Leadership in Transition

Last week a group of us attended the “Dynamic Leadership Conference for Enterprising Nonprofits,” which was hosted by the Grand Victoria Foundation and held at Elgin Community College.


The workshops for the day reviewed different aspects of leadership, including staff leadership, board leadership, the leadership of organizations in the community, and the leadership of nonprofits as a sector across the nation and around the world.


I happened to attend two workshops taught by Jan Masaoka, the executive director of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services in San Francisco.  Her first workshop was “leadership in transition,” which focused on supporting a nonprofit organization through change in leadership of key staff as well as change in board leadership.


Jim Baum and I jokingly looked at one another:  “Oh…is one of us leaving??”  Not any time soon!  But there were four of us attending the conference and four morning workshops, so that’s the one I got!!


However, I do want to share the resources that I picked up, which will be helpful for any organization, whether for- or not-for-profit, simply because leadership does change and organizations can prepare for it.  Jan’s company website is https://www.compasspoint.org.  Within this website is a terrific e-newsletter called “board café,” which is free, comes out monthly, and “is short enough to be read over a cup of coffee.”  Just go to https://www.compasspoint.org/boardcafe/ to sign up.


The second resource on Jan’s website is “Daring to Lead 2006,” which is a comprehensive national study of executive leadership at community-based nonprofits.

Based on nearly 2,000 surveys from 8 metropolitan areas, the report provides current data on executive turnover, compensation, career plans, and retirement. The report concludes with recommendations to executives, boards, funders, and capacity builders.  You can download the document in PDF at https://www.compasspoint.org/daringtolead2006.


Morris and Grundy County have a large number of not-for-profit organizations and lead staff, and even more volunteer board members.  I encourage all of you to take advantage of these free resources for strengthening your organizations so that we have more time and energy to do what we do best:  serve our clients and community.


I’ll close with a teaser for next month’s column:  the keynote speaker last week was Robert Egger, founder and president of D.C. Central Kitchen, whose mission is “to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.”  I happened to win a copy of his book, “Begging for Change.”  What a fantastic read – I think he and I are twins!  Next month we’ll give a book report and a vision of how we can implement Mr. Egger’s inspiration in Morris and Grundy County.  Stay tuned!!