Leadership isn’t just a state of being; it’s an activity – that’s the mantra of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. And, that’s why its participants get out into the community to put their leadership skills to the test.
The spring 2017 Impact Denver class partnered with 10 nonprofits: Bluff Lake Nature Center, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver Preschool Program, Denver Public Schools, ECDC African Community Center, Groundwork Denver, Junior Achievement, mpowered, Sun Valley Youth Center and Swallow Hill Music.
As the project teams kicked off their partnership in January, they soon realized that part of the experience is understanding the leadership challenges that can arise when you are working on an issue in the community. As the teams reflected about their experiences on their final day of Impact Denver a common thread emerged among the class about the importance of the journey as much as the outcome.
Impact Denver participants also learned about the importance of leveraging your network to get things done. The African Community Center (ACC), which helps refugees and immigrants rebuild safe, sustainable lives in Denver, has faced budget cuts, executive orders curbing refugee resettlement and other staff pressures.
“We were a little shocked with the lack of resources that organizations may have. With a limited budget, we had to be creative and actively search for in-kind support and had to think outside the realms that most of us may be used to,” said Daniel Martinez, associate executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and ACC Impact Denver team member.
One of the team’s first calls was to fellow ID alum Katie Zarachowicz, a senior HR business partner for the City and County of Denver. Thanks to this important connection, they were able to set up professional development trainings for ACC to help improve employee satisfaction during a tumultuous time.
Though the Impact Denver spring 2017 projects have come to a close, the lessons learned through the process and the contributions will cause a ripple effect in the community over time.
Are you a nonprofit organization or know an organization in need of a helping hand to cross off a project on their to-do list? Submit a project proposal to partner with fall 2017 Impact Denver by July 10.
Erica Rutledge is the programs and event coordinator for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation.