Vision Board...of Directors

Vision boards. 50-year-old moms spend days, WEEKS, piecing together giant collages of images and quotes soon after they experience their (probably first of many) mid-life crisis. When you notice her heading “off to cake decorating class” or investing in a $6,000 road bike, or dying a half-inch strand of hair orange, she has probably made a vision board. Mom captures her life’s purpose in magazine clippings on a bulletin board (which she stole from your brother’s room) and feels the motivation bubbling as she passes by its home on the kitchen wall. Maybe she’ll go sky-diving today. Thanks, Oprah.

I was recently reminded of this borderline senile activity by Leah Lundquist and Angie Brown during the afternoon session titled Leadership Among: Authentic Engagement and Co-Leading for Social Change. Courageously, Leah and Angie led the group through a series of activities that generated thoughts of purpose within leadership style. In lieu of community education classes and obscene purchases, the two ladies proposed we think of people in our lives. We were to create a vision board of directors: an elite team of thinkers and doers that support us as individuals in all our life endeavors. Who do you call on when you need to think through processes? Who is your go-to when you need a shoulder to sniffle on? Which co-worker serves as your cheerleader? I felt like I was captain, selecting the best for my dream team.

In fact, this kind of framework felt like the perfect model for an asset-map! Yippee! After the conference, I was jazzed. I carefully scrolled through my contacts – phone, email, other email, and other email. With each acquaintance, friend, and colleague, I identified strengths, areas of work, and interests. Back-burner projects and far-off possibilities were happily accompanied to the forefront by people whose talents and abilities I hadn’t thought to seek out. My daunting to-do list suddenly bloomed into exciting adventures to be divided and conquered. I only wish that Bill Murray was in my phone book. He would be an excellent addition to the team.

I challenge you to create a Vision Board of Directors. Unleash your strengths as a young nonprofit leader and engage authentically by empowering those around you and inviting the support of others. Don’t be that mom mapping out her life goals at the sweet age of 53. Do it now (and do the weird stuff), and call on others to help you.

Jenna Yeakle is completing her second year of AmeriCorps VISTA with the Minnesota Literacy Council this August. Jenna is a member of YNPN, a board member of YEP-TC, and part of Minnesota Rising’s Advanced Team. Upon service completion, Jenna tends to deepen her involvement in education, youth work, and community engagement.

Jenna received a scholarship for the MCN Nonprofit Essentials Conference as a member benefit of YNPN-TC. Thanks to Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for their partnership in providing discounted membership and scholarship tickets to YNPN-TC members.

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