For November, we began our day at UW-Parkside linking with the members of Leadership Racine. After introductions, we learned about nonprofit board leadership as a way to make a difference, use our skills to benefit the community, and enhance our leadership skills and career development.
This was sort of the nuts and bolts of board leadership. Ultimately, as leaders, it encouraged us to make sure there is a fit and desire to join a particular board so that we can make the most impact in our community.
The main part of our day involved participating in the UW-Parkside Nonprofit Leadership Conference. This was a great opportunity for our groups to have our usual monthly learning but also be a part of something larger.
The conference included a keynote presentation by Paul Schmitz, CEO of Leading Inside and Out. Paul was an engaging and relatable speaker. He shared his personal experiences in leadership and what lead to the many roles he’s held. All of this has developed into his book Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up. What many of us took from his presentation, was the example he shared regarding Rosa Parks and her legacy. What is not shared as much in the translation is that there were many leaders that contributed to that significant movement in history, not just one. Paul emphasized collaboration. In fact, he’s built a career around it! He encouraged us to consider leadership as an “action that many can take, not as a position that few people can hold.” He wants us to move leadership from a noun to a verb.
After lunch, Kate Robinson, speaker, strategist and executive producer of the documentary Failing Forward: On the Road to Social Impact, introduced her film. After the screening, she led a discussion. Kate emphasized the importance of using data as a means to learn and improve, not just to substantiate the work that’s being done. By using the data more intentionally, an organization may learn that there is a different/better way to serve their constituents or discover alternative programs or processes that make a greater impact. Kate suggests we not just use the information to prove we’ve done the work, but to do the work better!
During the conference, there were opportunities to mingle with the attendees from other nonprofits. This was also beneficial for our Leadership Kenosha teams as we each work on our projects. It was a chance to connect with the people that we are already collaborating with and also meet new people and organizations that will help us meet our objectives. There were also several organizations with display tables in the common area. This allowed more interaction and some of them had fun and interesting information and items to share.
After the conference concluded, the Leadership Racine and Leadership Kenosha groups reconvened to spend a little more time together recapping the conference content.
This was a nice variance for the November meeting (not that there isn’t plenty of variety when we have our Leadership Kenosha days!), it really reinforced that, in the end, it’s about how we can contribute more to the collective of our community.