REAL STORIES OF LEADERS, ORGANIZATIONS AND MOVEMENTS
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EXECUTIVE TRANSITION & A NEW STRATEGIC FOCUS
GLAD: New leadership for a new direction
One of the most important LGBT rights organizations in the country – GLAD faced major questions in 2010:
Where would the organization set its sights after marriage equality? And how would it get there?
They started by creating a shared vision: to give people of color and youth a much bigger stake in the LGBT movement. To get there, they realized, would also require a more diverse staff and board.
Janson Wu, a staff attorney at GLAD, was also thinking about the future. He had considered becoming an executive director someday but didn’t see a clear path. “I was happy as a lawyer, but I realized that I could do more,” Wu said. “Did I need to go to business school? Join boards?” Coaching and a fellowship for leaders of color helped Wu make the leap.
In 2014, a strong and newly diverse board appointed Wu as GLAD’s new ED. FLA support helped GLAD navigate a pivotal executive transition and set the stage for a new strategic focus.
“That experience was the second most important thing in my development and solidified my desire to become an executive director. My coach helped me think through whether to apply for the executive director job at GLAD and built my confidence to do so.” – Janson Wu
“As a result of the racial equity work that one of my clients has done, the board composition changed significantly. They moved past training. And being satisfied with themselves for having gotten trained, they set to changing the board — not just talk, but also the walk. ”
– Maria Ramos-Chertok, Capacity Coach
“This support is like a secret weapon in the movement. I don’t think people realize how important this work is. Staff of so many organizations wish they had funding to step back and think about all of these things. You’re building so much capacity for people in the movement.”
– Michael Lewis, Board Member, Equality Federation
Together, we are driving more equitable and effective investments in leaders, organizations, and movements.
“You’re standing on the steps of the Supreme Court either protesting or cheering and then going back to the office and dealing with a budget decision. It’s a lot to hold.”
– Rea Carey, National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce
How can a staff of twelve fight enormous challenges to immigrant lives?
“This support was instrumental in infusing my work with resilience. We were able to transition from a fiscally sponsored organization to our own 501c(3). We made a conscious effort not only to hire talent but to put in the systems and infrastructure so that we can honor that talent.”
– Cynthia Buiza, California Immigration Policy Center
“We never would have been able to take this risk without the FLA, since we never would have been able to prioritize that initial investment out of our own general funds.” – Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director
LEADERSHIP THAT INTEGRATES MIND AND BODY
APEN: Thinking outside the box
In 2014, APEN’s new E.D. Miya Yoshitani took on a challenge:
How could the organization take a big leap to ramp up statewide policy and power-building without sacrificing the centrality of their grassroots community leadership?
Working with 20,000 members who speak multiple languages, APEN brings together Asian immigrants and refugees, and has won economic and environmental justice struggles for almost 20 years.
APEN wanted to look beyond traditional approaches to leadership development to find something that would fit their collective organizational structure and build on their Asian-American cultural roots. The flexibility of FLA support gave them the opportunity to think outside the box.
The solution: APEN selected generative somatics, a practice that integrates mind & body connection to enhance skillful leadership and collective power. Using this practice as a foundation of their leadership development helped APEN promote trust and alignment across teams while doubling in staff and budget between 2011 and 2016.