WHAT THE FUNDRAISING

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77: Exploring Our Ego and Cultivating True Self Awareness with Kamilah Martin

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“Organizations that seem to do (transition) well are the ones that seem to recognize that they have the strengths that they have and be very vulnerable and honest about what they’re missing, instead of trying to pretend.”

– Kamilah Martin
Episode #77

Overview

In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

Perfectionism can be sneaky. We think we’re just working hard, doing our best, and tirelessly serving others. And we are. But, as my guest on this episode of  What the Fundraising points out, there can also be a lot of ego driving our behaviors and it needs to be explored. Kamilah Martin, Founder & CEO of Katalyst Consulting Group, leverages her decades of nonprofit experience to help align leaders in the sector – especially those whose organizations are experiencing transition. We are untangling the many ways that we can get in the way of our own best intentions – especially when we’ve got unexplored blind spots. That’s where a well-grounded executive coach can make all the difference, holding space for self-inquiry around deeply ingrained (often counter-productive) beliefs. The work is invaluable, says Kamilah, whose experience has been that self-aware leaders tend to be the most successful. Why? Because they bring a humanity-centered set of tools and solutions. 

Even when we’re doing all the work and showing up for ourselves the best we know how there are going to be emotional triggers. Fundraisers – like all humans – will always be a work in progress. This conversation nudges us to take some grace and loosen that perfectionistic death grip. Openness is like a breath of fresh air, plus it truly helps our organizations thrive.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

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Kamilah and Katalyst

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Many thanks to our incredible sponsors at DonorPerfect. DonorPerfect has a lot of free educational resources for fundraisers.  Learn more and download some of their guides and tools today at donorperfect.com/mallory.
  • A YouTube Video featuring Kathy Reich of the Ford Foundation on her vision for the future of philanthropy and how to make transformational systemic change.

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Get to know Kamilah:

Kamilah creates and builds high-functioning, effective, and happy teams & communities with equity, integrity, compassion, and humanity at the core. Having navigated the nonprofit world for 20 years, both as a nonprofit executive and as a nonprofit executive consultant, she started Katalyst in 2020 and has had the fortune of consulting for organizations and foundations around the country. With particular expertise in optimizing national virtual/remote environments, Kamilah partners with progressive and intentional nonprofit organizations and supports interim executive placements, human-centered culture building, program design and implementation. She is also an expert in creating safe communities for #boss women to thrive through our Katalyst Fill Your Cup retreats and Katalyst Nonprofit Consulting Mastermind Community, centering the needs and experiences of Black women and other women of color.

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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

MALLORY ERICKSON

episode transcript

Mallory Erickson  02:55

Welcome, everyone, I am so happy to be here today with Kamilah Martin. Kamilah, welcome to What The Fundraising.

Kamilah Martin  03:02

Hey, thank you. I’m excited to speak with you, Mallory.

Mallory Erickson  03:06

So let’s start with just telling everyone a little bit about you and your work. And what brings you to our conversation today?

Kamilah Martin  03:12

Sure, I am a former possibly recovering nonprofit executive who’s recently transitioned into an independent consulting. So I work with senior leaders and executives at nonprofit organizations, primarily supporting leadership transitions. It’s interesting, I transitioned into this space a couple of years ago, and it’s really allowed me the opportunity to play with a few things. So that’s one of the things I do, I also host executive women’s retreats, basically creating safe spaces for primarily Black and Brown women to come together and just basically be taken care of. And then also, I run a mastermind community for other nonprofit executives who are transitioning to independent consulting. It’s an interesting phase in my life, I’m experimenting with a lot of fun things. I’m leaning into some interests and passions, and just tapping into a bunch of experience. And it’s been great. So that’s who I am. So my company is Catalyst consulting. And I’m excited to have this conversation with you.

Mallory Erickson  04:07

Yeah. So before we clicked record, we were talking a little bit about what’s been top of mind for you recently, particularly around what’s happening in the executive leadership conversations you’ve been having. And this topic of ego came up and how women navigate ego in leadership positions. So why don’t you start us off by just talking a little bit about that, and what you were sharing with me?

Kamilah Martin  04:31

Yeah, so let me tell you why this came up. So I was taken couple days of R&R with a woman colleague, she’s a consultant. And I didn’t remember what our conversation was about. But every challenge that we were discovering that we were facing, for some reason, this thread of ego kept resurfacing and the conversation we were having, and how it can be a blocker. And then that got me thinking about a lot of the executives, I’ve worked with, my history and 20 years in the nonprofit sector, and how that seems to really be a root cause for leaders who’ve managed to lead and run teams and transition through change successfully. And those who, in my opinion, did it. I really feel like that’s an important factor. Once we have that conversation just became front of mind for me, it just made me check myself in relationship with my family and other people that I’m working with. Where just ego show up. And am I mindful of it? And am I aware of the power and control that it has over how I make decisions, that’s how it came about. And I’ve worked recently and consulted with several organizations who are going through some leadership transitions. And the ones like I mentioned before that seemed to navigate it successfully are the ones that know that they don’t have all the answers and are able to, again, take a pause and recognize when what showing up is really a solution to a problem, or them protecting something within themselves or trying to continue some sort of narrative that they might have for themselves. I would love to kind of explore this conversation with you this topic with you. I don’t know where it’s gonna go. But for whatever reason, it’s something that’s been coming to me a lot over the past couple of weeks, I think it’s valuable for leaders to kind of just take a look in a mirror sometime and say, Is this what’s really happening? Is this really real? Is it my perception? Is it my ego?

Mallory Erickson  06:14

I love it. Can we define ego, like for the purposes of this conversation, like how would you define ego?

Kamilah Martin  06:22

Oh, so sense of self, right? And the relationship between self and reality is how strongly self is showing up or in relationship to self and others. Ego to me just means how am I showing up in the space? What space am I taking up in this space? Am I aware of the variance perhaps between me and the space I’m taking up and how I’m moving through this space? And what the reality is or what someone else might be, just an awareness of self?

Mallory Erickson  06:50

Yeah, maybe you did look it up beforehand, because I just did. So we had it. But and the first definition that comes up is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. But what’s interesting to me about that is related to what you said before, the way that when ego really gets in the way of leadership is when we are protecting it at all costs. But then that makes me think that that’s because we have a very binary vantage point of what deserves our self-esteem or self-importance. So we must be valuing having all the answers as the thing worthy of giving us self-esteem, if not having all the answers would damage our ego. 

Kamilah Martin  07:40

I am recording, so I can go write that down. Absolutely. I think that’s exactly what it is. So I have an example of a transition where someone was exited from an organization, the executive director had a choice of how do you handle that situation, you can handle it with a sense of strength and perhaps, authoritarianism, if that’s the direction you can take, you can be overly vulnerable and too communicative about what’s happening. You can bring in outside expertise to support in that transition to understand maybe I don’t have all the answers, and there’s someone who is specialized in this area. And I think what’s been interesting, since I’ve been in this consulting space, which is we’re all coming in with our own expertise is, the organizations that seem to do it well, are organizations that recognize what they have, the strengths that they have, and then be very vulnerable and honest about what they’re missing. And instead of trying to pretend and be cheap about it, or act as though again, they have all the answers, they’re willing to find some help and think about ourselves, right? In personal relationships, if I’m lacking in something, therapy is what you do, I’m so grateful nowadays that we’re having those conversations more, there are people who are specialized in certain things, or people who have gifts that other people don’t have. And I think it’s smart, it’s good human practice to check yourself recognize what your self is in this situation, and get support if you don’t have it. 

So yeah, the ones that seem to have done it well either got support or had a really strong cohesive team internally, that were able to really again, pull on people’s strengths kind of within that space. And the board tends to be more supportive of those organizations or the board can tap into their resources often and bring people in or again, even use the board’s experience in these sorts of situations that keeps humanity first, like I’m always about keeping that perspective of keeping humanity first, I understand bottom line, understand strategy, understand donors, but I really feel like the ones that are successful are the ones that recognize that keep humanity and people and spirits and energy, like all part of that priority list. I don’t know where we went with this. But that’s an example that I have of ones that seem to do it right. And the ones that don’t do it, right are ones that think they know everything, maybe that’s why it’s been top of mine, I’ve seen lots of turnover happening within our field, it’s happening everywhere, people are really searching for spaces where they can feel that they can be their full selves, or they can use their strengths where they feel supported. And I really think in our industry, in particular, because a lot of us go into it with altruistic reasons and very feeling, needing to feel a connection to the mission and the people and the organization, it can really do us a disservice if we’re not paying attention to how we’re showing up how our leadership is they’re not.

Mallory Erickson  10:28

You know, what you’re also making me think about is that, I think in the nonprofit sector, actually, because there is a lot of altruism happening. And because there is a lot of helper energy amongst the leadership, I think we see a lot of deflection around the need to look at ego, because we’re martyring ourselves for our mission. And so we don’t like of course, this wouldn’t be about me, because I’m sacrificing myself on the line for this cause. And when I see toxic ego in organizations, it’s very much related to the relationship between those things. It’s actually I think, a little bit less about, I think, I know all the answers and more about deep down, I don’t feel the sense of importance that I want to feel. And so I’m protecting that with all my might. And I’m not looking at it deeply because I feel like I have a good case for why this isn’t about me.

Kamilah Martin  11:27

Yeah, I’d agree with that. And I would say that organizations whose founders are still involved is a whole other beast of that puzzle. Those are some of the trickiest spaces to navigate. I think around this whole ego conversation. When does it shift from the me to the we? But yeah, I 100% agree with that assessment as well. It’s an interesting space that we work in. I think every organization I’ve been in, in the nonprofit space, and there have been a lot. For the most part, it’s good people trying to do good. And I think the misstep is the projection.

 

Mallory Erickson  11:58

Yeah, I think there’s a lot of systemic issues in our sector that lead to people being on the defense in a lot of different ways. And so I think that’s also the hard piece around the ego conversation is on the one hand, we want to be building up the self-confidence of leadership in the sector. That’s really important. But to me Self-confidence is knowing who you are as a leader, standing in integrity and alignment, not knowing everything but knowing who you are. And that means knowing what you know, and knowing what you don’t know or sometimes not knowing what you don’t know, but being willing to hear it and take accountability for it. But that’s different because it’s about building inside instead of a projection of importance externally.

Kamilah Martin  12:45

Yes. Let’s talk about the systemic stuff. Let’s talk about the power dynamic between the nonprofit and the funders. How does ego play into how, you know there’s a big conversation that’s happening now about you decentering foundations and philanthropy decentering themselves and making the grant making processes more democratic or valuable and effective for those who are out there actually doing work. And there’s some great articles that came out recently, Kathy Reed from Ford Foundation, just put something out there that was really insightful around the way that her build program, the ILD program at Ford is trying to flip some of the traditional ways of grant making on its head. I think there’s some other organizations out there that are trying to get on board get on the train of recognizing that they have that power dynamic very clearly, and ways that you can see very directly systemic issues within the fields again, ego, how does it play into that power dynamic? And how does it play into the way that our industry and field has set up some of those systemic theories and challenges. And then we can talk about, of course, the differences in funding for organizations led by black people and people of color, those disparities and how ego kind of played, it’s a big thing. And I think self-awareness, self-reflection is all the rage. And I really think the industry as a whole has work to do in terms of how we get our work done. who’s benefiting? Who’s pulling the strings, these big kind of Galas? Is a purpose of them really serving the purpose, is it to serve the self and the ego, there’s so much conversation I think we can have about this. 

I think it extends through so many systems and structures in the business world, like now that I’m an entrepreneur and kind of exploring the space, it’s really interesting to see a lot of the similarities and venture capital and how you can get indoors and in rooms and network, the social capital. So this conversation is going deep, fast.

Mallory Erickson  14:35

That’s what we tend to do. But we’ve never really talked specifically about ego on here. I feel like it’s been a thread that showed up in different conversations, but not particularly highlighted. I’m curious with your clients, if someone heard this conversation and came to you and said, Okay, I want to talk about ego, like I want to start process, my own relationship with ego, how would you guide them to start looking in a mirror around that?

Kamilah Martin  15:02

I advise him to get an executive coach, I think there are a lot of good ones out there. I don’t do that. I’ve seen the impact. I will say of someone working with a good executive coach, I don’t know who to how to direct people to find the good and the not good. But I think some keys are, what is that executive coaches experience? Have they run through the ranks? Or have they just completed a coaching program, not to diss that but I think there’s something about lived experience, it’s really valuable in particularly this kind of conversation, to get therapists, honestly, because a lot of that self-work is it can be in addition to coaching. I think in this time that we’re in, this is just a season of self-actualization like evolving, the ones that are going to come out of this ready for the next thing, whatever that is, in our universe are going to be the people that really took the time to question and really look at and understand their role in this space. And by the space, I mean, their existence in this time in our lives. And then what self-work are you doing to improve yourself, your inner circle relationships, your professional relationships, because all of that stuff starts to interweave and trickle together. Get a coach, get a therapist, do some self-work, and then expand it outside of that, because it has to start with you. I’ve also seen this where leaders will bring in experts to work on their team, and they’re sort of removed from that process. And I think it has to be an integrated process. You have to be going through some of this work yourself. Because chances are if you were to really look at them here, a lot of us are the roots f some of the patterns that we see within our organizations.

Mallory Erickson  16:32

Yeah. Okay, I want to share a coaching concept with you and get your opinion on it related to ego. I’ve never thought about it this way before. Okay, so at the beginning of the conversation you were talking about I don’t know if you use this word particularly but it came up for me when you were talking about the role ego plays in delicate situations, like a transition, for example. And what it made me think about is how one of the ways I would say I am having a healthy relationship to my ego in the moment is if I have clarity around something, and if I see multiple pathways. One of the things I think about and I’m a certified executive coach, and I’m always being coached, like that’s what I’d say, I believe, like you in coaching for everybody. If I could just give executive coaching to everybody, that would be a life dream. But one of the concepts that I think about is that okay, when we are in a protection mode, like an ego protection mode, things become very binary and very black and white and there’s one right way, and that tends to be our way, is the right way. But things are very tunnel vision. And when I feel that in myself, I can tell, okay, I’m trying to protect something right now in my coaching framework, we call that catabolic energy, like there’s a lot of resistance that’s happening there. And it’s like, I’m trying to protect something, something feels unsafe around me, exploring my vulnerability with that piece. And when I feel like I’m having a healthy relationship to my ego, is when I see a prism of opportunities, and I feel a sense of clarity. And I feel a sense of openness. And I’m just curious. Yeah, first of all, how that sort of resonates with you even as a concept?

Kamilah Martin  18:17

Yeah, I think it’s brilliant to tie it back to just personal experiences, but doing a lot of like, again, self- work, and thinking about security and safety and all that kind of stuff. In the end, like you said, the way the way it shows up in other ways to behave and react in ways that aren’t really aligned with reality, right? Perception versus reality. I think that’s absolutely the case. And I think from this conversation, one thing that I could do for myself is just simply ask myself, okay, like you said, What am I protecting here? Or what’s making me feel unsafe? I think from your coaching perspective, that’s something every leader can be mindful of, those are two very simple questions, right, that I think when there’s conflict, or when you’re experiencing significant conflict, or patterns of conflict, that seem to be the same thing. Those are two very simple questions, I think that you can pause and take a step back, and ask yourself that I think will provide so much clarity around why perhaps you’re showing up a certain way? Or what additional resources you might need to feel safe and to feel protected? 

Is it something that’s within your control or something that’s outside of your control? And what is within your control to change in that moment? Right. So yeah, I think that’s a brilliant alignment between what we were talking about and very concrete, specific coaching practices you can do in the moment, or even like in the moment, if you’re blowing up when you’re reflecting after the fact be able to ask yourself those questions, and then have the maturity and the emotional intelligence to repair whatever wounds you might have caused. So it resonates definitely with me.

Mallory Erickson  19:45

Can we talk about that piece, the way that leaders can sit in uncomfortable situations to take accountability around something without it becoming a ruminating self-critic, beat yourself up about this for the rest of your life you’re a bad person thing?

Kamilah Martin  20:06

That’s a good question. I think that’s a big question. And I think that’s part of the self-work. Not everybody is naturally equipped with that ability, again, because of whatever past baggage they might be bringing to the table or with the ability to kind of just be in that moment and to be mindful and still that moment. There’s two examples that come to mind. I was in a board meeting one time and things were really strange and crazy, and the interim Ed,  she just stabilize everything and deflected and just required people to take stock and where we were in this moment. And what was really happening. I just thought her approach was just so brilliant in that moment. But it took an incredible level of self-restraint, and also mindfulness like she had to have some practices in something to be able to help her not absorb everything that was going on around her that was just incredibly toxic. And I don’t know how to answer that question. Unfortunately, I think it really goes back to the practices that you were doing as a leader to protect your peace, so that you make sure in those moments, you can take a step back, but nobody’s perfect. I’ve blown up with my husband, it’s really hard when you’re feeling pushed and triggered to sit there in a space of kind of attention and mindfulness and just be in that space. But I think the difference is, again, the recovery. You can be human, you can make those mistakes, but you’ve got to be able to go somewhere and reflect on what happened and then be able to come back and heal and recover from it and apologize, and that takes work that takes coaching, that takes therapy, that takes a level of peace that I think as humans like we should be striving for in general. Imagine if all of us sort of had that training and wherewithal growing up throughout our lives where the world could be, but we all don’t. And it’s hard. And coaching is expensive at times. And so it’s therapy. So there’s all these barriers, I think, to getting there. But I think having that awareness, if that’s the kind of leader that you think is effective, and the kind of leader you want to be figuring out how to do that work.

Mallory Erickson  21:56

Yeah, I think what I really appreciate and want to double click on with what you were saying is this awareness that all leaders, I’ve never met a leader who doesn’t get triggered by something. Every leader has their buttons. And I think what I see a lot in my coaching work is that sometimes folks will say after a certain amount of time, well, I feel like that shouldn’t have bothered me anymore. Now that I understand all these things, and I know all this stuff about myself and I’m like your deepest wound, your deepest inner grumbling that tenderness doesn’t go away. The amount of time you spend circling around that tenderness can shift and change and you can have skills to see it and move beyond it and take the microphone away and all those things. But I think we have this perception and maybe this goes back even to that ego thing, what we believe to be a strong leader then sort of enforce the perception, we want to give off as a leader, which is never doubt yourself, never feel uncomfortable, never get activated in public. And I’m not saying there isn’t backlash to those things, particularly on systemic oppression lines. But I think for people to know that they’re not alone in that being true, that it doesn’t mean they are bad leader because those things happened and that the leadership is in the recovery is a really powerful concept.

Kamilah Martin  23:21

Absolutely. And it’s so true, you can have the healthiest culture and environment and organization and mess up. And it’s just all about how you repair is what I’ve seen. I’ve done it, I’ve messed up, what tends to I think we to my success, really in leading teams and organizations. One is I out the gate, I don’t come in pretending to know everything I come in very strongly what I’m strong in, and I allow other people to show up and highlight and be successful in the areas that they are successful in. We’re human and there has to be some grace for that too. And I think a lot of us have a need to be perfect, just show up in this space, needing to prove something or feeling like we need to be something or live up to something as opposed to just showing up this space as someone who’s strong in areas and a work in progress, and others. And our job is to build the people in teams around us and to create the culture and environment around us to allow people to thrive in that humaneness state. Reaching towards similar goals, resolving challenges and issues with empathy and care and making it sound really simple and basic. But isn’t it? Shouldn’t it just be that simple of being human doing the right thing, taking care of people. How would you want to be treated like all of those things we grow up learning, I guess sometimes gets lost when you’re looking at bottom lines, and you’re under pressure and trying to do reporting and things like that to funders, but I just feel like it doesn’t have to be that difficult.

Mallory Erickson  24:43

Yeah, I think you know, it’s interesting, because I often say related to fundraising, that it’s not actually that you need all these new things, you don’t really need all these new strategies, what you need is removal of the things that are getting in your way of doing those things. And I think that’s the same thing here. It is pretty simple. What gets in the way is when we don’t feel like we’re enough. And then we set up all these things to prove to everyone that we’re enough. And in doing so we cause tons of harm. We hoard power, we hoard resources. I would say that one of my big untangling with perfectionism came to my personal anti racism work and recognizing the way that like my perfectionist tendencies, were harming people.

Kamilah Martin  25:32

I think that’s what we all should be doing. Some people have different baggage and things that they need to kind of untangle and privilege that they need to reconcile, everyone has some level of privilege, that’s a belief that I have. I was having a conversation with a friend about how I was able to transition into this consulting space. And honestly, like, it’s because one of the first jobs I had at a college contributed 15% of my salary to retirement. And it’s done fine for the last 10, 15 years. So I had a cushion. So that’s my privilege. Like I’m out here saying I’m able to pursue liberation, because I know I have that cushion and that safety net that most other people probably don’t have. So everybody has privilege. And I do think a lot of it is around unpacking various things that we need to untangle.

Mallory Erickson  26:15

Yeah, there’s so many layers to it. I’m curious, something that you said maybe before we clicked record was around the relationship between ego and trust. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Kamilah Martin  26:27

Yeah, so I run this company. I have one part time staff person. I have a bunch of vendors and contractors that we hire for our various workshops and things. My kids last two weeks of summer break. 

And the first real summer break I’ve had as a real entrepreneur, I started the mastermind group we do in January of this year. So I had to really reconcile wanting to disconnect but also wanting to make sure stuff ran the way I wanted it to run. I found myself this ego thing came up in that moment too. So I’m like okay, I have to again,  decenter, my expectations decenter, this bam bam, bam stuff that I know needs to happen, my sense of perfectionism and need for things that need to happen and trust that my fabulous part time administrative colleague is going to handle it. I set her up since we started working together hopefully in a position to be able to thrive and succeed without me breathing down her neck. And I don’t think I’m that kind of manager in general. It was a moment where I really did have to stop and say okay, I would like to take these two weeks off and be with my kids. I wasn’t perfect at it. Like I’m on my phone, checking stuff and worrying about how the mastermind group is going and I had to realise that, in that space, I had created this thing. It’s not about me, it’s about how we’re helping these women, I brought up an incredibly capable person to support and I’m gonna let her do it. I’m gonna let her do her thing. And I thought as leader of my company, I keep doing this. Like it’s a legit, it’s a company…

Mallory Erickson  27:53

You are, yes. [laughs] You are actually the leader of your company.

Kamilah Martin  27:59

As a leader of my company, I had to just see, okay, stepping back, and trusting that she could handle it. And I’ve had managers who never had trust, who never have the ability to step back and take a vacation, or who think they don’t have the ability to step back and take a vacation because they’re gonna come back to a bajillion emails or something’s gonna go wrong. I turn that on self like safety protection, like, what about you makes you feel you can’t turn off? What about me made me feel like I wanted to check in to see how many people showed up for the mastermind webinar. And so again, constantly untangling, unpacking all of that stuff. And I really think, again, going back to leadership, do you center yourself when needed, and trust yourself that you’ve built a capable group and team to run the things when they need to be run in your absence. And of course, that can’t happen all the time. But for your own sort of self-protection, and self-care, like you need to be able to keep those two things in line so that you can be full. 

Mallory Erickson  29:02

Yeah. And I wonder how do you think about supporting a leader to have a healthy relationship with ego in relationship to their board. Like you brought up that example before, but one of the things that was so hard for me as a nonprofit leader, when I was running an organization was the board. And I had actually like a pretty wonderful board, I had one very toxic board member, and I had 12 wonderful board members. But what was challenging was that they were 13 very different people, which meant they all always had different opinions around different things. And whether I was doing a good job or did the right thing, or did the wrong thing. And to have 13 bosses to always feel like you were disappointing someone, the people pleaser in me had a really hard time with it. And I struggled to have a healthy relationship with my ego, in the midst of management from 13 different people. I’m curious what comes up for you, when you hear that?

Kamilah Martin  30:04

We need to have an entirely different podcast to talk about relationship between the executive directors and boards and the relevance of boards in our day and age. Like I have very strong opinions on the experiences I’ve had in the sector, with the idea of boards of directors, how they can be most effective and how more frequently they can be detrimental. So again, I feel like that’s a whole topic to have. There’s people who go through kind of board leadership training and a lot of EVs, do sort of like a lot of trust base and culture base building of the board, if they have the support of their board chair, leading that effort, when a new ED comes on board or when new board members come on board, they do a refresher. I think that’s a basic way to kind of be that kind of culture, trust power dynamic. But that is a big question. And I think again, it we can have an entire conversation about that. I don’t have an answer for that. And that’s something that is one of those things where I’m like, something’s broken here. I don’t know the answer other than completely uprooting the way the 501 C-3  legal structure is required. And you know, I don’t know if it’s different because I haven’t had experience in for profit boards. But I don’t know if it’s different because it’s a volunteer position in nonprofit spaces versus with corporate boards, you have, again, the bottom line to kind of help make decisions. It’s about are we making profit or are we not? Are our shareholders making profit? Are they not? So it makes it more black and white and cut and dry and some sort of other unhealthy ways. But the nonprofit board ED dynamic and just structured system is just something I think we need to evaluate. And I think it’s counterintuitive to mission driven organizations, I think, in a lot of ways. 

I’ve seen one healthy nonprofit board in my entire 20 year career that I’ve worked in nonprofits. I don’t know why they were so healthy when every single other one I’ve seen had very strong, unhealthy elements to it. Maybe two, there have been two. I know, that’s a big question. That’s a good question. And I think it’s something that we need to be exploring in our space, because so much starts and ends with the board in terms of how much money you can raise, how much you can work towards your mission, how frequently the ED turns over, and then that trickles down, of course, to the organization. The board needs to be an entire discussion.

Mallory Erickson  32:18

Yeah, it probably needs to be an entire mini-series. And so at the end of the show, I’ll invite folks to send me a little voice note around your top board questions and challenges and we can use that as a jumping off point maybe to have a larger conversation and bring in different folks. Kamilah, thank you so much for this conversation today. And really for all of the ways in which you are getting leaders and systems to think differently about different ways that they can sort of show up and be the embodied and aligned versions of themselves. So really, thank you

Kamilah Martin  32:53

Thank you. It’s interesting how I’ve landed in this place in my career, but it’s my goal really, just to help people be the best versions of themselves. And I value the nonprofit sector. I’ve been in it since I was 21 or 22 years old. So I think it’s an important space. And we have a lot of good things that we’re doing and also a lot of work to be done.

Mallory Erickson  33:13

Yeah. And I’ll make sure all the links are below for your website and your LinkedIn profile so folks can connect with you and learn more about the mastermind group. So we’ll have all that below. Folks should go and check it out. And thank you so much.

Kamilah Martin  33:26

Thank you, Mallory. Take care.

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