This month Leadership Kenosha met with Leadership Racine and was given a plethora of information on nonprofit organizations and key characteristics they have in common. We were also presented with the role a board of directors has in nonprofit organizations. This was the first time the cohorts met virtually.

Some of the key facets that make up the fabric of a successful board of directors is the belief they can make a difference, diversity, different professional backgrounds, and using their skills while benefiting the community.

In the afternoon we had a presentation from two keynote speakers: Nancy S. Blair, PhD and Mark L. Gesner, PhD on “How Do We Show Up Now”. They are co-authors of the book “Your Life Is Your Message”. In their publication they interviewed over 100 leaders across the world in efforts to discover what traits a great leader possesses. Their message to us was very real and organic.

For instance, Nancy shared a personal story and reminded us that leadership occurs any time people are together. She also emphasized the importance of being a good listener and to listen with empathy when in dialogue. Mark spoke about the “Bottom Up Approach”. This approach highlights that leadership starts with the self and how effective a leader will be if they cannot lead themselves first. An example is self-care in exercising, eating healthy, and being kind.

After an extended lunch break we had an opportunity to meet with a panel of nonprofit executive directors. Panel members were able to discuss how they got into their roles and shared past experiences they encountered along the way. It was beneficial to hear the passion and belief they each have in their organization’s purpose. One of the panelists expressed that they left a good paying job in the private corporate sector and went back to nonprofit organizations because it was fulfilling to her as a person. Another panelist went on to say they can relate to the people they serve and is very compassionate in that regard.

Overall, the experience and information I received was invaluable. The leadership programs keep getting better and better as we travel through this journey. Be generous and trust in yourself.

—Caesar Garcia

Leadership Kenosha — November 2020