ReFIT (Remodeling For Independence Together)
Project co-Leads: Rob Koch, Senior and Erin Mahoney, Lead
Team member: Michael Bly
ReFIT is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people struggling with illness, injury, disability, or the aging process in order to continue living independent lives in their own homes. They provide essential modification services such as access ramps, bathroom modifications, widening doorways, and installing grab bars helping homeowners who want to stay in their existing homes.
The partnership with ReFIT and the CCP team began with a series of interviews including all Board members and the Executive Director designed to uncover gaps between the desired results and the actual results in the performance and operations of the ReFIT organization and ideas to close these gaps. This interview discovery process led to Board agreement on five developmental opportunities that became the focus of the work with the CCP team:
- Create a more active and engaged Board
- Build a greater sense of accountability for performance
- Learn to focus on more long-term organizational issues
- Operate at a more strategic and less tactical level
- Clarify roles and responsibilities
A one-day workshop was organized and attended by the entire Board and the Executive Director. The thrust of the activates and discussion for the day was directed at: elevating the thinking, conversation, and decision making of the Board to a more strategic level; and increase the level of listening to, hearing, and respecting the thoughts, ideas, and points of view of other Board members; identifying simple actions that would improve the quality of communications across the organization; agree on the needed actions to implement and successfully execute the demands of a newly received and significant financial grant.
Rose City Rollers
Project Lead: Dave Moyle, Senior
Team members: Jade Dodge, Jathan Janove, Kerri Nelson
The Rose City Rollers (RCR) is Portland, Oregon’s all-female flat track roller derby league. Their mission is to develop women of attitude, athleticism and passion to play a hard-hitting sport of speed and skill. The league’s goals are to serve our community by empowering women and girls, providing entertainment for our fans and supporting charitable causes.
RCR had undergone significant growth and was set to grow even more. The Executive Director, Kim “Rocket Mean” Stegeman wanted to become more strategic in her leadership approach. Working closely with her, the CCP team developed and facilitated a one-day leadership retreat to strengthen the staff leadership team and managing committees to support Rocket Mean’s transition into a more strategic role. In addition, CCP provided one-on-one leadership coaching to further help her navigate this transition.
The results proved highly effective. In the words of the Executive Director: "I really dig working with CCP… The [coaching] has been amazing and so helpful. I think the specific management training I needed in order to efficiently integrate new employees and positions has overshadowed the team building aspects worked on by the consulting team. However, we are now really starting to implement some of the team strategies and are very appreciative of the sage advice and hard work of the CCP team!"
Pendulum Aerial Arts
Project Lead: Tom Robertson, Senior
Team members: Erin Mahoney, Taylor Elwood
Since 2000, Pendulum Aerial Arts has developed character and community through performance and training that mixes dance, acrobatics, theater, and storytelling with contemporary circus arts. The growing organization needed to develop a more active board, able to take over responsibilities that had traditionally been assumed by the executive director/founder and her staff.
The Community Consulting Project (CCP) consultants listened to the perspectives of the board members and executive staff, and worked with them to develop a new way to assign roles and responsibilities, better suited to their growing activity. The CCP consultants facilitated a retreat, during which the board and executive staff were able to practice these new roles and gain experience working as a team.
The Managing Director reported: “I was incredibly impressed at how the team was quickly able to isolate the issues we were having and create a plan with concrete steps to address these issues. We have emerged from this project with an invigorated and empowered board!”
Project Lead: Tom Robertson, Senior
Team members: Dieter Lombard, Diane Fleck
SCRAP collects and recycles a wide range of articles to provide educational programs and affordable materials to the community. As the organization had grown to include locations in multiple cities, the formerly tight-knit collaborative team suffered from a gulf of misunderstanding and mistrust between the senior managers and the rest of the team.
Through in-depth interviews and a survey, the Community Consulting Project consultants surfaced key areas where communication had broken down, and coached the team on ways to improve the situation through new approaches to leadership and communication. The consultants also facilitated a retreat that reinforced the group’s shared passion for SCRAP’s mission.
SCRAP’s Executive Director said “Your analyses and interventions helped steer us to a much improved management paradigm. … It set us on a new course that will benefit the entire organization infrastructure.” A staff member commented "They made the staff feel heard ... able to bring issues to light ... and leave staff and management in a position to actually work through them. Thank you so much!"
The Giving Tree
Project Leads: Julie Endress, Lead; Rob Dodson, Senior
Team member: Galen Banghart
Founded in 2007, the Giving Tree plants the seeds for community involvement and personal achievement in nine affordable housing communities. They bring people together through art, education, and recreation, to address the needs of people who were recently homeless, mentally ill, elderly and in poverty, or disadvantaged in other ways. The executive director and the board needed to forge a better working relationship.
Community Consulting Project consultants designed and facilitated a Mission/Vision/Values retreat and a Goals/Actions retreat. This resulted in The Giving Tree’s first strategic plan. The process of creating it resulted in shared commitment to growth, regular meetings, a committee structure, resolution of a Board membership conflict of interest, clarity regarding Board responsibilities, and increased board leadership.
The new Board President now has a working board, said Wendi Anderson, Founder and E.D. "Julie and Galen were excellent guides throughout the entire process, and were adept at synthesizing a mountain of information and opinions into a plan that is both accessible and achievable."
Project Lead: Rob Koch, Senior
Team members: Jim Radda, Lola Scobey
HomePlate serves homeless and precariously housed young people in Washington County (Oregon). A shared desire was to open the drop in center more than one night a week. HomePlate’s Board had lost several members by the end of 2010. The remaining five members had limited experience with non-profits, with boards, and in working with people with unstable housing (aka “the homeless”).
The Community Consulting Project (CCP) consultants recommended the Board focus first on carefully assessing the current Board and, only then, marketing to and recruiting new board members. With the help of the CCP Team and the tools it provided, the Board reorganized its committee structure and established specific goals with phased implementation. Throughout this process the CCP team helped HomePlate focus and clarify its message.
The CCP involvement also resulted in better decision making, internal communication and alignment between the Executive Director and the Board.
Note: Implementing the board recruitment plan was outside the scope of CCP’s engagement with HomePlate.
Portland Symphonic Choir
Project Leads: Bob Lieberman, Lead; Robert McCarthy, Senior
Team member: Laura Hoggan
This spring and summer, we, of the Portland Symphonic Choir, had the pleasure of working with a CCP team to help us move from a "stuck" position through a series of Executive Committee meetings and Board meetings wherein we faced our budget issues squarely and made decisions that, though uncomfortable, were necessary for the long term health and survivability of the choir. We couldn't have done this without the CCP team's help. They observed and reflected what they heard and saw at our Executive Committee meeting. They gave us excellent feedback. We felt uncomfortable . . . But we were determined to find a solution that would result in a sustainable budget going forward.
The steps we took included a redefining of staff positions . . . [and adopting] a long list of tasks that must be done by volunteers. Although we have accomplished much, it seems our work has only just begun. Developing job descriptions for these volunteer tasks, recruiting, training, and supervising the crew of volunteers we will need seems a daunting challenge for which none of us is particularly suited.
As I look back on the whole experience, I realize that [our CCP Senior Consultant] made it possible for us to do so by offering different alternatives and drawing out of us what really needed to be done.
Getting help from this CCP program has given us direction. It is a promising and terrifying beginning.