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Renown Non-Profit Thought Leader Speaks to Pasadena Executive Roundtable

Pasadena, CA — Nov 9, 2018 — Jan Masaoka, Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Nonprofits gave a thought-provoking and unconventional view of how to understand and lead effective boards today to 95 non-profit leaders at a special meeting of the Pasadena Executive Roundtable last week. The meeting was possible due to the generous support of the Pasadena Community Foundation and the Pasadena Senior Center.

“The role of a non-profit Board is to keep their non-profit accountable to the community, using funds for the public interest. Further the Board is to advocate for the services provided by the organization to the community. All non-profits have a responsibility to develop the workforce for the community’s benefit” according to Ms. Masaoka (pictured above). “Boards don’t work often because the CEO/Executive Director has it upside down!”

In answering the question, “Who is the boss in a charity organization?” Ms. Masaoka opined that the Board, when working as a group, is the “boss” of the organization. But when an individual Board member proposes some action be taken by the staff, the CEO/Executive Director is the “boss”, not the individual Board member. Jan suggested when this happens, a CEO/Executive Director say to the individual Board member, “That is a great question for the Board to discuss!”

From left: Melanie Goodyear, Rebecca Mitchell, Jennifer DeVoll, Jan Masaoka (speaker), Tim Mayworm, Elizabeth Dever, Cynthia Bengston (This photo and the photo above by Brian Biery Photography)

The bane of so many non-profits is Board recruitment. Jan advised the group to recruit Board members not for what or who they are but for what they can do. Every Board member should join the Board to fulfill a specific role aligned with his/her specific skills.

Ms. Masaoka surprised the group by saying “Best practices are conventional practices already done. Organizations need to seek higher level, new ideas to excel.”

Elizabeth Dever, Pasadena Roundtable Chair and Executive Director of the Pasadena Ronald MacDonald House, said “Many non-profits get set in their ways and don’t stop and take a new look at how to operate. Jan certainly gave us things to think about and ponder! We were honored to introduce Jan to 95 local non-profit leaders!”

“This event was possible only due to the generosity of the Pasadena Community Foundation who sponsored this event and to the Pasadena Senior Center for donating the Scott Pavilion as the venue,” according to Melanie Goodyear of Jericho Road.

The Pasadena Executive Roundtable is an informal consortium of local nonprofit executive directors who meet to discuss leadership and management issues of common concern and hear presentations by speakers of interest. The Steering Committee is composed of Elizabeth Dever, Pasadena Ronald McDonald House; Melanie Goodyear, Jericho Road; Rebecca Mitchell, Hoving Home; Cindy Bengtson, Leadership Pasadena; and Tim Mayworm, Journey House.