It is with great excitement that I begin my tenure as the interim Executive Director for JAWS. I come to JAWS with a vast amount of experience in association and transition management. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to support the mission of JAWS and will focus on strengthening the organization’s capacity and infrastructure as we prepare for future growth. My priorities include supporting the Board’s governance, fund development and strategic planning efforts, as well as strengthening JAWS’ programming, partnerships and joint initiatives.
During my tenure leading nonprofits, I’ve seen organizations become most creative, nimble and resilient during the most challenging of times. As JAWS evolves, we will be most successful if we are intentional about listening and engaging with our members, adding more value to our programs and services, and strengthening our governance and infrastructure.
If there’s one thing that has been true throughout my career, it’s that no two days are ever the same. Fortunately, that’s one of the things I like most about what I do. In my 20+ years working with and for associations I have learned that change is the only constant thing that we can count on. Often the changes we face are due to forces beyond our control. JAWS must continually adapt and respond to changes in funding priorities, community needs and leadership. The more that JAWS, as a community, can acknowledge, accept and respond strategically to these changes, the stronger we all become. I truly believe that adaptability is critical to the mission, impact and organizational success of JAWS.
An important step toward creating a strategic organization is building critical thinking and that is most readily developed by engaging all stakeholders in the planning process. I will be working side-by-side with the JAWS leadership to create impactful strategies and strengthen organizational values that will keep our members engaged, involved and more actively participating in the JAWS community.
It is common for many organizations to default to reporting progress on issues rather than practicing active engagement, two-way communications and seeking of input. I will personally engage in lots of active listening to understand what our members, stakeholders, partners and leaders want and need from JAWS, and will ensure that this feedback is utilized to develop strategy and guide decision-making.
We will be reaching out to all of you to share your ideas, thoughts, concerns and suggestions. I ask for the opportunity to allow the JAWS leadership to renew the faith and trust of our members to be able to plan and act accordingly on behalf of our members. People are more likely to support change when they are part of the process, when their ideas are valued and concerns are addressed. When we start to engage in regular dialogue and value all perspectives, it will increase commitment and decrease resistance.
YOU as our membership are the solution to creative input for solving complex issues in creative ways. YOU can trust that change will lead us to growth.
I look forward to this important work and appreciate your continued support and commitment to JAWS. I also look forward to meeting many of you at this year’s CAMP in September 2019. Stay tuned for many more exciting and progressive updates in the weeks and months ahead.
Eloiza Altoro, MS CAE
Interim Executive Director