Why Me, Why Here, Why Now?

May 10, 2013

Historic Banning Mills

Historic Banning Mills

This week I have spent my days in the woods at Historic Banning Mills with the 2013 class of the Southeastern Council of Foundation’s Hull Fellows.

The experience has been very meaningful for me, both within the context of the Southern philanthropy we are charged with stewarding and within the framework of personal leadership development.

Not a day goes by when I am not extremely grateful for the responsibilities with which I have been entrusted, as a caretaker of donor funds intended to make our community and nonprofits strong.

Many of our conversations at the retreat this week transcend the role of foundations in philanthropy and speak to you as well—as leaders, program staff and board members of nonprofit organizations and as donors supporting those organizations.

Here are some gems for your Friday, borrowed from conversations with Janine Lee, president and CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations and Alicia Philipp, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta:

  • Take your work very seriously; take yourself less seriously.
  • Learn something from everyone.
  • Surround yourself with smart people. Hire people smarter than you.
  • Be more than your job.
  • And my personal favorite…do something every month that makes you want to throw up.

Finally and most importantly, check in with your position at your organization (or the organization you support) from time to time.

  • Why me?
  • Why here?
  • Why now?

Do the answers to these questions affirm where you are and what you are doing? If not, remember these positions in philanthropy are privileged. Be good to yourself and to your organization. The day you stop loving your job is the day it’s time to move on to a new adventure.

Looking forward to coming home to Sarasota!

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


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