CompassPoints of View

Domestic Violence and the Shackles of the Single Story

In our blog this week, Jennifer Chen Speckman, Director of Westside Domestic Violence Network (WDVN)  and current participant of the Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program, urges readers to break the binds of the "single stories" that can often dominate, define, and stifle movements. Only when full stories are told can true understanding, engagement, and solutions emerge. Do you agree?

Does Your Board Foster Inclusivity?

BoardSource recently released Leading with Intenttheir 2014 index of nonprofit board practices (download for free from their website). In this post, CompassPoint governance consultant and trainer Marla Cornelius looks at the report’s findings in the area of inclusion, a critical component of board culture, and what might be behind a concerning disconnect revealed in the data. She encourages executives and board leaders to read the full report and bring the information that they find most useful to an upcoming board meeting.

The Rare Gift of Time Helps the Whole Organization

Emily Cohen Raskin is the executive director of O2 Initiatives, where she directs the O2 Sabbatical Award program. In addition to her role with O2 Initiatives, she also serves as Senior Associate at Hirsch & Associates, an advisory firm that works with families, foundations, and corporations to maximize the impact of their philanthropy. 

In this guest blog, Emily talks about the value of sabbaticals for both recipients and their organizations. O2 just launched the inaugural year of its Sabbatical Award. CompassPoint is pleased to be providing coaching to recipients and their organizations to help them make the most of this opportunity to reflect, stretch, and grow.

6 Valentines for Social Changemakers

At CompassPoint, we believe in creating a culture where feedback is shared every day, and that means sharing appreciations (not just developmental feedback) early and often. This week, we're helping you do that by sharing these Valentines with messages for the friends and colleagues in your life commited to moving social change forward. 

This weekend is Valentine's day, and what better way to celebrate than to share your appreciation for the people in your life commited to the causes you care about most? Here are six Valentines ready to be shared with the social change makers in your life. Print them and hand them out, or save them to your desktop to share on social media!


Introducing Our Arc Toward Justice Leadership and Solidarity Program Participants

Last month, the Akonadi Foundation launched the Arc Toward Justice Leadership and Solidarity Program. CompassPoint is excited to facilitate a cohort of twenty dynamic leaders working toward a racially just society for youth of color in Oakland. Over the next year, this group of leaders will explore leadership frameworks, learn about strength-based leadership, dive into coaching, and engage with themes of self-care and sustainability. 


A Sense of Self & My Low-Income / Black Privilege

Kad Smith’s participation in the CompassPoint workshop Communicating Across Differences: Why Culture, Power, and Privilege Matter prompted him to reflect on power and privilege and how sightlines on these issues can shift depending on the lens you place on your personal experience. In the spirit of thoughtful and thought-provoking discourse, we’re pleased to share below Kad’s first-person account excerpted from his blog (read the full-length piece on his blog here).

12 Resources for your Self-Care Starter Kit

Maro Guevara and sujin lee

At CompassPoint, we believe that nonprofit leaders and social change makers are more resilient and can work sustainably when they have a practice of self-care. Embedding self-care into our work has become a theme for our own organization and a fundamental part of how we work alongside others to create sustainable ways of moving toward change. 

As you start to set commitments for the coming year, are you remembering to include self-care on that list? Developing a practice of daily self-care can be an essential contributor to success in 2015—for you and your organization. In fact, a consistent practice of self-care can be the underlying current driving and reinvigorating your other commitments and goals as you move through the year. Below are some resources to help you get started.


27 Coaching Questions To Close Out 2014 and Kick Off 2015

At CompassPoint, we use coaching as a powerful tool to deal with challenges, foster self-awareness and move forward to action. Whether you regularly work with a coach or not, coaching questions can be a powerful way of sparking new insights and setting goals. Below, we’re sharing a list created by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management's Coaching Affinity Group that you can you use to take stock of last year and prepare for 2015.




Reflections (Thus Far) on Thriving as a Board Chair

What does it take to thrive as a board chair? In this post, CompassPoint governance consultant Marla Cornelius shares key takeaways from one of our newest programs, Thriving as a Board Chair. This five-month learning experience for board chairs blends CompassPoint’s governance content, expert facilitation, and peer learning. Do her reflections resonate with your board experience?

In the blog post “The Impact of Board Chairs” I talked about (among other things) how important it is for board chairs to adopt a learner’s mindset and connect with other chairs to discuss the challenges that come with this important—but difficult—job. Inspired by this belief and our own experiences as board chairs, my colleague Adriana Rocha and I have been facilitating a five-month-long leadership development series just for board chairs called Thriving as a Board Chair.

We launched the series in August and quickly filled the seats with a terrific group of board chairs from diverse backgrounds. In addition to Adriana and me, there are participants representing all sectors (government, public, private) and stages of career—from emerging leaders to retirees. We are half-way through the series and as I reflect on what we’ve covered thus far, I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned.

My Seven-Year-Long Leadership Development Program

In this her final blog for CompassPoint as a staff member, Senior Project Director Marissa Tirona shares her leadership learnings from her seven-year tenure. We wish Marissa all the best in her new role as Director of Blue Shield Against Violence and, while we sadly say farewell to her, we move forward assured and thankful that our paths will continue to cross and intertwine in our work for greater social justice. 

A core aspect of my practice at CompassPoint is the design and delivery of our cohort leadership development programming. I love this work – it taps into my strengths of relationship building; design thinking; network weaving; content synthesis, translation, and application; and catalyzing systems for social change. I also have loved the way I get to do this work—in deep partnership with CompassPoint colleagues and external facilitators, as we prototype experiments, test new ideas, and play with innovative and emerging frameworks and tools. And I love the result of this work: social change leaders who have increased confidence, are willing to take risks, see their strengths, push change, create communities of practice, and are eager to seek new models for collective learning and growth with deeper, more systemic impact.

It didn’t occur to me until I began to approach the end of my tenure at CompassPoint that my experience here has been a very long (seven years!) leadership development program. And now, as I pivot towards a new journey starting in January 2015 as the Director of Blue Shield Against Violence, I am looking to the past seven years and bringing forward with me learnings that will, hopefully, stead me well in my new role. I share some learnings (the list below is by no means exhaustive, of course) with you now in the hopes that they may be useful to you in your own development as a leader.

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