Our first interview about reflective practices in group work is with Brenda Solorzano, who is the CEO of the new Headwaters Foundation in Western Montana. So many of our readers have asked how do you reflect when your staff is small and multi-tasking all the time or when the board is just past start-up stage and anxious to move from planning to action or a new CEO has just arrived and feels the need to hit the ground running? Brenda and Headwaters offer us a chance to answer all these questions at once. – Jan Jaffe
Jan: Headwaters Foundation is very new – just making its first grants. How do you, as its first CEO, help your board and staff hold the space for reflection when there must be so much pressure to focus on translating strategy into action?
Brenda: Over the years in philanthropy, I’ve come to believe that there is a very direct relationship between good values and good strategy. As a result, I’ve tried to “flip the frame” around those initial exercises about mission, vision and values exercises. It’s so easy to check values off the to-do list and forget that they can be used to remind us about how we want to work together as well as what we do. Rather than thinking about a values statement as a problem to solve and move on, I make it about intentionality around the culture we are trying to build. Values shape strategy.