Friday, March 28, 2014

Talking Success: 3 Tips for Serving on a Non-Profit Board

Sometimes my weekly blog post gets away from me.  This week, I have many excuses -- super full days of meetings (even went down to Austin for lunch, then back in one day) and night-time stuff too (hosted a party for 100+ teens last night), so the blog just had to go on Wednesday and then again on Thursday and it almost went today -- BUT no, I'm writing it because this is the post the world needs -- at least in my tiny mind, anyway!

NOTE:  Last night was the last time I'll ever throw a high school party, as the youngest niece of my only brother is graduating from high school in May.  My mom and I hosted Lina and her friends with a #ThrowbackThursday skate party at White Rock Skate Center and we hired the In-N-Out Burger Truck to come and do burgers for them.  It was a huge success, and once again I was reminded that those kids at HPHS really are great kids.  This is Lina with me before the throngs arrived -- about the only time I saw her all night...

Now back to what the world needs -- tips for success for serving on a non-profit board!

I have been the CEO for a non-profit agency for more than 15 years, so I know what I'm talking about -- of course, ask the board members at Community Partners of Dallas or Wipe Out Kids' Cancer if you don't believe me -- and if you do ask them, be sure and tell me what they said -- I'm nosy that way.  And speaking of talking, this brings me to my Talking Success Tips:
  1. Talk to the CEO/ED.  As a board member you are supposed to be there for counsel and advice -- so give it.  Your experience could bring a fresh approach to a problem the non-profit is facing.  I can't tell you what a blessing it is to receive a call or an email from one of our board members (we have 25 over here at CPD).  Just a "Hello, how's it going over there?" is wonderful and often gets my brain switched on in a new way.
  2. Tell them you need to resign.  It's been said before and will be said again, but if you cannot attend the board meetings and events, resign immediately.  The non-profit needs someone who can show up and give everything -- their time, talent, and treasure.  You are doing the charity a real disservice by holding on.  And believe me -- EVERYONE knows that you are the slacker.  Get off and give someone else a chance to provide new resources.
  3. Tell your friends (and strangers) why you care about your charity.  Most people want something to talk to you about.  Mention that you're on the board of such-and-such agency and just wait -- they'll ask you about it, and even if that person doesn't, the next one will.  Some of our best donors at CPD have come to us because a board member told them about the agency.
What are your tips?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stay Away from Pigs

My new favorite quote that seems to come in handy way more than I want it to...

I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig.  You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

 -- George Bernard Shaw

Back away, pigs, just back away... 

Hope you're having a great Wednesday!

NOTE:  I'm sure you're wondering where I found my new favorite quote...  Lisa Vanderpump on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, of course.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why do you stay?

I celebrated my work anniversary yesterday at Community Partners of Dallas.

12 Years.

Of course, I had forgotten about it.  Luckily for me, my assistant Danni is in charge of recognizing all staff members' work anniversaries, so I had a card and a sign and everyone at the office saying nice things and/or emailing me.

I need to explain that prior to coming to CPD, I had never been in the same place longer than 2 or 3 years.  While I loved many of my past jobs and bosses (still do -- some of them are my best friends), there was always something missing. 

And I hate to admit it, but the thing that was missing was me. 

My old jobs were jobs -- by that I mean that I showed up (most of the time) and did what was required.  Some days were inspiring, but mostly it was rote.  Come in, make coffee, do what was required, and watch the clock until time to go home. 

You may be thinking -- well, that is probably because in those other jobs Paige wasn't the boss, so yes of course it was rote because someone else was telling her what to do.  And yes, there is some truth to that, but CPD was not my first job as CEO for a non-profit.  And in one of the jobs I even started my own company and was my own boss, so nobody was telling me what to do.

I already told you -- I was missing.

When I came to interview for this job I just knew it was for me.  I knew I could do what was asked of me by the board.  I knew how to tell the story of our kids.  I knew how to evaluate programs and decide how to make them better.  I just knew I was in it.

I wasn't missing anymore.  When I'm not at work, I'm thinking about it.  And I'm grateful to have found a whole lot of great people to join me here -- both staff members and volunteers.

Twelve years is a long-ass time, but even now I'm still in it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Damn, I LOST.

I woke up early this morning and turned on the TV to find out who won the primary elections last night.

NOTE:  Waking up "early" is normal for me -- I never set an alarm anymore.  Enjoy it, kiddos -- your time will come...

I was surprised that my normal morning KXAS (5) was not showing the results.  Switched over to WFAA (8) and they were there big as life, so good.

NOTE:  Of course, I did switch back at 7 am for The Today Show, creature of habit AND creature of love for Matt and Al...

So, I watched the results.  Some of my candidates won and some didn't.  That's life. 

It made me start thinking about all of the elections that I lost.  All of the times that I didn't get the part that I wanted in the play.  All of the times that I wasn't chosen by the nominating committee to chair committees or serve as the president of volunteer groups.  All of the times things didn't work out like I wanted them to.

But, as sure as I am sitting here writing this, I know that those disappointments changed me for the better.  Some made me stronger.  Some helped me change the path I was on and led me to something even better. 

NOTE:  Certainly some of these disappointments showed me who my real friends were.  But, let me tell you that while some of my friends didn't vote for me/support me at the time for whatever thing I was trying to win/be nominated for -- I forgave them and am even better friends with them now.  But I still know who you are -- ha!

Now, I know that the kids we help at Community Partners of Dallas have been subjected to things far worse than losing the student council race, but I still tell them the same things I'm telling you today.

Here's what I know for sure (If you caught the Oprah reference -- 10 points!):
  1. Forgive those who you feel wronged you.  They probably made the decision they made at the time thinking it was the best decision.  Most people try to do the right thing.  And their decision may very well have been the best decision for you too -- you just didn't know it yet.
  2. Losing a race has taught me more than winning.  Don't get me wrong -- a win is wonderful and tons of fun and very gratifying.  But losing stays with you longer and can drive you to do better.
  3. As you get older, you will remember the bad things that happened, but none of it will hurt as much as it did then. 
Life is too short to dwell on disappointments.  Go to bed early, wake up tomorrow, and hold your head high.  It will all work out.