Possibility

A friend of mine recently said, “… one of the strengths that Sandi brings to her role as Executive Director is a critical ability to see the possibilities. Honestly, I think it is her shield that she wears in this very challenging and, at times, very dynamic sector of nonprofit work.”

This observation is true. When I can’t imagine possibilities in a situation, it sends me into a tailspin. And I tend to assume that others operate in the same way. I’m generally surprised when someone approaches a situation with a singular solution. I’m sure MY enthusiasm for generating solutions makes interacting with me challenging for those people. Sometimes I challenge myself as well. I can come up with many solutions that we don’t have the capacity to execute. In the back of my head, I know that the solution is possible – if we just bring together the right people and the right resources.

Making a Difference. Together.

Life is a story we tell. Truth may be a subjective construct, dependent on the story we tell, the values we hold, and the possibilities we can imagine. Remaining open to possibilities means listening differently. It means asking the questions “What? So What? Now What?” persistently.

I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite books, “The Art of Possibility,” by Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander. These concepts are embedded in that book. When I lose perspective, I can ground myself in the art of possibility.

Here’s an example:

In addition to figuring out ways to pay our incredible staff members better, we’ve been working to ensure them access to community resources that will support them. Affordable housing, adequate food, daycare, medical care, legal resources – all things that can be challenging when your pay makes you live at  the margins. In a meeting with folks from the Community Action Center of Northfield (CAC), we discussed the ability to connect our staff to resources. Now we’re working with the CAC to develop an Employee Resource Counselor position – funded and staffed by the CAC – that will directly support LBSA staff members.

As an organization, we loved the idea of supporting our staff members in this way. And we didn’t have the funds available to do so. Working with a community partner makes what seems undoable, possible.

So that’s my shield – knowing that there’s always another question to be asked, another avenue to explore, another possibility, if we just remain open and flexible.

Possibility – it’s my beacon of hope.

With it, we CAN make a difference, together.




About the Author

Sandi Gerdes

Sandi Gerdes, executive director of Laura Baker Services Association, has a 30-year history of leadership in the disabilities community. A longtime advocate for choice, Sandi has developed numerous innovative service programs tailored to the unique needs of the individuals the organization serves.


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