NLN1: Arto Woodley Shares Executive Director Success Secrets

Arto Woodley - headshot

In this first podcast of The Nonprofit Leaders Network, Kirsten is joined by Arto Woodley, former Executive Director of Frontline Outreach in Orlando Florida.

Here are the podcast highlights. Listen to the full podcast below.

Greatest Success

There is no doubt that the greatest success is tied into the outcomes for the children that we worked with. These young people originated in the inner city of Orlando and honed their crafts as leaders and took what they’ve learned at a small Christ centered ministry in Orlando and took it around the world. To me, that’s success.

When to Let Go

Every person has a gift and a plan for their lives, but when they’re not producing fruit for your organization then it’s time to transition. You have to balance the personal commitment to people to the commitment to making the organization grow.

What to Look for in a Board Member

One of the biggest myths that exists is that board members only come to bring their expertise. Every board member has to be committed financially. There is no way you would be able to encourage others to commit financially if the executive and the key leaders such as the board are not 100% committed. Now that may be different at the various levels of peoples’ capacity to give, but there should be 100% giving.

First Steps in Recruiting the Right Board

Don’t only look at people’s ability to give or the name of the company that they work with. That’s a huge mistake, because many times you can get people who happen to have resources or they work for a large company or a foundation and they’re not committed to your mission. Make engagement as a volunteer part of your recruitment process for board Members. This makes sure that your nominating process identifies people whose passion is connected to the work that you do and not just going after the resources and their affiliation with a particular company.

Measuring Board Effectiveness

Rather than just look at board effectiveness, it really should be a focus on institutional effectiveness – looking at the effectiveness of the executives, the effectiveness of the board, from a strategic standpoint, and looking at are we accomplishing from a strategic goal standpoint versus what we said we’d do. Start with two committees. One that evaluates the executives on a consistent regular basis with another that looks at the effectiveness of the board and the board members. Are we accomplishing what we said we were going to accomplish? Is every board member giving on an annual basis? Are board members Have they accomplished their personal goals?

Keeping the Board Engaged and Michael Jordan Syndrome

In the early days when Michael Jordan played for Chicago (before his support team improved and Chicago won the championship) most of the team sat around and watched him score. He scored 63 points in the playoffs, but nobody else on the team really did anything. But they still lost.

What happens with nonprofit directors and CEOs is they have the Michael Jordan perspective that the board sits back and watches the executive director, “Oh, look at this person. She’s doing a great job. Look at all the money she’s raised. Look at the buildings she built, look at all the program outcomes. Wow, great job!” They’re watching but they’re not engaged in it.

CEOs have to be very careful they don’t get caught in that trap because then it becomes your work and not our work. The board sits back, waits for the CEO to do it. They’ll say: “Well why didn’t she get that done? I don’t know why, she’s gotten it done in the past.” That’s the trap, so you have to very, very astutely make sure everyone is engaged in the outcomes and that everyone is held accountable for those outcomes.

About Arto Woodley:

Arto Woodley has focused his life on fulfilling the vision God has given him to develop leaders and rebuild cities. An urban innovator, he lead Frontline Outreach from 1998-2014. as an advisor to the mayor to develop public-private partnerships from 2012-2014 for Chester, Pennsylvania. His degrees were earned at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and Widener University in Pennsylvania.

Involved in a variety of civic and community activities, Arto is an Emeritus member of the African American Community Fund in the Dayton Foundation, past member of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, Founding member of Governor’s Faithbased Advisory Committee in Florida; and Florida Department of Children and Families Independent Living Advisory Council, to name a few.

Listen to the podcast here:

Click here to view the transcript.

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NLN1: Arto Woodley Shares Executive Director Success Secrets — 6 Comments

  1. Arto gives us all excellent reminders about board recruitment & development. Individual Board Member Development is an area in which I hope to improve this coming year. Thank you Kirsten and Arto!

    • Thanks for listening in Christine – and thanks for chiming in! Glad you find it useful. Your interview will be posted in two weeks :-).

  2. Really enjoyed this podcast. We are currently testing a new program that will engage, educate and elevate age out foster care youth. Hearing Arto Woodley’s perspective is very timely for our organization as we transition from giving people fish at at early age to teaching people to fish as they transition into adulthood.Keep up the great work Kirsten and Arto.

    • Hi Teresa – Glad you enjoyed it! Looking forward to hearing how things progress with MM4M.

  3. An outstanding first episode, Kirsten; well done.

    A very interesting conversation with Arto; what a wealth of knowledge and insight.

    Congratulations on your podcast launch, and I look forward to listening to your future episodes.