In celebration of National Indigenous History Month, Vantage Point reached out to a governance expert for her thoughts about not-for-profits and Indigenous governance. Kinwa works as a consultant to organizations and leaders in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development, fundraising, and project management. She is also a legal researcher, policy advisor, human resource consultant, and contract manager. Kinwa is a doctoral student at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. It is an honour to have her share her thoughts with us.
Alison Brewin has joined us as the next Executive Director of Vantage Point. To get to know Alison a bit better - we have compiled a series of questions to learn everything from her favorite books to her life motto.
Welcome to Alison, we are glad to have you on Vantage Point team!
How would you describe your leadership approach/philosophy?
Leadership is about giving hope – hope that we can succeed, hope that complex problems can be solved, hope that the world is a grand place where most people want to do the right thing. It is also about following through on promises made. I am an empathetic...
Serving on a board should be fun and engaging. At Vantage Point we’re passionate advocates for governance that goes beyond oversight. With a focus on impact, there are some great practices organizations can use to support meaningful governance. In our work we often come across organizations that have developed or adopted unique governance practices that are aligned with their values.
For those of us who work with not-for-profit sector organizations and their governing bodies, the same issues in not-for-profit governance seem to keep coming up year after year. That insight has caused a thoughtful sector leader to ask: “why are we doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?”
Earlier this year, the Vantage Point board confronted a challenge many organizations face: should we press forward with renewing our strategic plan, or should we hit the pause button until we have a new executive director in place? With Denise’s planned retirement on the horizon, it would have been easy for us to hit pause. After all, wouldn’t we want to wait and involve a new executive director in developing the next phase of Vantage Point’s future? And, more practically, we were already going to be dealing with an executive director succession process, did we really need to add strategic planning to our agenda?
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.
Every time I facilitate a leadership governance training I go through a range of emotions. It starts with curiosity, veers into terror, and then settles into curiosity and exhilaration as I get into the room and start working with the participants. My last session working with not-for-profit board members in Kelowna was no different except that everything was amplified.
Here at Vantage Point, we have worked with hundreds of boards and thousands of board members. We are often asked what makes a great board and so we have developed a list to help boards fine tune their processes for greater governance success.
At the heart of my quest to join a board was a desire to connect with my community, meet a new group of passionate people, support an organization whose work I cared deeply about and to learn, learn, learn. I am not embarrassed to confess that my motives were not entirely altruistic either. In my current role at Vantage Point, I oversee our membership and act as a project manager but one of my core strengths is my ability to strategize...