What does being a finalist for this award mean for you and your organization? 

First and foremost, being a finalist for this award is such an honor from an organization which sees, interfaces with and supports the work of so many non-profit organizations, who are doing outstanding work in the Washington Metropolitan Area. It gives us a tremendous boost in knowing that someone else sees and appreciates us for the work we have done and felt that we could be award worthy. It gives us confidence that we have done outstanding work in structuring our board, executing our purpose, and governing in the appropriate ways. Lastly, it validates all the hard work that has been accomplished in the past few years.  

What have you learned through the application process for the Board Leadership Award? 

We’ve learned DEI ranks very highly with oversight organizations and we agree that this is very important. We also learned that we must continuously be innovative in marketing, fundraising and technology, as obviously past winners have done so. We also learned that that many organizations that you oversee must be doing great work because you present this award every year and we did not know about it until now. We could possibly tap into this wealth of knowledge and not have to reinvent the wheel. 

What advice would you offer for other organizations/board members striving for excellence in board leadership? 

  • Choose volunteers and staff who champion and have a heart for the mission of the organization and would work to make it successful even if there is no compensation for doing so.  
  • Structure the organization into functional areas and make clear the expectation of performing the assigned tasks in an excellent manner.
  • Recognize that non-profits require teamwork and must adhere to the democratic process.
  • Be open for self-assessment to learn what you don’t know and then follow-thru to implement suggestions.
  • Take time to bond with each other such as a yearly retreat, social lunch or dinner and get to know one another as people and not just a seat on the board.
  • Acknowledge and show appreciation for the work your staff and/or volunteers do.
  • Don’t ask anyone to do something that you would not do yourself.