I’ve had many opportunities over the years to experiment with, and cultivate an approach to leadership that is flexible, situational and responsive.
My natural leadership style is “Transformative” in nature. When working with a high-functioning, highly-motivated and well trained team, I prefer to empower my team to be included in setting objectives, benchmarks and timelines during the planning phase of projects. If given the choice, I would always rather have people work WITH me instead of FOR me.
This requires a pro-active approach to "get the right people on the bus” (to quote Jim Collins) from the outset, and be able to trust the team to have the same dedication to the organizational mission and the outcomes of any projects undertaken. I value communication; a successful team operating in this way depends upon clear, open and positive culture of communication. This is a natural extension of my personality and approach to human relationships. For me the best way to grow is to support the growth of those around you; let them inspire you.
LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE SUMMARY
Long Tom Watershed Council (2015-Present)
Executive Director (October 2016 - Present)
Oversees 10 staff and a board of 13
Willamette Valley Oak & Prairie Collaborative - Steering Committee
Willamette River Anchor Habitats Working Group - Steering Committee
Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Upper Willamette - Project Lead
Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the Long Tom - Co-Lead w/ professional staff
Rivers To Ridges Partnership - Executive Team
Upper Willamette Stewardship Network - Core Team
Within Our Reach Conference - Planning Committee [2016 & 2018]
Director of Development & Communications (April 2015 - October 2016)
Directed fundraising strategies & communications plan
Urban Waters & Wildlife Program Manager
Cascadia Wave (2017-Present)
Board of Directors
Willamette Kayak & Canoe Club (2016-2017)
Board of Directors: Secretary
Membership of approximately 300 paddlers in Oregon
PAWS University of New Hampshire Freshman Orientation (2014)
Trained and directly managed 10 backpacking student leaders
Trained and directly managed 30 basecamp student leaders
Outdoor Adventures University of New Hampshire Campus Recreation Program
Trained and directly managed 6 student trip leaders
Trained and directly managed 7 student staff at the Mendums Pond Recreation facility
The Glacier Institute Big Creek Camp (2013)
Coordinated and lead backpacking trips with 8-10 youth participants in a backcountry setting
Different ages and group dynamics dictate flexibility with leadership styles for group safety
The Watershed Education Network (2011-2012)
Hired and directly guided the projects of several University of Montana Interns
Directly managed volunteers on tasks in the office, at events, and in the field
Touch The Earth – Georgia State University Campus Recreation Program (Summer 2011 – Summer 2012)
Directly managed 8 student staff at the campus recreation and gear rental office
Managed and collaborated with 40+ volunteer trip leaders
Planned, coordinated and executed backcountry rafting, canoeing and kayaking trips/courses for college students with delegated group responsibilities, multiple co-leaders and a mix of staff and volunteer team members
Directly managed staff on a major inventory surplus project through the State of Georgia procurement system
Investment Planners, Inc (2007-2011)
Managed staff in execution of a large-scale data/file management project including the conversion of tens-of-thousands of hard-copy client data into digital form
Created a work-flow model and managed its roll-out and implementation with point-of-service staff, back-end staff and coordinating client expectations
From 2004 through early 2011, I was involved in many community development projects, events, initiatives, committees and boards.Throughout dozens of these projects I had the privilege of guiding complex projects from the ground up, as well as cultivating a comfort with “Active Followership” (a NOLS leadership concept) to work with organization and community leaders and experts toward common goals. Details of some of those projects can be found on my projects and fundraising pages.
A FLEXIBLE LEADERSHIP APPROACH
It may not always be possible for a high-functioning and seasoned team to be involved in important projects. Non-Profits often rely upon volunteer, seasonal and temporary staff to accomplish organizational goals. In those instances, I have a natural comfort with identifying needs for more structure and guidance in leading and managing the expectations of my team. A transformative approach lends itself well to shifting subtly to a more “Participatory” approach, wherein team members are given clear goals and expectations with freedom to operate within those guidelines that best suit their unique skills and motivations. This style also depends upon a culture of clear communication, and empowering team members to give feedback to adjust expectations, strategies or goals throughout the process.
Sometimes, team dynamics or abilities suggest that a Transformative or Participatory style may be appropriate during planning or brainstorming phases of a project, but that a more “Paternalistic” approach may be necessary during an implementation phase. My time working with youth and student volunteers and employees has suggested that this shift in approach may sometimes be necessary to add structure and rigidity to timelines and expectations for deliverables. Put simply, changing conditions may call for changing approaches to team management and a variety of experiences has allowed me opportunities to experiment with navigating those shifts smoothly while maintaining credibility, authority, and most importantly, respect of my team. There have been times when I have failed at navigating those shifts in difficult conditions or with difficult team dynamics, we don’t always have the “dream team” at our disposal and unfortunately sometimes an authoritative style feels like the only way to get the job done . But those situations lend themselves well to reflection, consideration, learning and growth.
Every leadership opportunity is different. Ultimately, I believe that the best leadership style is an attentive and flexible approach to changing conditions and team dynamics. The difference between a leader and a boss is that a boss sets a course or approach and expects the staff to bend to fit that approach, while a leader can recognize the unique talents and personalities of their team to facilitate and empower the best possible performance from that team.