CompassPoints of View

Conflict Resolution Skills for the Win: A Tribute to Madeleine Hershey

In this blog, CompassPoint staffer Amy Benson shares a personal story on the power of conflict resolution and pays tribute to the mediator whose expertise led her to pursue teaching interpersonal communications and conflict resolution.

During my college years at the University of Pittsburgh, I had the pleasure and fortune of being a part of a student activist group that got coverage in the student and local newspapers, acknowledgement and praise from national pro-choice feminist groups, and most impactfully, provided a first-hand, experiential lesson in how individuals can work together to change institutions and policies. My fellow activists and I accomplished the following:

Five Ways You Can Transform Your Organizational Hiring

In this blog, we present five strategies CompassPoint has adopted to shift our organizational approach to hiring and help us better reach the applicants we seek. They're strategies focused not on fanning out to more job sites and more contacts, but, rather, focusing inward and honing our outreach, communications, and internal processes to ensure we're reaching the right people with the right information.

Meditations on Time Management

In our blog this week, CompassPoint's newest staff member, Asha Mehta, shares how positive or negative feelings about a task influenced her perception of the time she allocated to it. It was a wakeup call to understanding how something as mundane as time tracking could serve as a powerful mirror of our own values and judgments – and a starting place for personal understanding and transformation. Welcome, Asha!


CompassPoint's Summer Reading Guide: Part 2

Our office has been buzzing over the last few weeks with recommendations for great reads, which lets us know it’s time to share some new reading recommendations with you. Here’s another helping of our Summer Reading Guide, a peek into the authors and ideas that have entertained and inspired the CompassPoint staff and might do the same for you.

Every good summer blockbuster deserves a sequel, and that’s why we’re bringing you a second part to our Summer Reading Guide. Did you miss our reading guide the first time? Read last year’s list of picks here. This year, we have a few new folks on staff with great reading recommendations, as well as some fresh new endorsements from our veteran bookworms. Our new list of suggested reading covers social justice, superheroes, feminism, intersectionality, and more.

Reflecting on Charleston

Like you, we've been watching with anger, fear, frustration, and deep sadness at the events that unfolded in Charleston this past week. In a year where the trauma of violence against black lives and bodies has been acutely present in our communities, this act of racist terrorism cuts deeply into fresh wounds. Where do we go from here and how do we come together to take on the systems of racism and oppression that lay the groundwork for this kind of violence? As we grapple with the work ahead of us and create spaces for healing in light of despair, we wanted to take a moment to share some of our own thoughts and feelings, elevate some of the voices and calls-to-action that are resonating with us at CompassPoint, and honor the lives and memories of the nine victims: 

Three Essential Shifts for the Nonprofit Sector

Third Sector New England's newly released report Leadership New England: Essential Shifts for a Thriving Nonprofit Sector, based on responses from more than 1,200 executive directors and board members from the six New England states, issues a wakeup call for the sector—and for funders. Based on the methodology developed by CompassPoint in the Daring to Lead surveys over the past decade, the study assesses the unique challenges nonprofits in the region are facing.

The Discipline of Self-Care

In this excerpt from her new book Pro-Voice: How to Keep Listening When the World Wants a Fight, Aspen Baker, executive director of Exhale, talks about the need for social justice leaders to be disciplined about self-care — in service of both yourself and your organization.

Help – I’m Trapped in a Nonprofit Metaphor!

And now for something completely different. Like any good nonprofit employee and consultant, CompassPoint Project Director Lupe Poblano has mastered the use of metaphors to illuminate concepts associated with nonprofit structure, leadership, and strategy. In fact, in this post, we’re pretty sure he breaks the record for the most metaphors about nonprofits in one article (and that's not hyperbole, or a metaphor for that matter). Enjoy.

Step Outside Your Bubble: The Power in Viewing Organizational Change from Another’s Perspective

At CompassPoint, we work with individual leaders and organizations to make the most of change. While change can bring about uncertainty and tension, it's also an opportunity to build resiliency and strength across systems. In this blog post, Lupe Poblano surfaces what's at the crux of many difficult transitions: making room for multiple perspectives and individual interests while keeping the needs of the entire organization front and center.

"Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress."– John Wooden


Executive Director as Creative Magician?

As the leader of a creative organization, many expect Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month and our guest blogger this week, to be a natural when it comes to conjuring a magical workplace. How is he doing? Read on to learn some ideas from Grant and the NaNoWriMo team that you can use to lighten up your workplace—and suggest some ideas of your own. Making the world a better place is hard work—shouldn’t we make the trip as fun as possible?

I was recently on a panel of executive directors, and I was asked, "How do you bring magic into the workplace?"

I might have blushed with embarrassment. My first thought, was, "Um, I'm not sure if I do bring magic into the workplace." I'm not necessarily a geyser of inspiration, at least not on an ordinary workday. I don't preach, swagger, or sing. I occasionally read a motivational quote or two, but only occasionally.

My next thought was that I don't think my staff—or my colleagues and friends, as I'd prefer to think of them—necessarily look to me to bring any magic into the workplace. Who appointed me the bestower of motivational spells, after all?  

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