Andrea M. Delligatti, Ph.D.
Psychologist    •    Executive Coach    •    Mediator
"Creating psychologically healthy workplaces"

Engagement #7

Follow the Leaders…

But we must develop them first!

Situation:


I was elected by the membership to provide leadership to the 2nd largest state Professional Association of its kind in the country- with 3,000+ members and net assets in excess $1M. My responsibilities spanned supervising performance of Executive Director and presiding over the 25-member Board of Directors composed five specialty Boards encompassing 27 committees and project groups. A three year commitment consisted of three consecutive, one-year terms, as President-Elect (2007), President (2008) and Past-President (2009).

Challenge:


Like most professional associations, it relied heavily upon volunteers to accomplish its mission. The association struggled annually to engage active volunteer leaders to spearhead its committee work to accomplish strategic plan goals. This was exacerbated by a reticence of the Board of Directors to support its specialty board chairs who requested to replace ineffective leadership.

Goal:


Creating a more formal leadership development program became my solution to meeting the challenge. I wanted to provide support to existing elected officials and Board chairs to recruit and retain quality leaders for their various committees to accomplish the work of the association - all this to be done without alienating the Board of Directors.

Results:


Over a twelve-month period, as the President-Elect,

  • Established and spearheaded a Leadership Development Task Force (comprised of former association Presidents) to explore the needs of volunteer leaders within the association.
  • Established "job" descriptions for every leadership role in the association.
  • Established a Leadership Breakfast at the annual convention to have a more formalized orientation of new leaders on the Board of Directors.
  • Engaged the Board of Directors to support the invitation of committee chairs to attend and present at Board meetings.
  • Encouraged the Executive Director and Board of Directors to invite incoming and outgoing committee and specialty board chairs to the annual General Assembly dinner to facilitate team building, mentoring, commraderie, and knowledge of the governance process.
  • Obtained approval from the Board of Directors to establish a more formal Leadership Development Committee to be chaired by President-Elect of the association to support the ongoing need for "growing more leaders" in our pipeline for volunteer leadership.


Lasting Impact:


The Leadership Development Committee remains active in the organization. The Committee's membership continues to grow as more senior members seek to share their wisdom and knowledge with newer leaders.

Within its first year of existence the Committee established a bi-annual Leadership Academy to provide more formal training to potential leaders in the association. Currently, there are more than 300 members serving on 30 committees within the association.

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