Chapter Leadership Brief 10.26.18

By Steve Jacobson

AFP-NYC Treasurer


It’s been two weeks since I attended the AFP Leadership Academy in Toronto and I’m still thinking about it.  I was joined there by fellow NYC chapter board members Veronica Bainbridge, Kerry Watterson and Sunil Oommen.  The four of us were proud to represent our chapter among the approximately 350 participants in this sold-out conference. 

So, why am I still thinking about the Leadership Academy? Well, I could say that the quintessential Canadian dish of poutine that I ate was incredibly memorable.  Or, I could say that the people of Toronto were so nice.  Both true.  But the real reason the Academy is till etched in my brain is that I was able to talk with so many other chapter leaders who understand the challenges we face and brainstorm with one another on ways to address those issues.

One of the themes of the Academy was Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) and how we, as chapter leaders, can better recognize, understand and correct the biases that exist in our world. Tujuanna Williams, the former Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Fannie Mae and who now heads up her own firm, engaged us in an enlightening and riveting session on the many forms that social injustice takes – and how we can overcome our “programmed” preconceptions to make IDEA a reality. As many of you know, our chapter is committed to IDEA and we are making huge strides in this area.

In addition to the more formal educational sessions, there was time set aside for leaders from like-size chapters to meet amongst themselves and discuss common topics and issues.  It was great to catch up with some of our friends from the DC and New Jersey chapters and get to meet others from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Toronto and Houston.  Despite the geographic distance separating us, there was a lot of common ground.  Websites, databases, membership, professional advancement, National Philanthropy Day… We touched ‘em all – and we learned a lot.

Speaking of learning, don’t forget our next professional advancement session, Pulling Back the Curtain on Donor-Advised Funds, being held at Scandinavia House on Thursday, November 8th at 8am.  Bring a guest for only $50!  And, please make sure that you mark your calendar for the NYC Fall Happy Hour on Wednesday, November 14th at Circa Brewing Company.  Come network with colleagues over some really great food and drink.  I hope to see you there!

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