The Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin held the Fourth Marin Nonprofit Conference at the Marin Center on November 1, 2005. About 400 persons attended the Conference, which featured a keynote address by Dr. Michael Lerner, President and Founder of Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, and a variety of workshops. Dr. Lerner challenged the Marin community to create a shared vision and engage in collaborative efforts through discussion on issues such as health care, housing, education and the support of immigrants. He asserted that because of Marin’s wealth of resources, it should be a leader as a visionary community.
I attended a panel workshop entitled "Surviving and Thriving: Lessons Learned in 30 Years of Nonprofit Leadership." Among the many gems of advice offered by the experienced and accomplished panel:
- Recognize that we live in a world of constant change with respect to resources, people whom we serve, and infrastructure. The one constant on which we should focus is developing relationships. – Bobbie Wunsch, Pacific Health Consulting Group.
- Our biggest asset is our reputation for integrity. – Brian Slattery, Marin Treatment Center
- The 4 "Ps" to surviving and thriving when succeeding a founder as the organization’s leader: Passion (for the job); Professionalism (e.g., know the organization’s history and culture); Partnership (forge a relationship with the board chair, accountant, and attorney); and Patience. – Cassandra Flipper, Bread and Roses
- Accountability is critical; executive directors must make sure that their boards and staff understand the organization’s mission, activities and progress; and nonprofits must frame or shape their stories, lest it be done by others. – Joe Valentine, Morris Stulsaft Foundation