Thursday, November 15, 2012

On the Way Out (Nicole Wilken)

Even though we still have more than a semester left and a lot of work ahead of us with the World Relief Campaign in the spring, it hit me this week that this is my last year in SALT – that my involvement in this community and the work of this great organization that has had such a profound impact on my worldview, career goals, and personal growth will all too soon be coming to an end. And although the knowledge that the end of my senior year in SALT is approaching gets me a bit panicky about what I should do for the rest of my life, it is comforting to know that I now have the wonderful opportunity to be a mentor to budding leaders - to make sure they are equipped with the leadership skills I wasn’t equipped with when I came into this organization. Part of my job is to ensure that this year goes smoothly, but I am also concerned with ensuring that the future leaders of this organization can move on with confidence using the lessons that I have learned with my time here.

My journey is paralleling an important phenomenon in the non-profit sector – the baby boomers are retiring. The Bridgespan Group did an interesting analysis of the current leadership situation in non-profits and how to best plan for the future. “On the way out” is a critical and relevant part of leadership, not a time to draw back from contributing to the organization. The most sustainable change a leader can offer is investing in and empowering future leaders.

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