Professional Development

I’ve just finished a year-long program that aims to bring more diverse senior leadership to the philanthropic sector. My time with the Council on Foundations’ Career Pathways program was transformative and will, no doubt, have an impact on my thinking and career trajectory in ways that I can’t yet even imagine. So why am I not on top of the world?

Bringing together leaders in the field for genuine, authentic, and forward-thinking conversation that illuminates the powerful role of place in the work of community foundations. Place matters, and it remains critical for community foundations to be driving the conversation with donors, nonprofits and community leaders to produce greater outcomes, deeper impact, and drive more significant change in the communities we serve.

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.

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.