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Honoring Wisconsin’s Best for the World™

Vista Global is among a group of 17 Wisconsin certified B Corps committed to being a force for good in the world. We have also been recognized as a 2022 “Best for the World” company in the Customer Category. 

The “Best For The World” designation is given to B Corps that score in the top 5% of their size category from more than 5,000 Certified B Corporations from 83 countries. We’re honored to have received this designation for 5 consecutive years.

Congratulations, Wisconsin’s Best for the World honorees!

Five certified B Corps in Wisconsin achieved “Best for the World” status in 2022. Companies are honored in the following categories of the B Impact Assessment: Community, Customers, Governance, Environment, and Workers. 

The Honorees

Vista Global Coaching & Consulting – Best for Customers

 

ZYN – Best for Community

 

Riverwater Partners Best for Customers

 

Envest Microfinance Best for Governance

 

Cream City Conservation & Consulting Best for Workers

Learn more about the Best for the World™ designation and find other B Corp honorees here.

Nonprofit Leaders: Are You Prepared to Pass the Torch?

Over the past 10 years, leadership development and succession planning in the nonprofit sector has been gaining increased attention. In 2006, a national research study of nonprofit executive leadership found that 75% of leaders planned to retire  in 5 years. In 2011, the study was conducted again and although the pace of transition was dampened … Continue reading “Nonprofit Leaders: Are You Prepared to Pass the Torch?”

Over the past 10 years, leadership development and succession planning in the nonprofit sector has been gaining increased attention.

In 2006, a national research study of nonprofit executive leadership found that 75% of leaders planned to retire  in 5 years. In 2011, the study was conducted again and although the pace of transition was dampened by the recession, executive turnover remains high.

While the economy’s recovery is still in question, the need for more nonprofit leaders is irrefutable.

The current prediction? Approximately 640,000 nonprofit leaders will be needed by 2016. What are we as a sector doing to nurture the next generation of leaders?  Is your organization prepared for a turnover in leadership?

Stay tuned for an upcoming informative webinar this spring! Webinar participants will explore strategies to strengthen nonprofit leadership and commit to the next generation of nonprofit sector leaders.

Can’t wait for the webinar to get started on succession planning?  Email me today.

Reaching the Summit with Girls on the Run

Recently I partnered with Forward Community Investments and Girls on the Run of Dane County to present a case study on capacity building and strategy development at the Girls on the Run Summit in San Antonio, TX.  We had more than 85 participants interested in learning about how to build capacity and think strategically to … Continue reading “Reaching the Summit with Girls on the Run”

Recently I partnered with Forward Community Investments and Girls on the Run of Dane County to present a case study on capacity building and strategy development at the Girls on the Run Summit in San Antonio, TX.  We had more than 85 participants interested in learning about how to build capacity and think strategically to chart the future path of their councils.

The 2014 Girls on the Run (GOTR) Summitt. From left to right: Dennis Johnson, VP of Advisory Services of Forward Community Investments, Sara Pickard, Executive Director, GOTR of Dane County, Mary Stelletello, Principal, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, and Mindi Giftos, Board Chair, GOTR of Dane County.
The 2014 Girls on the Run (GOTR) Summit. Dennis Johnson, VP of Advisory Services, Forward Community Investments, Mindi Giftos, Board Chair, GOTR of Dane County, Mary Stelletello, Principal, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, and Sara Pickard, Executive Director, GOTR of Dane County.

It was wonderful to work with Girls on the Run because their vision so strongly aligns with my own personal values:  “A world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”

The 2014 Girls on the Run Summit kicked-off in San Antonio, Texas.
The 2014 Girls on the Run Summit kicked-off in San Antonio, Texas.

Are you interested in reaching your limitless potential and boldly pursuing your dreams?  Let’s talk about how coaching can help you.

Or maybe your nonprofit organization is launching a strategic planning or capacity building initiative? Contact me today! I look forward to helping your organization reach the summit.

Equality and Equity: Our Generation’s Legacy

Growing up in Illinois, “the Land of Lincoln” I took a special interest in our sixteenth president and his efforts to create a nation where “all men are created equal” and that we are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” I was born a year after the Civil Rights Act … Continue reading “Equality and Equity: Our Generation’s Legacy”

Growing up in Illinois, “the Land of Lincoln” I took a special interest in our sixteenth president and his efforts to create a nation where “all men are created equal” and that we are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.

I was born a year after the Civil Rights Act was passed and two years after Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, commemorating 100 years since the Emancipation Proclamation.

In a legal sense, I never experienced my country’s segregation. But as I started public elementary school, these core tenets of equality (as I understood them) didn’t seem to line up with how things were done.

This experience raised my awareness of equality and equity. Equality is being treated the same. Equal opportunity, equal access to success. But when there are roadblocks to this success, equity comes into play.

Equal access doesn’t mean equal outcome. For example, even though I am allowed to apply for college using the same application process as a male in the name of equal access, this doesn’t mean we arrived at that college application investing the same level of effort or will have an equitable experience let alone the same level of success.

Difference can be correlated to inequality or diversity. How do we value the difference between one another? How do we value diversity? Equity is a way that we can arrive at a place where we can value that difference.

“Leveling the playing field” is a term used to create equity. Example: On the track, when running 400 meters, instead of placing runners at the starting line, the runners are placed in a staggered start to create equity.

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Register for the Leadership and Equity webinar on January 28, 2014.

These concepts of equality and equity are important because in our generation, discrimination is often unintentional or less overt when compared to the era of Martin Luther King, Jr.  But just because discrimination is unintentional does not mean it won’t have a lasting negative impact.

When we unintentionally surround ourselves with people just like ourselves we don’t have awareness of the roadblocks or challenges that some may face to achieve that same status.

Whether we are at a board meeting or a cocktail party, if everyone is the same race, class, gender or sexual orientation, we can’t benefit from the wisdom that comes from sharing diverse perspectives.

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Yes I am of the post-Civil Rights Act generation that did not witness segregation. There is awareness among my peers about equality. But there is less awareness and understanding of equity and why it is critical to a fair and just society.

If you have interest in exploring this topic of equality and equity, please join me and my colleague, Cheryl D. Fields on March 25, 2014 at 1pm PST/4pm EST for a webinar entitled Leadership & Equity hosted by the Leadership Learning Community. Register for the webinar today!

We will continue this dialogue and what role each one of us can play to move our world closer toward the vision shared by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Developing a Sustainable Approach to Leadership

When I took my first job as an executive director at age 25, I didn’t really think about embarking on a career as a nonprofit leader. However, more than 20 years later, I have led five different organizations with annual budgets ranging from $150,000 to $13 million. As an executive director, I had the opportunity … Continue reading “Developing a Sustainable Approach to Leadership”

When I took my first job as an executive director at age 25, I didn’t really think about embarking on a career as a nonprofit leader. However, more than 20 years later, I have led five different organizations with annual budgets ranging from $150,000 to $13 million. As an executive director, I had the opportunity to participate in a leadership development program that confirmed some practices that allowed me to strengthen my leadership skills and create a path for sustaining my leadership.

Leadership

Today, serving the nonprofit sector as a consultant, I have the opportunity to be a facilitator of leadership development programs. I draw from my diversity of experiences as an executive director and the seven key themes that sustained me in those positions.

Start with fire in the belly.

You absolutely must be passionate about the work that you are doing. That energy is what will drive you in tough times and will motivate your staff to do their best work. When people are feeling down and struggling, they will look to you as a barometer of the organization’s health. If you can’t see the path to better times, they won’t either. This is not to say you should be wearing rose-colored glasses but, as suggested by Jim Collins in Good to Great, it reminds me of the “Stockdale paradox”: acknowledging the brutal facts, but never losing hope is essential to success.

Everyone is a leader; leadership is a team sport.

Leadership is not a commodity for sale to the highest bidder or a “star is born” phenomenon. I learned this when I started playing Little League in 1972. Everyone is a leader in some way, and the trick as an “anointed leader” is to identify the key to opening that leadership pathway in those around you. One tactic to avoid burnout is to spread the load of leadership throughout your organization. In his book, Leadership is an Art, Max De Pree, chairman emeritus of Herman Miller, Inc., calls this “roving leadership.” The only way to open that leadership pathway is to listen deeply to those around you to determine how their passion fits with the vision of the organization.

When staff feel that their thoughts actually do matter and that everyone is in the same boat trying to get to the same destination, there is a greater interest in paddling together. You must be genuine and authentic in your actions. When you say you want people’s input, it must be true, and your behavior must be in alignment with your statements. Leaders who are dictators in disguise will only achieve what they individually desire. There is greater success in collective power than in the power of one.

Create an environment that rewards learning and innovation.

We live in a world that seems to be changing with greater speed with each generation. As a leader, you have to be a change agent, not an idea squelcher. Fostering the desire to learn and explore new ways to address challenges enhances your success. This will keep your work interesting and allow your organization to be more effective. Many of the leadership gurus — Peter Senge, James Kouzes, Barry Posner and John Kotter — all emphasize the importance of life-long learning as an attribute of effective leaders.

Recharge your battery.

It is very easy to get sucked into the constant barrage of communication, particularly email, and never lift your head. This trap will become a downward spiral to burnout if you don’t carve out some space on a regular basis that allows you to fully unplug. Whether it is doing something outside, reading something completely unrelated to work, cooking or playing music, you must protect a segment of time that is dedicated to clearing your head of everything that burdens you as a leader. You owe it to yourself and to the cause you are serving. Take Tony Schwartz’s Energy Audit to see how you are doing.

Celebrate.

The work that you do can be fraught with what seems to be insurmountable challenges on a regular basis. One approach to mitigating the effects of these difficulties is to create a culture of intentional celebration. It could be opening your staff meeting with a standing agenda item of “Thanks and Acknowledgements,” or creating the organization’s “Let the Fun Begin” committee that is responsible for maintaining a level of celebration in the organization. Social support networks enhance productivity, psychological well being and even physical health, so make your workplace such a network.

Build a network of support.

Being a leader, particularly in an executive director position, can be a lonely place. It is important to identify a support network, perhaps a breakfast club or monthly brown bag lunches with fellow executive directors who have the same struggles as you and who can offer insights and support in maintaining your sense of purpose and inspiration.

Preparing for nonprofits of the future.

Because my generation bridges the baby boomer and Gen X generations, I have been fortunate to see the world through glasses with both sets of lenses. A leader’s appreciation of generational work styles is critical to success. Boomers display a heightened sense of commitment, dedication and long-term loyalty to one organization and employ a more traditional leadership style, whereas Gen Xers approach leadership as a flexible, “open source” affair, a collaborative work style that conveys the sense that it is everyone’s business, and we all have to do our part to achieve success.

When approaching leadership with these key themes in mind, you are sustaining yourself and developing your bench strength. You are creating a pathway for the next generation of leaders who will be ready to take over when their time comes if it hasn’t already arrived.

This article was originally published at Causeplanet.org, February 27, 2009.

Is Your Organization Leaderful?

I’m excited to lead a discussion on Leadership Succession Planning for Wegner CPAs Nonprofit Roundtable, in Milwaukee on October 15, and the subject of succession planning has led me to reflect on my past experience as an executive director of five different nonprofits. Unsurprisingly, not one of those organizations had a succession plan in place … Continue reading “Is Your Organization Leaderful?”

I’m excited to lead a discussion on Leadership Succession Planning for Wegner CPAs Nonprofit Roundtable, in Milwaukee on October 15, and the subject of succession planning has led me to reflect on my past experience as an executive director of five different nonprofits.

Unsurprisingly, not one of those organizations had a succession plan in place before I departed.  In one instance, a successor was named before I departed. In another, I was able to help identify an interim executive director before leaving.

In all of these situations, my departure was disruptive for the organization, not because I wasn’t replaceable, but because change in leadership is disruptive. Having a plan in place would have lessened that disruption.

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CompassPoint Nonprofit Services has published many resources on Executive Transition and I have found “Building Leaderful Organizations: Succession Planning for Nonprofits”  to be a very informative guide to preparing for the inevitable…leadership transition!

Tim Wolfred cites three types of succession plans:

1.    Strategic Leader Development

2.    Emergency Succession

3.    Departure-defined Succession

Each of these approaches start with building leadership within the organization. Disruption is minimized when successors come from within the organization.  Here are some key questions to gauge how prepared your organization is for leadership transition:

1.    Does your organization have a strategic plan that includes staff leadership development?

2.    Is the board evaluating the executive annually? Does it understand the scope of the position?

3.    Do the executive director direct reports receive evaluations and are they solidly performing?

4.    Is the top management team high performing and capable to lead the organization in the absence of the executive?

5.    Are key external relationships shared beyond the executive – with either another staff person or board member?

6.    Do the organizational financial systems meet industry standards and are reports generated regularly for board and staff?

7.    Do operating manuals and personnel policies exist? Are they easily accessible and up to date?

8.    Have top program staff documented key duties in writing and identified another staff person to assume duties in an emergency?

If you answered  “yes” to all of these questions, you are miles ahead of the majority of nonprofits. You can then focus on building the leadership throughout your organization through targeted professional development plans and documented emergency succession plans. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you have a place to start to build the organization’s capacity for transition.

Don’t wait until you or your Executive Director have one foot out the door.  Your organization will be in much better shape if you plan for the transition.  That is the type of legacy all leaders want to leave.

What advice do you have for nonprofits facing a leadership transition?

Launching Leadership Advanced Milwaukee

About 18 months ago, I met with Steve Zimmerman, Principal of  Spectrum Nonprofit Services.  Steve and I both came to Wisconsin from the San Francisco Bay Area.  Previously, Steve had worked for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and I had worked for La Piana Consulting. We met to discuss our perspectives about the nonprofit sector and how … Continue reading “Launching Leadership Advanced Milwaukee”

About 18 months ago, I met with Steve Zimmerman, Principal of  Spectrum Nonprofit Services.  Steve and I both came to Wisconsin from the San Francisco Bay Area.  Previously, Steve had worked for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and I had worked for La Piana Consulting. We met to discuss our perspectives about the nonprofit sector and how we might collaborate.

MIlwaukeeNightSkylineIn sharing his observations of the Milwaukee nonprofit sector, one comment Steve made sparked the design of Leadership Advanced Milwaukee (LAM).  His statement below resonated with me as I’m sure it resonates with many readers of this blog.

“Nonprofits have access to a lot of tools to aid in management, but it takes leadership to utilize those tools to their fullest potential and there aren’t as many resources dedicated to developing and supporting those leaders.” – Steve Zimmerman, Spectrum Nonprofit Services

I am passionate about helping nonprofits invest in their greatest asset: their leaders. I’ve spent most of my nonprofit career leading various-sized nonprofit organizations and the majority of my consulting work has been focused on designing and facilitating nonprofit leadership programs.  I founded Vista Global Coaching & Consulting with an emphasis on consulting organizations and coaching leaders so they can make a difference in the world.

Since that first meeting, Steve and I designed the LAM program based on a peer-centered learning model.  We met with potential funders to recruit support for our nonprofit leadership program that blends management skill development and leadership development.  Our concept was well received and funding was confirmed in March 2013.  We began recruitment in the end of May 2013 and selected our inaugural class on August 1.

On September 11-12, 2013 the first class of Leadership Advanced Milwaukee Fellows and board members from their organizations will convene to begin their 8-month journey.  In this kick-off session, some of the topics we will explore include personal leadership, the roles and responsibilities of nonprofit boards, nonprofit organizational life cycles and articulating your organization’s intended impact.

I am honored to be partnering with Steve and this impressive group of dedicated nonprofit leaders to build stronger nonprofits and a stronger community.  A warm welcome our first class of Leadership Advanced Milwaukee Fellows:

Kate Bradley, Education Director, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts

Maureen Crowley, Program Director, Charles E. Benidt Foundation

Martina Gollin-Graves, Project and Outreach Manager, Mental Health America of WI

Beth Haskovec, Executive Director, Artists Working in Education, Inc.

Carol Keintz, Executive Director, Next Door Foundation

Amy Lindner, CEO, Meta House, Inc.

Dan Magnuson, Executive Director, Pathfinders

Laura Maker, Director of Development, Diverse & Resilient

Brenda Peterson, Executive Director, Volunteer Center of Ozaukee County

Kim Schubring, Family and Youth Program Director, Bay View Community Center of Milwaukee

Donna Triplett, Director of Development, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center

Is your foundation interested in supporting nonprofit leaders? Are you a nonprofit leader seeking resources?  Contact me today and let’s work together to make a difference in the world.