Transferring leadership skills

Nov 13, 2009

Want to expand your leadership skills where it really makes a difference? Consider getting involved on a nonprofit board.

For the last five years, we have been introducing Amway executives to the world of nonprofit board service, and continue to be amazed at the process … and the outcomes.

These seasoned business leaders are not always familiar with nonprofit structures and social systems. Nonprofits are under constant pressure to secure funding, as well as serve their clients in the best and most effective manner. They often do so with a volunteer workforce and a shoestring budget that is dependent on multiple funding sources. Working with nonprofit organizations at the leadership level stretches executives to think in new ways and understand the interconnected systems of community social structures.

Yet business executives bring a lot to the table. It is often their strategic, creative and communication skills that help nonprofit organizations think in a new way that increases efficiency and deepens community impact. We see a lot of our executives move into larger leadership roles in a very short time. They begin chairing committees, planning events, participating in strategic planning, and often becoming chair of the board.

We hear so many stories of Amway leaders emerging as leaders in community organizations. One of our executives helped to align the logistical operations of an organization and build alliances with other similar service providers. Another led a fundraising event that resulted in the biggest fundraiser the organization had ever held. One executive recently opened her home to invite prospective donors and raise visibility of the organization she is involved with.

There is a lot of value for board members too – networking, skill building, and exposure to areas you might not experience in your business role. They continue to sign up to get involved. Currently we have more than a third of our executives serving on local nonprofit boards, and all of our senior executives are on at least one board.

Community leadership is not seen as a mandate, but instead it has become a part of our culture and a way to deepen volunteer opportunities. Our senior leadership leads by example. Our president co-chairs a coalition to support early childhood development, and our chairman recently led a campaign to build a new hospital. Both serve on numerous boards and often schedule their international travel and business meetings around their community commitments.

I suspect that there are a lot of Amway Independent Business Owners volunteering and serving in community leadership roles as well. (If you have a story, please share!)

It’s a natural extension of generous giving and volunteering, and one of the best ways to stretch you as a leader.


    • Guest says:

      Amway IBOship is a blessing in disguise with such intangible rewards. I consider it a privilege to own and operate my own Amway business as it helps me to take the "ME" out of the equation and instead focus on others. This philosophy spills over to the community volunteerism so easily. Thank you for all you do!

    • Jason Wilton says:

      Great post.  Was just thinking about how so many people spend so much time developing these valuable skills and then fail to utilize them in other areas of their lives. Working with a great non-profit is a wonderful way to put those skills to use.

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