When it is Time to Step Aside
Amy Little, current CEO of the Idaho Nonprofit Center
I’ve often repeated this phrase to colleagues from time to time, and it is one of many principles that I believe deeply in: every leader has an expiration date. There comes a time for all of us when – in taking a deep breath and a long look at where we are and most importantly where we’ve been – we realize that a new leader with fresh ideas and a different skill set is needed to take our organization to the next level.
It is with a mix of sadness and excitement that I share this news: that time has come for me at the Idaho Nonprofit Center. I’ve accepted a position as the business consulting manager with MoFi in their Boise office. The past five years here at the Center have been one of tremendous growth both personally and professionally but mostly in our team’s collective achievements.
I am beyond proud of where the Center is today and I know that in the hands of the next capable leader, this team and board will take this amazing organization to places I never could have dreamed. I receive a lot of credit for being a great leader, but in all honesty, it is the team here at the Center and our incredible board of directors who share in the credit. We succeed as a team, always.
"We succeed as a team, always."
A good leader supports the board in their role of governance, strategy, and care and keeping of the mission. A good leader hires great people to do their work and gets out of their way. A good leader removes roadblocks, supports the team and board in their growth, and ensures that the strategic plan is executed. A good leader is not out front, but leads from behind and allows those in their care to flourish.
While I’m not perfect at all of these things, I certainly have tried my best. To me, one of the most important things is for a leader to recognize when it’s time for them to move on. Sometimes that happens when you are burned out or sometimes it’s when you no longer feel the same passion for the mission. Neither of these are true in my case. For me, it was a recognition that for all the skills, experience, and knowledge that I have, I’ve pretty well accomplished what I can do in this role.
I wish I could definitively say that I’m good at everything, I’m not. As much as I’m a jack of almost all trades and a master of none (aren’t all nonprofit leaders?). I am deficient in certain places, and when those skills are needed to move forward, it’s a hard but honest conversation to have with oneself: is it, or is it not, time for me to go? It is my time.
"I am leaving on the heels of one of the most challenging and yet rewarding years in the Idaho Nonprofit Center's history."
I am leaving on the heels of one of the most challenging and yet rewarding years in the Idaho Nonprofit Center’s history. I am leaving the organization in arguably the best financial position we’ve ever been in. I am leaving a strong, passionate, motivated, and highly capable staff in place. I am leaving a dedicated and wonderful board of directors. We’re celebrating our twenty year anniversary this year and starting strategic planning once again for the next few years.
In other words, I’m going out on top. I am not leaving because of challenges with the board, or my staff, or because we’re struggling financially. But friends, that is the way it should be. As I learned as a Camp Fire girl years ago, try to leave everything a little better than you found it. I did. And I’m proud.
We will be sharing more information about my transition and the next steps for ensuring the Center has a leader to support the board, the team, and the mission as soon as we have put the finishing touches on the plan. So please stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
"...try to leave everything a little better than you found it."
In closing, I would like to thank each and every one of you: our nonprofits, members, business supporters, donors, board, and staff. I could not have asked for a better experience leading the Idaho Nonprofit Center for the past five years. I’m leaving on a high note, going out on top, and looking forward to watching the Center continue to flourish under new leadership.
I hope I will always be a part of the Center. Unquestionably, it will always be a part of me.
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