♦ You became a nonprofit leader because you wanted to make a difference, but lately you doubt your abilities. There are only so many hours in the day. Your work feels routine, and more like you’re managing a business, than changing the world.
♦ The fulfillment you long for feels elusive. Sometimes you feel totally in your zone of genius, but more and more often you are feeling removed from fulfilling your mission and out of alignment with your core values.
♦ You’re persistently feeling there is more (or perhaps something different) you could be doing for your mission, for the world.
♦ And the world, well, it’s a mess and needs you! You can’t help but think that maybe there is an even bigger and bolder way to leverage your influence.
♦ You don’t have room on your plate to take on one more thing, let alone the resources and support you need.
♦ You have moments of seeing the next right step in front of you, but something prevents you from moving forward. It might be a sense that you’re on your own and shouldering all the decision making, which feels risky.
♦ You have noticed you see things differently than your board and staff. They’re more comfortable focusing on day-to-day concerns and are definitely more status quo oriented than change making.
♦ It all feels so overwhelming…and yet you believe there must be a better way (even if you’re not sure what it looks like). You long to step up and claim your leadership in a more authentic, visible, and vocal way that will advance your mission with greater impact in the world.
I was very appreciative for the coaching Laurel provided as we built our Advocacy Program. She helped our agency take our first big step in laying a strong foundation for our advocacy work by bringing to each coaching call a combination of strategic vision and a wealth of personal experience that made me feel supported.
I appreciated Laurel’s efforts to understand how our agency is organized and where we are starting from in order to give the best guidance on how to develop an Advocacy Program that will help us to make life better for the people we serve.
Laurel provided both encouragement and direction that kept me energized and enthusiastic about the work. In our initial sessions, she provided resources and asked questions that helped me think and rethink the best structure for our Advocacy Program. Without Laurel’s coaching I would have spent more time creating a structure that was more complicated than it needed to be and not as effective as it must be to engage the key stakeholders.
~ Laurel O’Sullivan
For two decades, I worked as a nonprofit lawyer and advocate; I often felt overwhelmed, under-resourced, and not as effective as I wanted to be. And I wasn’t alone. I began to notice that few organizations optimized or supported the development of their leaders so that they could maximize their influence and advance their mission in the most effective way.
Instead, what I observed, and experienced first-hand, were cultures that made it a badge of honor to be overworked, underpaid and underinvested in. Talk about a recipe for burn out.
As nonprofit leaders, we do some of the most important work there is, but we undervalue ourselves tremendously, and often remain invisible and voiceless in our own communities because of it.
Working with Laurel was eye-opening. The weekly coaching calls and materials she provided helped me understand that having our voice heard requires a clear and ongoing commitment. We have all these moving parts, but they aren’t necessarily working together as effectively as they could.
I now have a better understanding of how I can leverage my role to advance our organization’s influence and our voice.
Here’s what I learned and know to be true.
To be an influential nonprofit leader:
♦ Your voice can’t be heard if your organization is in overwhelm. It’s not enough to have a voice, your voice needs to be heard and it can’t if your organization is always in crisis mode or not on the same page.
♦ You need an aligned team and board to harness the full power of your organization’s influence. For your voice to be heard, you need to have a board that’s driven by a clear and meaningful purpose and champions within the organization to support you.
♦ You need resources to manifest your influence in the external world. You require funding to fuel ALL of your mission, and a clear strategy so that you can move beyond just serving your clients to impacting the world.
♦ And you need a pathway that helps you connect the dots between your leadership and your mission. One that is flexible enough to allow you to pivot, adapt, and adjust course as the landscape changes.
♦ And I’m here to help. With twenty years as a nonprofit lawyer, consultant, and trainer, I’m passionate about partnering with nonprofit leaders to accelerate and expand the impact they were put here to make. To know how to be advocates for themselves so they can help their organizations advocate in the world.
Hearing Laurel talk, about what advocacy is and isn’t, was eye-opening. She discusses the topic in a clear and matter-of-fact manner. Gaining momentum in the historic preservation community is really about working together to advocate for our shared goals. As a result of what we learned, the Historic Trust has decided to begin some advocacy working groups next fall with a goal toward enhancing the state’s historic perseveration image.
By providing you with 6 months of in-depth, heart-centered, individualized support to guide your goals from idea to reality.
For six months, we will work closely together to remove obstacles and implement a plan tailored to you.
Twice a month, we’ll have in-depth sessions to advance your progress and I’ll provide you with customized one-on-one support to help you achieve your goal of greater impact.
Month 1. Know Your Why: Defining Your Vision & Your Priorities
In order to know where you’re going as a leader within your organization, first you need to know where you’re starting and what your context is.
During this month together we will:
- Understand your individual strengths as a leader.
- Establish a clear personal mission statement and guiding vision.
- Identify where your strengths line up with your organization’s needs, and where there are gaps.
Month 2. Identify Individual and Organizational Blocks and Barriers (so That You Don’t Get Derailed and Can Have the Most Impact).
Every organization has a culture, whether they’re aware of it or not. No one person either defines nor can completely change what it is. And yet the beliefs and values that are inherent in it can present big challenges, especially for leaders hoping to implement change.
It’s important for us to distinguish which blocks and barriers are self imposed versus imposed from the organization because different strategies are required to address each.
During this month together we will:
- Identify any personal limiting beliefs and barriers and develop strategies and techniques to minimize or eliminate them.
- Identify possible cultural limitations, blocks or barriers & develop strategies and techniques to work around them.
- Develop a plan for addressing personal and organizational mindset shifts.
Month 3. Devise Your Powerhouse Support Network.
Leadership is not a solo job. It’s critically important to be supported and have others with influence to help advance your ideas. Developing those relationships both inside and outside of your organization is one of the keys to increasing your impact.
During this month together we will:
- Identify key relationships to foster to help advance your goals.
- Learn how to organize and engage your board to further support you.
Month 4. Design Your Impact Plan to Create the Influence & Resources You Need.
In this month, you will build upon the elements of the first three months to create a plan with a roadmap to move you toward fulfillment of your goals. The plan will provide you with clearly defined benchmarks for success, a time frame, and resources for attaining them.
During this month together, we will:
- Identify any key internal organizational components needed to anchor your idea and advance your influence within the organization and strategies for implementing them.
- Identify opportunities for extending your influence outside the organization and the strategies for implementing them.
- Develop a list of needed resources to support your activities to expand your impact along with the strategies to obtain them.
Months 5 & 6. Execute the Plan to Establish Your Influence
Here’s where it all comes together. You’ll begin implementing the plan and taking specific actions both inside and outside your organization to accelerate your influence and impact.
During these two months we will:
- Identify 2-3 key items from your plan to begin implementing.
- Weekly progress checks and bi-monthly sessions to adjust strategies and celebrate successes.
Laurel’s keynote message she delivered for our Southern Summit Conference was completely on target in its tone and tenor and was very relevant. In addition to her content expertise, Laurel was a pleasure to work with, smart and knowledgeable. She was extremely professional and truly the easiest part of planning the conference.
Dr. Camille Miller
This is an individual coaching program tailored to help you reach your unique goals.
At the core are bi-monthly, 1-hour virtual coaching calls that will allow us to dig deep together.
In between our calls, I’ll be supporting your efforts by sending you customized assignments including assessments, interactive exercises, and access to online content.
I can be a bit of an over-giver so I’m going to likely also make recommendations on books and articles that I think can further support our work together.
To break it down further:
- 12, one-hour, bi-monthly coaching sessions, recorded so you can revisit key moments and ahas at your convenience.
- Email support in between our sessions.
- Customized assignments, exercises, and online interactive content designed to facilitate building your impact.
- A customized Impact Plan to expand your influence both within and outside your organization.
- Customized assessments.
- Nonprofit professionals with increasing levels of leadership responsibility who have been in the game at least 5+ years and are seriously inspired to expand their influence and make a bigger impact.
- Leaders who know they bring a lot to the table, but may not be aware of their blind spots (or those of their organization) as much as they can be and want to realize their full potential.
- People who are coachable and willing to try new ways of thinking and behaving in pursuit of more impact.
- Creative, mission-driven people, willing to show up and do the work even when roadblocks appear, frustrations arrive, and life stays demanding.
- Professionals who are committed to investing financially in their growth and development and by extension that of their organization.
Laurel connected with our diverse audience of nonprofits and foundations during both her plenary and workshops. She connects the dots with advocacy in new and different ways. Our members were energized and engaged and the light bulbs went off as she shared case studies and framed advocacy in a unique and motivating framework.
I am a nonprofit coach, speaker, trainer and advocacy expert. I’ve inspired hundreds of nonprofit leaders with my keynotes, workshops, and trainings that equip and empower them to use their voice to move beyond fear and confusion to advance their mission.
I’ve spent nearly two decades as a nonprofit lawyer and senior association leader where I witnessed first-hand the transformation that occurs when your voice is aligned with your values and supported from within your organization.
I’m Certified to administer the Myers BriggsType (MBTI) Indicator tool.
I also hold a B.A. with honors in political science from Northwestern University and a J.D. with honors from Chicago-Kent IIT College of Law. And I’m a mom to 5 and love to challenge myself physically from time to time, whether with half marathons, a trail run, trekking through the mountains, or my latest endeavor, Crossfit.
As a result of attending the workshop today, I’ve been given some tools that will help define my own role within the organization, which in turn will make me a stronger advocate.
Here’s Really Why You Want Me as Your Coach and Guide
♦ I’ve earned my worth and I’ve under-earned.
♦ I’ve struggled with my own effectiveness even when I was in positions of great power.
♦ I’ve experienced the joy of being part of a mission-driven and aligned team, and the frustration of feeling alone in my efforts to align my work with the rest of my organization to maximize our collective impact.
♦ I spent five years leading an effort in my last position to accelerate this process and I want to share this with you.
♦ I also believe strongly in the power of truth telling, to myself and to you, in order to have the deep, important conversations that will allow for your inner voice to elevate your outer impact.
As a result of attending Laurel’s Demystifying Advocacy workshop, I have learned a lot about engaging my audience, including the essence of how to get more support from individuals/groups on the systemic level and the importance of doing a lot more outreach while also communicating our agency’s needs.
Want to Explore if We’re a Good Fit for One Another?
Let’s schedule a call where you’ll learn more about the program.
I have already shared some of this information (from the workshop) with my co-workers. I intend to further use this information to encourage local and federal legislators to hear the voices of our small business owners.