Hugo’s career spans 20 years of working for nonprofit organizations covering a range of issues from food systems to sustainability to biodiversity conservation. His experience includes NGO management, planning, development, outreach and stakeholder engagement, particularly in multicultural settings.
Tell us about your leadership style and how this contributes to your organization’s success.
I had this funny experience while writing this section. As I started developing the lineup, some of the text started to look familiar. It took me a few minutes to realize that I was mirroring what we adopted as values in our Strategic Plan. The culture of an organization comes from the Executive Director. I believe that my style of leadership has transpired across the organization board, staff, and volunteers, and now is reflected in our organizational values.
I believe that to work in the non-profit sector, it is essential to be passionate about the mission. Community Foodworks staff and board members believe in Community Foodworks’ vision and mission and drive them forward with passion.
I believe that micromanaging is dis-empowering. I work hard to cultivate a work environment where our staff feels empowered to spearhead new initiatives and proudly own the results. Instead of providing directions, I like being an advisor and a thinking partner for my team.
I believe that the organization’s profile should be above all of us. We all are focused on working as a team toward the organization’s goals instead of personal ideas and accomplishments. When the organization’s reputation rises, we all rise with it.
I take pride in creating strong internal governance infrastructure and believe it is a requisite for the success of our organization and the achievement of our mission.
I work to build strong partnerships with organizations who share our values and have complementary strengths and interests.
Finally, I strive to cultivate an environment of diverse perspectives and experiences that fosters sharing and constant iteration toward our goals.
What advice would you offer for other nonprofit leaders?
The main advice that I would give to a nonprofit leader is to be open to learning every day. Nonprofits are messy and hard to manage, but I am sure that out there is somebody who has gone through the same problems. It is important to surround ourselves with people who know more than we do in every possible topic so we can draw from their experience when needed.
What does this award mean for you and your organization?
Being highlighted by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement is a tremendous honor for us. The metro area is filled with amazing organizations doing unbelievably important work, and for us being on this platform would be a great achievement.