Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Respecting Authority while Standing up for Your Beliefs

From a very young age I was taught by my parents to respect authority figures. I have always had awe and admiration for my bosses and professors. However with this awe and admiration, I tend to put certain people on a pedestal, which leads me to think of them as somewhat super human.

This gets to be a problem if I don't agree with the way an authority figure is handling a problem or situation. Because I have them on such a high pedestal, I have trouble voicing or explaining my side of things. I just turn into a person I don't want to be...and get all nervous while interacting with them. Did I also mention that my passion for my work tends to get in the way too? Then I get frustrated after the fact because I am totally a different person around certain authority figures.

One of my professors recently told my class that as Doctoral students we are now his equal and we can question anyone's research. This was of course hard for me to hear, especially since this particular professor is so knowledgeable and I am in total awe about how much he knows about so many different academic disciplines.

My professor's statement is making me really rethink about the way in which I respect authority figures. I am learning how to stand up for my beliefs while still respecting authority. It isn't easy...I'm trying first with my professor and then we'll see how it goes...

Has this happened to you? How do you respect authority while still standing up for what you believe in?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From criticism to complimenting community organizations

Jan Masaoka rocks! She is the former Executive Director of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and just started a new website/blog/magazine for nonprofits called Blue Avocado. I am continually amazed by her expertise and experience in the sector--I personally benefited from her consulting expertise when I lived in the Bay Area.

She and her team of guest contributors are writing about issues and topics of interest to community-based nonprofits. Here's my favorite quote so far--Jan explains why Blue Avocado focuses on
"building the movement of community organizations for community good and social change."

She says, "Community organizations are criticized by everyone these days: consultants tell them they're doing everything wrong; government tells them they're too small or mismanaged; donors tell them there are too many nonprofits, and foundations tell them their logic models aren't good enough. This very large group of organizations and people--the overwhelming majority of the nonprofit sector--are actually the ones doing most of the work and coming up with the most innovative ideas and energy. But too often they've gotten infected with the self esteem crisis and victim mentality that is constantly being pushed on us."

Frankly, I was humbled by Jan's statement because all of my work experience has been in community organizations. Yet, it has been so easy for me to judge these organizations that I work in even though these organizations are doing amazing things! I do have the best intentions because I want them to improve their operations. But clearly I don't spend enough time praising community organizations.

Maybe its a generational thing--it seems like so many of the colleagues my age are also writing about the need for huge change in the sector. Change is good, but this also reminds me of what Audrey Alvarado of NCNA and Nonprofit Congress said when she was interviewed by Rosetta Thurman. "
What I would challenge the Gen X and Y’s to do is to be a bit more patient to work on aspects of how we can go about changing our work and approach and not toss everything out but take what works and improve on it. Many times I see a strong disregard for what we (older ones) have created and no recognition or appreciation for the context that led to the practice. Let’s work on improvements together."

So, I'm trying to take to heart Jan and Audrey's statements and work harder to be more complementary towards Community Organizations!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Opportunities

Now that I have left the Foundation, I am pursuing some new opportunities.
  • I am spending more time working with John F. Kennedy University in the Bay Area to develop more nonprofit leadership seminars.
  • I am working with an amazing woman--Emily Davis to create Young Nonprofit Professionals Network San Diego. Emily has put a lot of work into creating an awesome YNPN San Diego website and we are working with a fabulous group of young professionals to plan our first YNPN Happy Hour Networking Night for May 21st! It is great to see the San Diego Community respond positively to this endevor and join in on the networking and leadership development opportunities YNPN has to offer.
  • I am co-facilitating a workshop ,"Trying it On – An Intergenerational Conversation Exercise" at the Nonprofit Congress National Meeting in June with my favorite nonprofit blogger--Rosetta Thurman I am so excited to finally meet her!

The Tough Talk about Executive Turnover

I officially resigned from the Jenna Druck Foundation. It was a very challenging decision. I don't want to go into the details because I wish the very best for the organization. However, I do want to link to an article I recently read which pretty much sums up my first-time experience trying to lead an entire organization.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: How Passion, Relationships, and Expectations Affect Director Tenure