After kicking off the 2016-17 school year, the entire network-wide leadership of Boys Hope Girls Hope gathered in St. Louis for an important meeting exploring the topic of One Team: One Mission.
This was an eagerly-awaited opportunity for Affiliate and IO staff to come together to envision our collective future, forge consensus around key identity issues, identify shared goals, and strengthen old—and build new—relationships.
With representatives from 12 of 15 domestic Affiliates and all three Latin American countries, the Gathering provided opportunities for Executive Directors to meet separately with the new President and CEO of BHGH International, as well as with the incoming IO Board Chair, to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the organization. There was a clear sense that we are stronger together as an International Network of programs and that our future success lies in realizing the synergies inherent in that model.
Concurrent to that meeting, the Program Directors and managers, Academy Heads and Development staff explored together a new BHGH “Framework of Practice” paradigm. This is a comprehensive construct that will articulate how we define, measure, speak about and report on the success of our scholars and collegians moving forward, using evidence-based practices and measurement tools to set the parameters for our outcomes and impact. The development staff found it particularly helpful to be a part of this discussion with program staff, as they have the task of speaking to our various publics and constituents about the “secret sauce” that makes Boys Hope Girls Hope the success that it is.
Discussion about the core values of Boys Hope Girls Hope, its DNA, and how we are distinct among the great variety of other college access programs consumed much of the joint agenda engaging all leaders. A draft Boys Hope Girls Hope DNA Statement has emerged from that discussion and is currently in circulation and under review by the various Affinity Groups. Once affirmed by the network and adopted, the DNA Statement will form the foundation for much of the communication that tells the BHGH story to our donors, stakeholders and constituents. Finally, much energy was invested in determining our shared goals and priorities and examining whether our current structures, resources and work processes allow us to attain those aspirations.
There was general consensus among participants in the leadership Gathering that our time together was well-spent and very valuable, serving to advance the organization, reinvigorate commitments to the BHGH Mission, renew professional and personal connections, and position us for a brighter future under our new leadership. As reflected in the post-meeting evaluation, this Gathering had “some of the richest dialogue we’ve had in a long time.”
Information as published in Winter 2016-17 Voice of Hope Newsletter. Please click here to download.