Monday, March 23, 2015

My perspective on work/life balance

Last week I was invited to speak to YNPN Grand Rapids about work/life balance. Here is my speech:
Everyone defines success differently.
Everyone’s family and work situation is different.
You need to determine what constitutes work / life balance for you. You need to determine what works for you.
To me work/life balance is a myth. I’m working on work/life integration.
For me, work/life integration wasn’t a challenge or issue until I had my child.
Before I had my daughter I could do all the work and/or fun things that I wanted to do. I am a very task oriented person so, I could move up in my career and pursue my career goals and my husband could pursue his goals.
After my daughter was born I had to have crucial conversations with my husband to get what I wanted and needed out of my work and family life.
I am a yes person at work so it took some time to figure out I couldn’t say yes to everything at work. Saying yes at work resulted in spending less time with my family. Even though I’m a top performer at work, I take on less things now that I have a child.
Here is some research I’ve found on the topic and things for you to consider as you continue the journey.
  • Women and men have different perspectives regarding what housework is or how housework should be done.
  • Men and women’s communication styles and work styles are different.
  • Research conducted on 25,000 graduates of Harvard Business School state they value fulfilling professional and personal lives – yet, their ability to realize their fulfilling lives has played out very differently according to gender.
    • Men and women don’t differ much in much of what they value and hope for in their lives.
    • However, women have been less satisfied with their careers.
    • There are gaps in men and women’s beliefs about successfully combining career and family.
    • 77% of graduates believe that prioritizing family over work is the number one barriers to a women’s career advancement.
    • There are still deep rooted attitudes that a woman should be the primary caregiver.
    • The graduates (women) anticipated their careers would rank equally with their partners, but many of them were disappointed.
    • The women didn’t opt out (some found themselves in unfulfilling roles, some were stigmatized for taking advantage of flex options or reduced schedules). Mommy tracked.
    • The majority of men expected to have their careers take presidence over their spouses career. And, a large majority of men expected their partners to take primary responsibility for childcare. Half of the women expected to take primary responsibility for raising children.
  • Other research shows millennial men are taking more on regards to household chores and childcare responsibilities but women are still stressed due to the prevailing cultural assumptions in the workplace. There is still an expectation gap.
    • Men who ask for more flexible work arrangements to take care of family are perceived more favorably than women who make similar requests.
  • Research also shows that same sex partners are better at equally dividing up household responsibilities and caring for the children.
So what does this mean for you? Have the conversation with your partner. Are you going to have kid(s)? How is the responsibility going to be divide up? You need to advocate for what you and your partner need to succeed at home and in the workplace. We all define success differently and our definitions of success change as we get older.
For me, work/life integration is:
  • Having conversations with my spouse (and my family members) and setting expectations that childcare and household duties are NOT my primary responsibility. It is shared between my husband and I.
  • Asking for help when I need it (I’m working on this).
  • Taking a vacation by myself once a year WITHOUT my child or my husband.
  • Advocating for myself in the workplace – my colleagues don’t decide what I can and cannot do because I have a family. I decide what I take on and what not to take on.
  • Understanding that an additional work project will take away from time with my family and additional time with my family will impact my career.
There are sacrifices that are being made on both sides in my career and in time with my family. That is what work life integration is all about.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Choosing a Dissertation Topic

Someone recently asked me to blog about the process of selecting a dissertation topic.

Selecting a dissertation topic is like choosing a PhD program. You want to select a topic that is the right fit for you. Your topic should be:
  1. Interesting to you
  2. Manageable (something that you can actually complete)
  3. Relevant to your field
My first dissertation topic idea focused on the Leadership Certificate Program that I was developing for John F. Kennedy University in the Bay Area. Due to budgetary reasons, this certificate program did not come to fruition so I had to come up with another topic idea.

The topic that I ended up selecting for my dissertation was the best fit for me because it related to the research studies that I had completed while working in the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research.

In the first semester of my PhD program I completed a literature review, titled: "How to measure the community impact of nonprofit graduate students' service-learning projects." The literature review set the stage for an extensive qualitative research study that I completed during the 2nd year of my PhD program. I interviewed 19 nonprofit organizations to determine the impact and use of master's students' applied projects. After I completed the local study, I wanted to study impact and use of experiential education within nonprofit organizations at a national level.

I originally planned to complete a much more extensive study of experiential education and its impact on the nonprofit community (isn't this always the case with dissertations?!?) but my dissertation committee helped me get back into reality. I honed my dissertation topic into a study that was much more manageable and something that I could complete!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'll be blogging the 2010 ARNOVA conference

This week I'll be blogging the 2010 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) annual conference. I'll be attending a variety of sessions and reporting on the latest research studies and emergent theories in the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. (Twitter coverage of the conference can be found here)

ARNOVA's adhoc social media committee (John Ronquillo (chair), Lindsey McDougle, Debra Beck, Taylor Peyton Roberts, and I) have been working hard this year trying promote social media within ARNOVA. We are opening the door....very slowly, since there is a strong culture of hesitation and concern about using social media.

Our social media (e.g., facebook, twitter, and linkedin) objectives are to:
  • Build awareness of ARNOVA.
  • Promote ARNOVA membership and the work of individual sections within ARNOVA. (For example, have you seen the Community and Grassroots section's website?)
  • Highlight new research articles, briefs, and books by ARNOVA members
  • Market new ARNOVA initiatives (for example, the newest initiative is ARNOVA press).

The adhoc social media committee will be hosting a colloquy on Thursday morning at 8:15am (Magnolia C) to discuss the latest research on nonprofits' use of social media. We'll also be discussing what we have accomplished thus far by using social media within ARNOVA, and what we hope to accomplish in the future.

We believe that social media will help create a sustainable future for the association and we'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. How did you learn about ARNOVA? Was it through social media? Would you liked to get more involved in ARNOVA?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Research on the Nonprofit Workforce: Here's a Brief Overview

In 2006, American Humanics compiled a comprehensive bibliography about the nonprofit workforce titled, Workforce Issues in the Nonprofit Sector: Generational Leadership Change and Diversity.

Since this bibliography was released, nonprofit organizations have continued to struggle to understand and appreciate human resource management and succession planning practices. Organizations like, Commongood Careers and Nonprofit HR Solutions are now providing human resource and talent management support to many nonprofits across the United States. In addition, new studies have been published about the nonprofit workforce. Here's a brief overview of these studies:

Books about the Nonprofit Workforce and Nonprofit Careers
General statistics about the nonprofit workforce:
Retention, Turnover, and Vacancy
Job Motivation in the Nonprofit Sector
Choosing a Nonprofit Career

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rethinking Leadership

During the Independent Sector Conference the NGen fellows reported that we (the next generation of nonprofit leaders) have trouble identifying under 40 leaders that are creating social change in the sector. The fellows encouraged us to rethink how we view leaders and leadership.

There are many different ways of viewing leadership and how people create social change. My favorite way of viewing leadership is as a collective process. Leadership is not about one person in an organization making singular decisions; it is about multiple staff members coming together to collectively move the agenda of the organization forward. Yeah, the CEO might be the face of our organizations, but as next geners, we are making things happen behind the scenes, we are making our CEO’s look good.

Additionally, collective means that leadership is happening among many different groups of organizations. Funders are starting to fund these groups of organizations (case in point the Social Innovation Fund from the Corporation for National and Community Service). Even so, this view of societal change needs to be taken a step forward and recognize that leadership flows throughout people, organizations, and communities.

So let’s rethink how we view leadership and how social change is occurring in our sector. I’m really excited that the Next Gen Leadership award went to Darell Hammond, CEO of KaBOOM! because he understands collective leadership and his organization is truly creating societal change.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reflections from the Independent Sector Annual Conference

This past week I had the pleasure of participating in the Independent Sector annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The Independent Sector is the leadership forum for charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good in America and around the world.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I organized the social media team for the NGen portion of the conference. Blog posts from these sessions can be found on the Independent Sector blog.

On the last day of the conference during the NGen debriefing session, Rusty Stahl executive director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and Trish Tchume, Director of Civic Engagement for the Building Movement project had us write down three items that we wanted to take away from the conference.

Here are the three takeaways that I wrote down:

1. Inspiration: I was truly inspired by the speakers throughout the conference and hearing their visions for the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. My inspiration is reflected in the three blog posts that I wrote for the Independent Sector during the conference.

2. Focus: Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service said something during his keynote speech that really stuck with me. He said, "We need to balance our passion with pragmatism." Many younger people in the nonprofit sector are very passionate about their work but are not realistic or focused in how they enact their passions. Patrick's statement made me realize the importance of focusing and narrowing one's passion so that it can be realistically achieved. Let me give you a personal example.

As many of you know I am super passionate about the ENTIRE nonprofit sector. This passion has opened many doors for me but it has also caused me to take on way too many projects beyond my time capacity. Patrick's inspirational speech helped me to think of ways that I can focus and refine my passion into specific areas within the nonprofit sector (that can be accomplished).

3. Action: From now on all the NEW work that I volunteer for, or take on will be related to refined passion/vision for the nonprofit sector and will focus on three distinct areas.
  1. Nonprofit Workforce: Everyone would view working in a nonprofit organization as a viable career option.
  2. Nonprofit Operations & Capacity Building: Executive directors, staff, board members, and volunteers within nonprofit organizations would freely access the amazing capacity-building/operational tools and resources available to them across the sector.
  3. Nonprofit Education: Nonprofit master's degrees would focus on student AND organizational learning outcomes.