Kim Dornisch, a director of the board and IFVP member, left the Board in July after two terms as a director. We are all sad to see her go but we all know change is inevitable and she leaves behind a wonderful legacy and contribution.
During her time as Director, she contributed her time to
- guide us through multiple strategic planning initiatives including creating the plan and documentation
- create better board work processes
- serve as the board's scrum mistress
- act as the voice of the members by asking how does this thing we are talking about serve our overall mission and vision.
She introduced us to ELMO (enough, let's move on) and OLAF (ok, let's assign follow-up - used as a parking lot trigger). As an IT professional and leader, she was often instrumental in helping us think through the technology pieces. When board discussions got a little messy, she was adept at reigning us all in and refocusing us. She also helped frame ways of being together, such as the difference in how one thinks - some are out loud thinkers, talking to evolve an idea; others need time to process and think before they can answer the question and be in conversation. She did a lot of work in the area of how to work in ways that are easy for us based on our strengths and preferences.
You know, the way this board works is not the way other boards work. Not all of us are professionals in the sense that we have worked in corporate America or in a board setting and context. When you bring together so many creative, innovative, and maker type folks to lead an organization like ours - a heart-led organization in many ways - it can be like herding cats. We can be passionate, easily distracted, long-winded because we don't know and are thinking out loud, we can drag our feet on decision-making because we aren't ready to commit fully to the actions required once we commit and are sometimes unorganized like a good creator can sometimes be during the creative process. Volunteering to guide an organization like ours has taught me so much about this. What Kim taught me with her leadership was that we can continue to push the envelope and toe the line in professionalizing our organization. Thanks to work done under Jenny Trautman, our board is very different than previous boards. In speaking with previous directors from as far back as 2000, I've come to learn we have evolved in many ways, but especially in our strategies, work processes, tools, back office management, and yes, our website and the technology team under Dr. Phil Bakelaar (aka Dr. B). I am confident in saying Kim contributed to how far we have come since I joined the board in 2015.
Something else Kim taught me was that as a leader, it is important to know your weaknesses but also the strengths of your team. This way, they can fill in your blind spots. It's self-serving in the very best way. There have been a few situations where a tough decision needed to be made by me because my title was President but before doing so, being able to ask the others to share their perspective, opinions, and ideas always proves this point right. Alone, I don't have the answer or solution but together, we find the best approach for OUR members and organization's culture and values.
I am proud of the work I've done with Kim and know the rest of the directors can say the same. I am sad to see Kim leave the board but I also know we have an advisor and strategic planning facilitator willing to help the board when we need it. Please take a moment to wish Kim well and thank her for all she has done for the IFVP. You can leave a comment below this blog.