Renown Non-Profit Thought Leader Speaks to Pasadena Executive Roundtable

Published : Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | 7:19 AM

Top Left: : Melanie Goodyear of Jericho Road; Rebecca Mitchell of Hoving Home; Jennifer De Voll of Pasadena Community Foundation; Jan Masaoka of CalNonProfits; Tim Mayworm of Journey House; Elizabeth Dever of Ronald MacDonald House Pasadena and Cindy Bengtson of Leadership Pasadena. / Top Right: Jan Masaoka, CEO, CalNonProfits / Bottom Left: Jennifer DeVoll, program sponsor, CEO, Pasadena Community Foundation / Bottom Left: Non-profit leaders listening to Jan Masaoka

Jan Masaoka, Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Nonprofits, gave a thought-provoking and unconventional view of how to understand and lead effective boards to 95 non-profit leaders at a special meeting of the Pasadena Executive Roundtable last week. The meeting was possible due to the generous support of the Pasadena Community Foundation and the Pasadena Senior Center.

“The role of a non-profit Board is to keep their non-profit accountable to the community, using funds for the public interest. Further the Board is to advocate for the services provided by the organization to the community. All non-profits have a responsibility to develop the workforce for the community’s benefit” according to Ms. Masaoka. “Boards don’t work often because the CEO/Executive Director has it upside down!”

In answering the question, “Who is the boss in a charity organization?”, Ms. Masaoka opined that the Board, when working as a group, is the “boss” of the organization. But when an individual Board member proposes some action be taken by the staff, the CEO/Executive Director is the “boss”, not the individual Board member. Jan suggested when this happens, a CEO/Executive Director say to the individual Board member, “That is a great question for the Board to discuss!”

The bane of so many non-profits is Board recruitment. Jan advised the group to recruit Board members not for what or who they are but for what they can do. Every Board member should join the Board to fulfill a specific role aligned with his/her specific skills.

Ms. Masaoka surprised the group by saying “Best practices are conventional practices already done. Organizations need to seek higher level, new ideas to excel.”

Elizabeth Dever, Pasadena Roundtable Chair and Executive Director of the Pasadena Ronald MacDonald House, said “Many non-profits get set in their ways and don’t stop and take a new look at how to operate. Jan certainly gave us things to think about and ponder! We were honored to introduce Jan to 95 local non-profit leaders!”

“This event was possible only due to the generosity of the Pasadena Community Foundation who sponsored this event and to the Pasadena Senior Center for donating the Scott Pavilion as the venue,” according to Melanie Goodyear of Jericho Road.

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