Name: Kathi Wright
Number of years as a CEO or Executive Director: 18 years ED, 8 years as Board President
Current Title: Retired
While working at the City of Loveland Kathi began volunteering at a local teen center. She ended up as the board President for several years and merged that teen center with the Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County. In October 1999, after ten years of volunteering, she resigned from the board and was selected by an interview team to become the Executive Director. As the Executive Director, she led two successful capital campaigns projects, Fort Collins in 2001 and Loveland in 2009. Kathi retired from the Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County in March of 2018 and served as an elected city council member for the City of Loveland until 2021.
1. What advice would you give to professionals who have taken on a CEO or executive role for the first time?
Surround yourself with experts in their fields, you cannot do 100%. Get out in the community and make connections.
2. What is your best advice to navigate the first 90 days?
Do Listening sessions with every member of your team, both paid and volunteer, and youth members.
3. What is your best advice on how to work with the board?
Meet with each of them monthly and have your list of main topics you want them to know about, then see what they want to discuss. Have some fun, social gatherings.
4. What is your best advice on leading a team?
Give them the “frame” of what must occur, then let them “paint the picture” of how it works best for them.
5. What is your best fundraising advice?
Help the donor feel like an insider, they know more than others about the nonprofit.
6. Share your greatest failure as a CEO and executive and the lesson learned. We often learn the most from our failures.
Giving a stewardship gift that didn’t fit the age of the recipient.
7. Recommended reading. What book helped you on your journey?
I read so many I can not pick one. I say keep learning.
I hope this helps. Let me know. Sharing is caring.
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Thank you to those nonprofit CEO and Executive Directors who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading 7 Questions with Kathi Wright helps you in your nonprofit journey.
Your mission matters,
Sabrina Walker Hernandez,
Supporting World Hope