Two weeks ago the PYB board of directors and staff team gathered for an evening retreat. We took a fairly deep dive together into a few inter-related strategy issues — the Theory of Change and desired outcomes of our programs, the creation of a holistic youth education and basketball center, our organizational capabilities, and our mission.
The dialogue was deliberative, inclusive, timely, and well-prepared and facilitated. We are a better and smarter organization because of the caliber and commitment of our board and staff.
A quick glance at our board and staff members reveals an unusual degree of demographic diversity. The mix of age, race and ethnicity, gender, neighborhood, economic circumstance, and industry sector is substantial. So is the diversity of perspective about our organization, pressing social issues, and the world at large. What is common, however, is a shared obsession about creating the opportunities and conditions for young people to become their best selves as students, athletes, leaders, and people.
All too often, diversity is a sought for the “optics” of an organization’s executive suite or board room. Few companies in any sector in this day and age would want to be controlled exclusively by white men in suits. It is not a good look. But, well beyond the optical appearance, PYB’s authentic diversity is serving us exceedingly well. The quality of our debate and discourse about our most important decisions is more rigorous when people come from a variety of realities. The connective tissue between and among board and staff members is strong, generating relationships built upon common purpose and trust. The young people whom we are serving see an abundance of organizational leaders who look like themselves and have become role models and mentors. And, the cross-section of our city and region whom we are seeking to engage in our coalition of advocates and supporters sees that PYB is being built of, by, for, and with the community.
Organizational credibility and excellence are inextricably linked and hard to achieve. At PYB, our board and staff team are locked in on building a transformative social impact enterprise that will empower young people for the next 100 years. Yes, we are being built to endure and to make positive social change.
Please reach out to me with thoughts on these and other topics. We have a ways to go and need your support, your critique, and full-hearted engagement.