Leadership

When I first met this cohort, I knew immediately that we were destined for a similar fate. The power to move and change was in the room the first time we gathered, and we’ve already begun to see what we build when we operate in concert. Yes, as individuals, we’re rather wonderful, but as a cohort, we are formidable.

At our Chicago learning session, I was inspired by the approaches of colleagues from the MacArthur, Kellogg, Joyce, Grand Victoria, and California Wellness foundations, alongside friends from BoardSource and the Council on Foundations. Over the course of three days, these brilliant women (yes, they were all women!) tackled various aspects of organizational leadership: being the CEO, managing board relationships, re-imagining grantmaking processes and tools, leading organizational change, tackling investments and finances, communicating effectively, and understanding key legal issues in the field.

During the United Nations General Assembly in late September, Heads of State, government officials, civil society, and the philanthropic and commercial private sector are convening in New York with a focus on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC is a key part of Sustainable Development Goal 3 and a shared commitment by United Nations member states to ensure everyone has access to health services without undue financial hardship. The vision is lofty and worthy, but the barriers are plentiful.

After working in the philanthropic field for the past 10 years, the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Program gave me the opportunity—and frankly the time—to seriously consider being an executive leader in the sector. It’s not something I could always see for myself.

How can foundations better anticipate ways in which the world is changing around them? This is a challenge for every organization functioning in what the military has termed a "VUCA world." The acronym refers to an operating environment characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Change and Ambiguity. For decades now, I have worked with senior business executives to help their organizations spot, anticipate and remain resilient in the face of VUCA challenges.

"Have a great day and let your sun shine!" These are my departing words for my 8-year-old daughter every morning at drop off. It’s my rally cry hoping she unleashes her true self on the world (well, ok, her second-grade classroom) in everything she does.