunch where I learned about her childhood and the seeds of her entrepreneurial spirit. 

She grew up in Capetown, South Africa where, in the 1950’s, her aunt and mother founded the well-known Maynardville Park Open Air Theatre. Leila inherited their can-do attitude, sheer resilience, and marketing flair.  

Leila assumes every challenge can be overcome and she draws on her energy and stubborn nature to achieve it. She knows when something must be done, and goes ahead and does it regardless if she has done it...

Some years ago I was going through a tough time personally and discovered the practice of gratitude. This involved intentionally writing in a journal what I was grateful for every day, and re-reading it every morning. I listed many things, from the mundane - “it was sunny today” to the emotional - “I am grateful for the love of my family.” I found that this deliberate focus on the positive improved my outlook and I felt happier. <--break->

I know that many of us in the not-for-profit sector can struggle with the enormity of the challenges facing us and the issues we are trying to solve. At times, our...

In July, I discussed the complicated marriage of operations and governance for a board without paid staff and how a consent agenda can help maximize your board meetings. This week, I offer some tips and tricks for achieving this balance and ensuring the important work of governance does not get mired in the detail of operations. 

Mitch Dorger discussed this topic in an edition of Nonprofit Quarterly, outlining five possibilities for balancing these two important functions:

  1. Divide the board into governance and operational committees
  2. Develop specific job descriptions for each of two boards – a...

In a blog post last October, our Associate Executive Director Maria Turnbull highlighted the importance of building your board with ‘forest thinkers’. These individuals naturally focus on high level strategic direction, mission, relevance and values – rather than on operational details. 

Forest thinkers create an atmosphere that is conducive to governing, strategizing, and visioning; which are key activities for your board to perform effectively. A critical dimension to effective governance is inspiring these activities, and your forest thinkers, during board meetings. 

To inspire strategic...

 

Leader: Jennifer Breakspear

Organization: Options for Sexual Health    

Tenure: Two years

Leadership or life motto: Make a difference

Upcoming projects/challenges:  Acquiring her Certified Association Executive designation

Anyone who spends time with Jennifer can see she is incredibly smart, is not afraid to speak her mind, and is a champion for justice and equity. Jennifer has a fascinating and diverse background, but look behind the curtains and a common theme emerges –a dedication to the dignity of humans and a passion for fighting for our rights – political, health, sexual, gender. 

Like many...

“Cheryle is an incredible facilitator who can skillfully bring out enriched discussion from the group. Her extensive experience in the sector, her passion and her genuine curiosity really set her apart.”

Cheryle Beaumont first brought her time and talent to Vantage Point’s Governance Lab in 2012, after a long career in public education. Joining us as the facilitator for Governance Lab, Cheryle advised on the program’s content and approach, delivered the program curriculum and facilitated the shared learning experience among executive directors, board chairs and vice chairs. When asked why she...

“Charlene is thoughtful, and has a solid understanding of the not-for-profit sector.  Her passion for collaborative environments and ability to synthesize complex information are what excite me most about welcoming her to our team of facilitators.”

When Charlene Dy Syyong stumbled across the role description for Vantage Point’s Customized Board Governance Facilitator, she couldn’t believe a volunteer position could encapsulate so many of her favourite things. “I have personal expertise in board governance and I really feel I come alive when I facilitate. I wanted to do more facilitation and...

“Meetings with Glen always involved lots of laughs, and often, Timbits. Glen is a fantastic combination of creativity, strategic thinking and marketing acumen. We’re so lucky to have someone so talented and dynamic as part of our team.”

Glen Jessup has spent the past 10 years as “Head Marketing Guy” (and official taster!) for Sleeman Breweries. Having recently taken a career break to focus on personal development, including a search for a volunteer opportunity, Glen landed at Vantage Point from a simple Google search.

When Glen approached us with his skill set, Vantage Point was about to...

“Martha has an infectious energy and is a joy to be around. She has an amazing ability to draw the best out of people, and challenge their thinking in a creative way.”

Martha Sales is an Executive Coach who first brought her time and talent to Vantage Point’s Executive Lab in 2012, providing coaching and development to the team of seasoned executive director mentors. Coming to us via referral from another knowledge philanthropist, Martha joined Vantage Point because it offered her the opportunity to connect her values of volunteering, community building and leadership development.

Since then...

I had the most delightful conversation with Dick Vollet over lunch in March. A man with an interesting career (London Drugs, VANOC, and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation), uncompromising values, and sense of humour, Dick is an inspiring leader. 

Growing up, Dick wanted to be a professional skier. His career took a different path, but Dick often draws on his experiences in sport to find parallels in his approach to leadership.  

Dick was more attracted to individual rather than team sports because individual sports demand accountability – a value that has translated well to his role as a CEO. He...

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