Reflection & Opportunity: Inclusive Leadership and Organizational Capacity

Recently, the Virginia Main Street (VMS) program hosted the second webinar in its new training series that prepares Main Street community champions for the “Switch to Six,” illuminating the new Main Street America Evaluation Framework through stories from across the network. Addressing Standard 2 of the framework, Inclusive Leadership and Organizational Capacity, speaker Dionne Baux, Main Street America Vice President of Urban Development, focused on how Main Street programs can become proactive and effective agents for inclusive community engagement and leadership development, ensuring that the investment of time and talents is a rewarding experience.

During the webinar, a participant noted that they don’t quite know what they’re aiming for, with regard to diversity expectations within nonprofit board composition. Should the board try a self-assessment to rank the efforts? Reflecting on their inquiry, Dionne recommended that communities start determining what they’re trying to do and who they’re trying to reach as a part of the board to meet their efforts at the end of the day.

In other words, a Main Street organization should aim to develop a leadership base that reflects the district and the community it serves. First and foremost, look at the community’s most recent population data and evaluate whether or not leadership reflects the local dimensions of diversity, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, education, physical and mental ability, veteran status, and income level. The organization’s leadership should take proactive measures to ensure under-represented groups are included.  

Inclusive Leadership and Organizational Capacity highlights the value we place on PEOPLE as Main Street’s greatest resource and our belief that everyone in the community has a place in Main Street. If you missed the webinar or are curious to hear the rest of the story, click here to watch the recording!

Want to learn more about best practices? Join us May 16 (Fredericksburg), 17 (Altavista), or 18 (Bristol) for the third training event in the “Switch to Six” series, which will be an in-person VMS Regional Rev Up focused on Diverse Funding & Sustainable Program Operations. Registration is now open!