Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, is a medical relief and development organization dedicated to supporting health improvement initiatives in resource-poor communities and promoting environmental stewardship in the US healthcare system. Recently celebrating their 30th anniversary, they have focused internally on board development to prepare the organization for many more milestone events. Global Links came to us through BoardsWork! seeking that development through individualized board member matching and an online retreat.
The goals of the engagement were to discuss and work on governance best practice, service growth and prioritization, response to uncertain times, and diversity, equity, and inclusion as a leader in the nonprofit social justice sector.
Their board met on Zoom with one of CCCE’s skilled BoardsWork! facilitators. Joining the meeting was a recently matched member from the program, a passionate and thoughtful FedEx director. Global Links actively participates in all areas of both the Bayer and Covestro Centers, including consulting contracts and class registration, to which BoardsWork! board members receive a discount as part of their engagement.
Board Chair Charles R. Vargo said of the program…
“Global Links celebrated its 30th anniversary this past year, and we have a relatively new Executive Director who replaced a ‘founding mother’ in this role. Coupling that with the retirement of several veteran board members and the appointment of new directors, it made perfect sense to engage BoardsWork! to facilitate a retreat. While we have done a great deal to formalize roles and responsibilities at the board level, it was the right time to reflect on our roots and constancy to our mission and come to a common understanding of key organizational issues so we could chart our future course. In many ways, our goal for the engagement was a non-traditional approach to a retreat.
Our facilitator did an excellent job of working with us to develop a framework for our retreat. She was very responsive to our unique needs and approach, and she helped us to craft a meaningful agenda to prepare our board to develop its action plan. Our retreat was initially scheduled for March, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, we deferred it until June, assuming we could do it in person at that time. We
deferred it again, and ultimately held it as a virtual retreat in August.
While COVID-19 presented Global Links with a number of challenges, it also created a host of new opportunities for us to serve our local community with an expanded domestic program. Our conversations with our facilitator during these deferrals further enabled us to factor the pandemic and our response into our retreat.
Needless to say, we were apprehensive about having such an important activity virtually, rather than in person, because we were sure we would miss something by not being together in a common space. Our facilitator worked with us intently to make sure that our experience would give us what we needed. She was superb and used the background from our many conversations to produce a stimulating retreat
experience. BoardsWork! also did a phenomenal job of supporting the technology, which enabled active participation from all our board members, including the effective use of small group chat rooms.
As I reflected on the experience with our Executive Director, Angela Garcia, we believe we were able to successfully achieve our goal to bring the board to the place where we can have the informed discussions we need to plan our actions and strategies going forward.
Thank you BoardsWork! for helping to get us to where we need to be!”