Alaska: And The Earth Shook Under My Feet | Beth's Blog

Alaska: And The Earth Shook Under My Feet

Personal Reflections


Yesterday afternoon during the ForakerGroup 2010 Nonprofit Leadership Summit,  I experienced my first Alaskan earthquake (4.9).    I was scared – the floor swayed and I felt like I was on boat.   Ironically, it was during a session facilitated by Phil Klein called “Tackling the Unexpected” who shared insights about he took back his life after surviving a cancer diagnosis.

Theme of the Leadership Summit was wellness for the field, community, and individuals.  Dennis G. McMillian (above), President and CEO of the Foraker Group, welcomed everyone to the conference.   He also showed off the Foraker Groups socks that are intended to get people out and walking and being healthy!

OMG - Margaret Wheatley and Me

The keynote was a presentation and world cafe discussion all morning with Dr. Margaret Wheatley — I’ve been fan for 15 years, but never heard her speak.   Her talk on leadership was “We Are All In This Together” – leadership in a complex world.   Her points about leadership and change are so very relevant to a lot of themes in the Networked Nonprofit.  I live tweeted her presentation, but my favorite quote:

“If you’re not making it up as go along, you are out of touch with reality.”

During the World Cafe,  we broke into small groups of 4 or 5 and discuss these three questions:

  • What do we do when things go wrong
  • How do we deal with negative feedback?
  • How do we deal with conflict?

At the end, she asked the room to reflect quietly and write down “What conversation are willing to commit to bring back to your organization?”   The room was silent for five minutes – no talking.  It was a powerful, amazing moment.

In the afternoon,  I did an interactive workshop on several themes in the Networked Nonprofit – culture change, simplicity, and transparency.    The leaders of Alaskan nonprofits  — most were open to embracing social media and acknowledged the “general gap.” happening in their organizations.  We had a fantastic conversation about the role of leadership in changing the culture of the organization.

Then off to an evening session at PRSA-Alaska Chapter at the Providence Center Cancer Center to talk about the Networked Nonprofit.

I finally got to meet   Mary D Barber face-to-face and shared the story about Holly Ross inspired to use Twitter.   Angela Gonzalez from the Alaskan Native Professional Association shared how their use of Twitter helps with their mission of reaching younger professionals.

Finished the day with a delicious grilled Alaskan Salmon, after checking my Seafood Watch iphone app to be sure that it was a sustainable fish to eat!

All in all – an exciting day in Alaska!


3 Responses

  1. What’s up with you causing earthquakes, Beth? First our presentation in San Francisco, and now this one in Alaska?

  2. phil klein says:

    on that earthquake yesterday, I blame drew’s cancer: . Thanks Beth for your great presentation yesterday and for the truly transformational role you’re playing helping nonprofits to evolve towards better futures

  3. Beth,
    It was terrific to have you in Alaska. Thanks so much for the great stories on the Petersburg Community Foundation and the Talkeetna Batchelor’s Society. Please come back soon.