MaryTaking the Next Steps: Next Gen Leadership Growth

By: Mary Galeti In: 2010 Annual Conference

3 May 2010

I think there are two distinct skill sets that folks in philanthropy work on developing over the course of their careers:

The “Hard Skills”—due diligence, research, communications, metrics, etc., and the “Harder Skills”—honest listening, quiet leadership, good citizenship, and honest engagement.

At these kinds of meetings, we’re torn between the two dynamics—how do we learn both in a way that makes us better technical functional specialists, as well as better generalists.

This struggle was articulated in the session “Next Gen: What Else Do I Need for the Journey? Skills for Leaders Aiming for the Top.”

What I particularly appreciated was Richard Woo’s reminder—there is power in being invisible. When you are the person who actually writes up the agenda or crafts the reports, the way you think about word choices or statistics to highlight means that you get to define the parameters of the conversation, and move it to a place that you might think is important. Embracing the different strengths of each part of the ladder is important, and something I think we, as ‘next gen’, can often lose track of.

That begs the question, though—where are we learning these lessons?

Who is talking to us about where our strength lies, where we can still grow, and who we should be striving to become within the field?

When professional development opportunities are presented to emerging leaders (which is rare to begin with), they are often about technical proficiency. While I think the technical proficiency is valuable, what about being a good leader, teammate, partner, and philanthropist (in the lover of mankind way)? Can’t we find more space for some of the less concrete but very important skills that often get overlooked in the process of creating good program officers, executive vice-presidents, and the like?

Mary Galeti is the vice-chair of the Tecovas Foundation

2 Responses to Taking the Next Steps: Next Gen Leadership Growth


May 3rd, 2010 at 11:32 am

Mary, i learn from mentors old and new. These have included the 15-year receptionist who sees people come and go, who arrives first and last, who calls the shots. Also from the experiences that i had in college and in extracurricular affairs. I’ve rarely received such direction, questions and support from direct supervisors. i have found that they are too consumed with keeping things in order to nurture new ideas or take a risk.

I have found technical proficiency and asking the right questions and knowing how to find answers from the Community Investment Network annual conferences, the Southern Partners Fund’s conference calls and the data-rich websites of the Funders Committee for Civic Participation.

Bill Huddleston

May 22nd, 2010 at 1:10 pm

These are the fundamental facts that I present in my workshops about workplace giving, “The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) - The Golden Goose of American Philanthropy.”

Fact # 1. Workplace giving can be used to generate funds for non-profits.

This fact is about the only one that most non-profits recognize.

2. Fact #2: Workplace giving is the ONLY type of non-profit fundraising that is: A: Subsidized, B: Low Risk C: High Leverage

No one argues with me after I make that point, but most haven’t thought about the fact tha workplace giving is subsidized fundraising.

3: Fact #3 Workplace Giving provides more leadership development opportunities for non-proft staff, in a low-risk environment where they can actually develop and practice their leadership, project management, public speaking and listening skills.

If you’re interested in a more complete description of the leadership opportunities available, please send me an e-mail at BillHuddleston1 at gmail dot com with “leadership” in the subject line, and I’ll be glad to send you my article on this.

The opening line is: “Did you learn to swim by reading a book?”

Bill Huddleston
The CFC Coach

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