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Denise Baker retires this week and says her good-byes to the Vantage Point community.

When I made my decision to retire I knew it was the right time for me and for Vantage Point. The organization is in a great place with wonderful staff and knowledge philanthropists, a refreshed strategic plan, and relevant programs and services. I will be so excited to see new successes under Alison Brewin’s leadership.

Not-for-profit organizations do incredibly important work – providing critical services that support and enrich our communities. Robust internal capacity and organizational competence is what supports their ability to achieve impact. At Vantage Point we are on a mission to improve not-for-profit capacity. By building the capacity of your not-for-profit organization, you can strengthen the impact your programs have in your community and ensure long-term program sustainability. The importance of capacity building is a critical conversation for not-for-profits, funders, government, and the broader community.

A not-for-profit organization’s effectiveness and capacity to navigate change depends largely on its people. Ask anyone about the characteristics of strong and effective not-for-profit organizations and the conversation will inevitably turn to leadership. Vantage Point’s work is in building the skills and knowledge of not-for-profit leaders to strengthen their leadership performance and impact. In 2017, we did an in-depth evaluation of our program Executive Lab, an advanced program for senior leaders. The impact on individuals and organizations is remarkable.

I’m suggesting that we start asking for a different kind of support. Let’s ask our donors for the gift of capacity. What exactly is capacity? It is impact. It is resilience. It is sustainability. It is taking the time to invest in professional development for the people in our organizations.

This year, give the gift of capacity to not-for-profit organizations.

I’m suggesting that we start asking for a different kind of support. Let’s ask our donors for the gift of capacity. What exactly is capacity? It is impact. It is resilience. It is sustainability. It is taking the time to invest in professional development for the people in our organizations.

Denise Baker, Executive Director of Vantage Point opened BOSS 2017 with a warm welcome.

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? 

 

Not-for-profit organizations provide essential services in very complex environments and therefore require high performing staff and boards to achieve meaningful and measurable results. We need a range of core competencies to improve organizational performance – strong leaders with a strategic outlook; boards that govern wisely; and staff that are motivated and encouraged to make a career in the sector.

10 Attributes of a BOSS Board: take your not-for-profit governance to new heights by following these ten tips on areas including great meetings, decision making and strategic planning.

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.

For some of us The Sound of Music is a favorite treat at this time of year. In many ways, Maria was like an Executive Director – overworked, making clothes out of drapes, running up and down mountains -  and all through it all remaining cheerful! She even sang about her favorite things!

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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