Tag Archives: Pam Gaber

Pssst… Wanna Join a Nonprofit Board?

LloydBy Stacy Lloyd, Class 28
Lloyd Media Group

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.  The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership. 

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. -Albert Einstein

Serving on a nonprofit Board is a great way to “put back.” But first, read this blog!

Our last Scottsdale Leadership class was Boardsmanship Day. Honestly, I was fairly confident; it was going to be bor-ring. Imagine my surprise, when it was the exact opposite.

Board Panel Our panel – charged with teaching us the roles, responsibilities and expectations of serving on nonprofit Boards – was a who’s who in the world of Arizona nonprofits. Steve Davidson, Class 10 (CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale), Pam Gaber (CEO, Gabriel’s Angels), Patricia Lewis (ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation) and Eileen Rogers, Class 2 (nonprofit Board all-star) emphasized that it’s important to do your homework before serving on a Board.

Say you’ve found the nonprofit of your dreams. You’ve heard wonderful things about it. You’re eager to join the Board. Whoa… not so fast! Having passion for a nonprofit is critical, but so is doing your due diligence. There are essential things to grasp before joining a Board for the first time. Here goes….

You definitely want to meet the Executive Director.

It’s imperative to know that as a Board member, you are a fiduciary. You’re managing assets for another party, often with the legal authority and duty to make decisions regarding financial matters on behalf of the other party. No matter how the organization is structured or the degree of authority delegated to staff or committees, the Board and therefore the individual members are ultimately accountable.

Inquire if the organization has proper insurance coverage. Patricia Lewis said, “Don’t join a Board unless it has directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.”

Ask financial questions as it’s your responsibility to understand the Board’s financial statements. If you notice any red flags, stay away.

Board members must understand the facts and circumstances of accounting issues and the overall financial health of the organization. To do this, Board members must be actively engaged in the governance process. This means getting educated on Board governance and the nonprofit’s bylaws.

Ask about the Board term length and the expected time commitment. Don’t join something if you don’t have the time to serve. Oh, and be careful of any conflicts of interest.

Wait – you’re not done yet. Our experts said to test-drive the Board first. Join one of the nonprofit’s committees. You can see firsthand the organization’s inner workings. Plus decide if the current Board members are people you want to work alongside.

Don’t go blindly into joining a nonprofit Board. Put on your extra-strength spectacles and do your due diligence.

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How do you find your leadership passion?

Arizona LeadershipBy Kim Hanna, Class 27
Economic Vitality, City of Scottsdale

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

Did you ever do something out of obligation?  Or for a paycheck?  Or only because someone asked you to?  But…your heart really wasn’t in it?  If your answer is “yes”, as mine was, I bet you were not as effective as you would have been if your heart and soul were “all in!”

Through the Scottsdale Leadership journey, I’ve been exposed to a lot of community issues and needs.  The wide ranges of well-deserving people and causes have actually begun to overwhelm me…Until Leadership Academy day!

The panel discussion moderated by Ted Taylor, Family Promise, changed everything for me.  Ted led our class through a discussion that focused on finding a cause that we believe in—he asked us, “What cause is of meaning to you?”

Then Pam Gaber, Gabriel’s Angels, reminded us of the saying, “When you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.”  Now it’s time to queue the music of one of my favorite songs by Jason Mraz, Everything is Sound, which includes a line “…you don’t need a vacation when there’s nothing to escape from…”  Now, that’s pure wisdom in my book!

But wait…there’s more from Pam.  The next thing she said was something magical.  She said finding your passion depends on who you are on the inside.  When you hear about “it”—there’s a fire in your belly.  When you read about “it” and for 15 minutes the world stopped…you know you’ve found your passion.

Hallelujah!

BryceHikeLeadershipPassion (1)

I know I am passionate about camping, hiking and cooking!  So much so, that I started a blog about “it” www.CampingForFoodies.com.  But—how do I turn my personal passion into a leadership passion which will benefit the community?  Just like Pam did with Gabriel’s Angels!  Pam loved her animals so much that she was willing to share them with others to improve their lives.  The Gabriel’s Angels mission: To deliver healing pet therapy to at-risk children, nurturing their emotional development and enhancing the quality of their lives forever.

What I realized is the power of taking your passion and sharing it with others in unique and creative ways is far more effective and meaningful than just assisting with a demonstrated need with which you have no personal or emotional attachment.  With my passion I can teach kids how to appreciate nature, eat healthily, exercise in fun ways respecting and learning about the environment, budget for trips, build confidence cooking delicious meals, learn photography and appreciate the art form.  And…so…much…more!

Many of us are blessed with an abundance of time, talent and treasure.  Fewer of us are willing to share our gifts with others.  The best return on God’s investment in us happens when we give our gifts away.  You will increase your enjoyment of your passion by experiencing others experiencing your passion.  So, don’t be afraid to let go because, just like a boomerang, your passion will come flying back to you.

Share this if you are jazzed about sharing your passion!

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