Caryn Ryan – Board Governance

“If you have low self-esteem, you don’t want to be judged. And because you don’t want to be judged, you don’t take risks. And if you don’t take risks, there’s no reward. And then because there’s no reward, low self-esteem is reinforced.” -Caryn Ryan

[00:00:00] Caryn Ryan: The Chairman walks up a fence.  They’re tough, but they’re relational, right? They’re goal driven, but they’re people driven. They stick to a vision of what they have for the organization and for the Board. They tend to be performance oriented. If you have Board Chairs who don’t understand the value that the board is supposed to bring it’s hard for them to be performance oriented.

But the best Board Chairs really understand deeply what the value this board is bringing to this organization. And therefore, because they understand that they’re able to act in that way.


[00:00:39] Tommy Thomas: In this episode, we’re going to conclude the conversation that was started with Caryn Ryan, back in Episode 84. In that conversation, Caryn shared her leadership journey from BP/Amoco to the CFO for World Vision International to her current role as Founder and Managing Member of Missionwell.  In this episode, Caryn will be sharing lessons on nonprofit board governance that she’s learned over the years. 

[00:01:15] Tommy Thomas: Let’s change over to board service and board governance for a few minutes. Your friend John Reynolds, who himself is a pretty steeped in this area, he said, if I ever got a chance to talk to you, that we for sure needed to talk about the work you’ve done and the 

Balanced Scorecard for Boards.

Take us into that. I really hadn’t thought about that from a board perspective. 

[00:01:36] Caryn Ryan: Yeah. That’s great. I appreciated John’s support in that area at the time. And then also Maggie Bailey, who you may know who was at Point Loma. 

[00:01:44] Tommy Thomas: I do know Dr. Bailey. 

[00:01:46] Caryn Ryan: She’s been another good friend. And somebody who really helped form some of my thoughts on governance. We served on the Board of Open Doors together. So, in 2021 I read Dean Spitzer’s book on Transformative Performance Metrics. And it made me start thinking about all the problems of metrics and how might it be possible to have more positive outcomes or avoiding the downsides that he was discussing.

And I started thinking some of those downsides that he mentioned over and over through the book might be surmounted if we applied biblical principles and tried to attach metrics to our faith and that leaders that led from faith might therefore be able to get better outcomes. Let me give you a couple examples.

When you’re using metrics in an organization usually tangible and financial results are really at the top, and that doesn’t motivate people a lot of the time. And so I began to think maybe if we had some people and relationships at the top, in other words, that sort of from this biblical base of loving people that might be more but motivating and it would certainly be better connected to our faith.

And then getting overconfident in the measures that the measures become the goal. Humility, this is a really important faith-based value and way of life, and perseverance in the face of issues. Those kinds of biblical and ways of living faithfully might help surmount that.

And the fact that a measurement isn’t trusted. I was thinking of let your yes be a yes, this idea that people get very defensive regarding failures, I thought in a faithful community, confession is at the core of reconciliation. So, I started thinking about how all these shortcomings had a biblical answer to them.

And I started thinking how could we start to put together an approach that was more biblical and then allowed people’s faith to be at the heart of their metrics? And as time went on I started then thinking about, okay let’s take the issue of goals. That’s taking a step back from the problems of metrics, but metrics are meant to – in a sense, say how we’re doing on the journey of goals. So, we have, for instance, a vision. You have a vision to get to the vision, you set big goals, and then when you set the big goals, you have metrics. There’re BHAGs sometimes, or there are other types of goals. And I started just then thinking about goals.

Smart Goals

Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant to the mission and vision of the organization and Timebound

And I know you’ve talked with John Pearson, and hearing good friends, you probably have heard him talk a lot about smart goals. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant to the mission and vision and Timebound. John uses smart goals a lot and that has impacted so many non-profits and Christian organizations for the good.

It’s added a lot of clarity and focus. I began to think about another lens, which is clear goals. Clear goals have come out in the last few years as another way of thinking about goals. And the CLEAR stands for Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable and Refinable.


Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable and Refinable

If you look in more detail at what those mean, they all come down to how is it that people are motivated and how is it that within a system of organization we set goals that are people sized and yet think about who they are, and it thinks about the people who the basic people are connected to as well.

So I began to think about those clear goals and how people get motivated and start thinking more and more that there might be, again, that role for faith because that approach of the clear goals seemed like it tied a little bit better with the love of people. So let me give you a quick example here.

Let’s just see my vision. This is my vision. I’m going to use you a personal example, and this isn’t true by the way, but it’s just an example. My vision is to travel the world and have lots of adventures, and then I go to the doctor and the doctor says, I need to lose 50 pounds to get to a goal weight. That doctor’s saying that you need to get to a goal weight, that’s not motivating by itself to a lot of people.

In fact, it might discourage some people or, and some people might take it to extremes, and it might compromise their muscle building and their bone density, etc, and so on. So it can have some unintended consequences. And it might be hard on my family if I stop cooking because I need to lose 50 pounds.

But if my goal is to be physically fit enough to take a hike in the Swiss Alps in two years, that’s motivating to me. And it might produce long-term change and it might engage my family too. So the system around me, it might have positive benefits for the system around me and it might create better health outcomes for my family too.

So I started thinking that’s the goal, it’s to get the right motivations for people directly responsible for the goal. It’s to attach the goal to something that’s motivational for them. And then it’s to ensure that the surrounding people and processes don’t suffer any material negative consequences, that goal and in fact maybe even benefit from it.

So then, that was some goal thinking that solved, finding good. And then I started thinking about balanced scorecards because balanced scorecards, really what those are is a way of expressing how you’re accomplishing the sum of your goals. I began to think then about this idea of a KPI, key performance indicator that is saying that’s a measure at a strategic level.

So it’s not a key success outcome, which is maybe something a little bit more tactical, but it’s at the strategic level. And I started thinking about KPIs in particular and balanced scorecards. And how then could you take these processes, this or this idea of love for people and get that translated into some better performance metrics or better KPIs.

I was working at the time with a Christian homeless organization. And I started talking with them about this as part of their strategy process, and I just noticed it resonated with their mindset. And we continued working on it with this organization. And it resulted in a scorecard initially for that organization,  which then turned out to be relatively easy to translate, concept wise, into a scorecard for a board.

A KPI has both a measure and a target.

Let me just give you a few examples. A KPI has both a measure and a target, and it’s based on a balance set of perspectives. And so one example might be a board that wants to measure giving and getting, you’ve probably seen that as an issue, Tommy, and some of the boards that you work with, their concern is that the giving and getting the donations direct and indirect are not sufficient or not what the development department wants.  Some boards the chairman in collaboration with the CEO might say, this is a minimum gift. It’s $10,000. If you want to be on our board, you’re going to give $10,000. It’s a minimum gift. Or another board might take the approach of saying, we want you to be in the top three of charities or causes that you give to now.

One of those ways is more focused on people and aligning motivations and commitments than the other. And that’s the difference at a board level and at an organization level that we’re trying to capture. How do you make these things more motivational?  Another area for a board might be in the continuous improvement boards that have a really high percentage of directors talking about how much they love their board and are likely to be doing a good job.

It could be that when it comes to your board self-assessment, if your measure is going to be based on your board self-assessment, maybe within that board self-assessment, you want to have a measure and pull that up to the KPI level about what is your board of director’s net promoter score?

In other words, how many people on your board are going out and talking about that board positively and inviting them to come into the board? Maybe 80% of the board, at least, should be going out and doing that. And if they are, then that’s a great metric for a board self-assessment. It’s a very results-oriented self-assessment.

You’ve got a great board if everybody’s out there talking about what a wonderful board you have. And it’s also doing great things, by the way, for your recruitment metric as well. 

[00:10:27] Tommy Thomas: That question I hadn’t heard.  This is fascinating. 

[00:10:33] Caryn Ryan: So, whether it’s for boards or leaders, a nonprofit who wants to do this for a ministry has to tweak the methodologies that are used in the for-profit sector.

But I think if they do it, they’re going to get this a board or the leaders of organizations, they’re going to just get a huge payback. They’re just going to find that it’s transformational in terms of the quality of time that they spend working on their metrics, making sure their personal motivations don’t have unintended consequences and that they demonstrate the love for people.

So, this is not something that I think a lot of people are thinking about, Tommy, and I can see working on this more as my role. So, mission will become less operational, but there’s something in here that there’s a word here that needs to be spread a little bit and different ways of thinking that we as Christians can offer to the rest of the world.


[00:11:26] Tommy Thomas: A lot of people, most of us, would say that we’ve learned a lot in life through failure. In fact, maybe a lot of our stuff is learned through mistakes. If that’s the truth, why are most of us so afraid to make a mistake? 

[00:11:40] Caryn Ryan: I really think that it goes back to those two root causes that I was talking about before for leadership.

Self-esteem and a desire for power or money or greed.  And if you have really low self-esteem, then I think you don’t want to be judged. And because you don’t want to be judged, then you don’t take risks. And if you don’t take risks, there’s no reward. And then because there’s no rewards, that goes and reinforces your low self-esteem.

So it’s this whole negative cycle of activities that just result in you not taking risks. But I would say too that if it’s somebody who’s power hungry, what you’re going to see there is maybe not mistakes. It’s more sins or heirs, of omission and commission really, that are just more, they’re selfish, right?

And so they’re mistakes. They’re either mistakes, in this life or in the next life. If you want to improve people’s risk taking, you need to permit mistakes. And we need to also work on the root causes there. 

We need to have systems and processes that make it safe, that don’t trigger negative self-esteem, that make it okay for people to engage in risk taking, that set up rewards for risk taking. It’s a kind of a whole system that we have to address if you want to fix this. But I think from a board perspective, and I know you’re coming from that some of the time, there’s also an issue of just needing to screen people who are willing to step past any kind of inner hesitations that they might have about, looking silly in front of their peers, for instance and who will just come out and say, it looks this way to me.

And from a board perspective that seldom is going to be a mistake is going to generate a great conversation and improve outcomes for a board. 

[00:13:43] Tommy Thomas: I want to go to financial accountability for a minute.  Because you live three or 400 miles south of the largest bank failure in recent days, the Silicon Valley Bank.

And then you and I are both old enough to remember the Enron scandal. And in both of those situations, I think most people say the board is culpable. I guess the jury’s still out on the bank but my hunch is that they’ll find some culpability there. Take it. And they’re not nonprofit organizations, but boards have responsibilities.

How do you counsel your clients to have more candid conversations about financial accountability?

[00:14:21] Caryn Ryan: That’s such a great question, Tommy. I will say too, just for starters, that it’s quite rare, I think for board members to have whatever it takes to come out and ask these top questions. The best of boards do, but the middle of the pack and the worst really don’t.

Now you start thinking then about what is in the best of boards that makes them allow conflict and allow tough questions to come out. And I think there’s a variety of answers. But first, let me just say this. I want to point out an interesting statistic here because if you look at candidate or GuideStar, this is a rating entity for nonprofits.

And that includes Christian nonprofits. They provide some statistics that could be of interest here to try to think through – who are the best of the best. It’s not completely pertinent, but in their world, which is thousands and thousands of charities that they rank, only 5% get a ranking of gold, silver, or platinum status.

And of those, it’s a very limited percentage, maybe 15%, that get the platinum. So when you multiply that backwards, then it says that only about 1.5% of all the charities that get ranked get a platinum candid certification. Now, this is mainly just looking at financial results and transparencies, but I think it does show that being the top nonprofit, it’s pretty rarefied world.

It’s that up in the stratosphere there is a top nonprofit or a top ministry. So then we code your question then about I think having a board that can ask the tough questions is a precursor to that, to being a top performing nonprofit. And so having a really great board.

It is a risky proposition when a nonprofit CEO recruits only his/her friends or allies to the Board.

There are barriers that we can see. I’m sure you’ve seen these often too, but it’s not unusual for a CEO to recruit his or her friends or allies to the board. And that’s never a good idea because it discourages a lot of times that friend from having an honest conversation about the nonprofit or something that’s really important to their friend.

And also on boards, it’s not unusual to have a whole bunch of conflicts of interest. It just isn’t dealt with or even surfaced by the board members. So when you have that, then you have the sometimes people aren’t going to ask tough questions because they have a conflict of interest. 

Another factor is that there’s capability gaps. There are people who aren’t able to read basic financial statements or financial reports. And I think financials, I’m coming at this from a financial perspective perhaps, but financials embody the impact of boards and their decisions, and their actions related to strategy.

A board takes a decision. The decision unfolds as actions. The actions are translated into financial results. And so that’s how a board gets to see how did I do with the strategic decisions that I made? But interestingly, a lot of times sports can’t even read their financial statements.

There’s a lot of financial literacy questions there. So how can you ask tough questions if you can’t read the financial statements or financial reports and understand them? And sometimes there are issues with what’s delivered to boards too, in terms of information, but sometimes it’s just a basic lack of understanding.

I think too, there’s also a fundamental issue that sometimes with boards, they don’t get enough board development or board training and they really just don’t understand their key role when it comes to accountability. And so, they don’t understand that it’s their job to ask the tough questions.

These are a few things, but I think you put them all together, Tommy. And isn’t it a wonder at all that any charities have boards that do ask the tough questions and that are excellent? There are a lot of pieces that all have to come together to make that happen.


[00:18:11] Tommy Thomas: At the crux of any board is the Board Chair. Give me words and phrases that would describe the best chair you’ve ever seen or served under. 

[00:18:20] Caryn Ryan: Okay. I would say some of the things that I’ve seen the chairman do… They’re tough, but they’re relational, right? They’re goal driven, but they’re people driven. They stick to a vision of what they have for the organization and for the board. They tend to be performance oriented. I think if you have board chairs who don’t understand the value that the board is supposed to bring it’s hard for them to be performance oriented.

The best board chairs really understand deeply what the value this board is bringing to this organization.

And therefore, because they understand that they’re able to act in that way. So I see those are some of the characteristics that differentiate a great board leader from a less than great board leader.

[00:19:11] Tommy Thomas: Do you think every board needs a glass half empty person? 

[00:19:16] Caryn Ryan: Does the board need that kind of a person? No. I guess it depends on how you define that, Tommy. So, for me if you mean by that, that there’s a person who can see that they’re on the side of half empty, that there’s upsides and downsides, right?

Then maybe. But in general, I think when a board comes together, they need to be so enthusiastic, so passionate about the mission and vision. So, the ability to look at an opportunity and say, no our glass is not half empty. I know where we want to go as a board, and we’re going to fill this glass, right?

They’re going to say, we’re going to absolutely fill this glass. We’re going to pivot and do what we have to do because maybe there are some circumstances out there that are making some people think the glass is half empty, but we’re going to pivot. We’re going to figure out what we need to do.

Always moving down the field toward the goalpost, toward the vision for the organization. So I think if people can try to look at environments and circumstances and say, how do we get the most from these?  How do we use this? Change this, maybe this negative circumstance.

How do we use this negative environment? How do we use this risky situation? How do we just use this to help us down the goalpost? Or if we just absolutely can’t find a way, how do we dodge it for now so we can come back and get back on track later? Is there a better way for a board member to function?

[00:20:39] Tommy Thomas:   Talk a little bit about the CEO Evaluation and the Board.  You’ve seen a lot of boards. What’s some best practices you see there? 

[00:20:48] Caryn Ryan: How about for starters doing it? That to me is critical and mostly what I’ve seen over the years are annual assessments. When it’s done.

What I see is annual assessments sometimes every two years. When I’ve helped boards, I sit on boards that I’ve helped. What I’ve done is I’ve stolen shamelessly from other organizations to develop an assessment. And by the way, I don’t think you need to be overly concerned with whether a professional developed this assessment.

Most board members know this is what’s important for us and for the CEO. Just write those questions out and, go or go steal them from somebody and tweak them a bit to make them fit your circumstances. I’ve noticed other nonprofits are very generous in sharing that way.

They’re happy to say, this is my evaluation tool. But it’s important too, to just do it and to remember too, it’s not the tool, it’s the conversation around it.  You’re actually using that tool because you want to improve. If it’s a Board evaluation, you want to improve the Board. If it’s a CEO evaluation, you want to give it to the CEO to develop the CEO.

And sometimes to make a tough decision on retention. But a lot of times it’s for the development and the good of the CEO and the organization. So don’t focus on the what, focus on the how, when it comes to these evaluations, and keep in mind what the goal is, right? To encourage and to support and to develop your CEO.

[00:22:13] Tommy Thomas: I talked to Jerry White, The Board Chair for The Navigators International, yesterday.  And Jerry’s comment was that whatever comes out in the evaluation shouldn’t be a surprise. 

[00:22:22] Caryn Ryan: That’s quite true because if it does turn out to be a surprise, Jerry is absolutely correct. You’ve had a trust breakdown.

The results of the Board’s evaluation of the CEO should not be a surprise to the CEO.  If that happens you have a breakdown in trust and communications.

When you have that big of a communications breakdown, there’s a trust dynamic at work there. And that has to be treated as a separate issue and a precursor to really doing CEO evaluations. You first have to address that trust issue, what is causing the trust issue?  And you have to get that out of the way before you can then have reasonably productive conversations around an assessment.  That’s such a common dynamic, Tommy.

[00:22:56] Tommy Thomas: Jerry said that, I’m probably paraphrasing, but something to the effect of the evaluation should really be going on overtime and not just every 12 months or whatever. 

[00:23:06] Caryn Ryan: He’s absolutely right.

So there should be informal feedback occurring. Some of the better boards, I’ve seen the chairman meeting monthly with the CEO, right? They have lunch, an informal kind of lunch. And they’re having a very frank and relational though dialogue during the month about, what’s going, what’s going wrong.

It’s a chance and opportunity for linkages and feedback to the board and back. And so that in and of itself is building trust and leading to the ability for the board to have a positive session when it comes to the performance management. But I’ll say this, even when that’s occurring at which it does in the best board, there are going to be, because the CEO Evaluation is the sum of all, typically of all the board members.

It’s not always the case. Sometimes the chairman will do it, or they’ll select a few people to do it, but a lot of times it’s the whole board. There’s almost a benefit to seeing that total perspective because maybe there’s an aspect of it that’s a surprise. The overall flow is in accord with what the chairman and CEO have been talking about and having dialogue on through the year.

But there’s a couple of points that generally come out that make that wrap up in the annual evaluation valuable. There’s something about the faith life of the CEO that hasn’t been addressed and it’s coming out and there’s a way to have a conversation in a different kind of pulling up.

Over the past year and maybe even looking forward a little bit into the challenges, it’s just a way of pulling up above the fray and looking with a little bit more distance at the year that can generate a couple of new revelations. But I totally agree with Jerry. There shouldn’t really be a lot of surprises on that because there should be this ongoing dialogue.


[00:24:44] Tommy Thomas: I want to ask you one question, then I’ll close. My next to the last question has to do with succession planning and the board. At what point should that begin to occur? And how does the board address that without the CEO thinking? I’m a short termer. 

[00:25:03] Caryn Ryan: Okay. Yeah, that’s great.  I’m dealing with that right now at one of my one of the boards that I sit on. And I’ve just dealt with that last year as well. And it works both ways if it works all, all different ways. So let me just talk about one where the CEO does get the feeling. If you have this conversation, they’re a short termer.

I want to just say first of all, that can sometimes go back to the trust issue again, right? When there’s a lack of trust between the board and the CEO then, and you bring up the question of succession planning, the first thing that goes of course into the CEO’s mind is, oh, I’m getting fired.  I’m a short termer here. 

So that has to again, be addressed, the trust issue before you can have productive conversations around succession planning. But even longer term issues are going to take some time to get resolved. There’s something you can always do on the succession plan that’s very short term and that every single board must have in place.

And that is you need a succession plan in case of an emergency. If your CEO becomes ill, is hit by a bus, whatever, right? You need an emergency succession plan that is an interim structure or very well thought through way that you’ll manage in the absence of the CEO. 

And usually, it’s not going to bring out the same negative feeling for the CEO.  On the part of the CEO because they understand that, oh yeah, if I’m not there, we need to have some interim structure. And so, they’ll begin helping the Board and thinking through, look, okay, if something happens to me, let’s make this person on our staff, the interim, or let’s pull this Board Member out and see if they’ll be the interim.

Or they’ll start to engage in the ideas for how that could work in an interim structure. And as long as you can get that interim structure put in place and everybody’s in agreement that it’s workable, that then gives a chance during the interim structure for the Board to go out and begin doing a search to find a replacement candidate.

Regarding succession planning for a Founder – She/he just might not be willing to step aside.

They might have created a whole lack of number twos in the organization who can step in, even in an emergency. It just may not be anybody. So that’s a different situation where the board needs to probably, in addition to working on trust, which can be very difficult with the founder.

You might be off the board if you start having those kinds of conversations. But what you can do as a board is do your research. How you would do a search. You can get your research done on executive search firms who could step in and help you. You can just keep in mind, it takes and Tommy, you’re the one who should be telling your podcast listeners this, but it’s a long process to do a search.

You’ve got to set up a search committee. You have to figure out how you’re going to recruit, the person. You’ve got to have an approach. You have to execute it, you have to review the candidates. It’s just really time consuming. You at least have to think through all of these, how that’s a minimum thing, even if it’s a founder situation.

So I’d say two things. Number one, for sure, have an interim emergency succession plan, no questions asked. That’s an absolute minimum mandate for every board. And number two, if you’re on a founder board, you have to do some special extra work along the side with networking, quiet networking, just to figure out the process and figure out how you would do, how would you do that if something did happen to your founder, if your founder’s not willing to participate or help with that.  Does that make sense? 

[00:28:32] Tommy Thomas: Yeah. The founder conversation is probably a three or four podcast discussion that I haven’t had yet. Maybe I’ll have you back with two or three other panelists and we’ll talk about founders because I did some research three or four years ago on that, and it’s an easier said than done proposition.

[00:28:49] Caryn Ryan: Yes, I totally agree, and I’d love to hear the wisdom of some other panelists on this one too, because we all encounter these founder situations. 

[00:28:58] Tommy Thomas: So, let’s go to my last question.  Somebody comes to you next week, they want to have breakfast or lunch, and somebody has asked them to serve on the Board of a nonprofit, and they’re coming to you saying, Caryn, what should I be thinking about?

[00:29:13] Caryn Ryan: I’d say, if they ask that question, they’re on track to be a good board member first of all. Because sometimes people will jump into these situations without asking that very question. But what I would give somebody who’s thinking about joining a board the advice is number one, 

For a nonprofit Board Member – Does the mission of the organization excite my passion?

Am I passionate about it? I think if you’re not passionate about what the organization is doing, it’s just not going to work. It’s just not going to interest you inherently. So, you have to be able to see this as a way to realize or support your passion. Number two I would talk about – I would think about conflicts of interest.

I was recently counseling the Executive Director of an organization who’d been asked to serve on a board where there were some competitive aspects to her organization. So we talked that through. And she in effect decided, no, there’s too many conflicts of interest here for me to take that board position.

Number three might be do you have the time? Okay. So, there’s a real issue. You need to dig in and understand how much time is it going to take. Do you have to serve on committees? How much time do the committees take? How many, how frequently are the board meetings? Is there a retreat every year that you have to go to?

So you really need to add up the time and make sure that you’re able to make that commitment. I’d say those are three of the big things that I see with people. And a lot of times I’ll start doing positive coaching to people too, in terms of, also, why don’t you ask yourself, what development will I personally get by sitting on the Board?

What will it do for me and my professional development or my development as a person and a human being? And sometimes that can make the difference. They can say, I really don’t have the time to do this, but I need to do this because I really believe it’s going to focus and sharpen at home this strategic skill set that I need to be successful in something else that I’m doing in life.

And so, they’ll do it and they’ll be really glad, because they’ll get that development. Just let’s think about that lens too. 

[00:31:05] Tommy Thomas: That’s interesting.  A good friend, Joe Arms, who used to be the Chairman of the Baylor Board is the CEO of a large private sector company.  He said he makes that a part of the management training program for his employees that he encourages board participation in the nonprofit sector in Dallas as part of their grooming.

[00:31:27] Caryn Ryan: I can see that you get a lot of personal development when you’re a part of a board and it’s where you’re really learning that what you learn about governance is not so distinct from what you need to be a top senior executive in a corporation. There are just a lot of parallels there. So I can really see why he’d say that.  So he makes a very good observation.

[00:31:48] Tommy Thomas:  Caryn, thank you. This has been a great conversation. I just believe our listeners have picked up some things that probably hadn’t been covered in other board conversations, so thank you for taking this time with me. I really appreciate it. 

[00:32:03] Caryn Ryan: Absolutely.  Thank you, Tommy. I’m so glad to have reconnected with you and been able to remember some of my fond memories with some of the people who are in your network as we’ve talked. 

[00:32:14] Tommy Thomas:  Life has been good to me over the years, and the two men you mentioned, Nick Isbister and Rob Stevenson – both of those guys they put a lot of time into this project, and I’m grateful for their part in my life. 

[00:32:26] Caryn Ryan: I’m grateful too and I can add you to my circle of gratitude now. 

[00:32:30] Tommy Thomas: Our guest next week will be Alec Hill The President Emeritus of InterVarsity Christian fellowship. You may remember Alec from Episodes 18 and 19, where he and Rudy Hernandez, a former board chair at InterVarsity discuss the working relationship between the CEO and the Board Chair in a nonprofit organization. 

Alec is also a prolific writer. He’s a regular contributor to postings on the Christian Leadership Alliance website. One of his recent posts was titled Finding Gold in Manure. In that article Alec shares lessons that he’s learned for some of the hard times in his life. And in our conversation we’ll dig into some of those lessons. 

“The results of the Board’s evaluation of the CEO should not be a surprise to the CEO.  If that happens you have a breakdown in trust and communications.” -Caryn Ryan

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters Website

Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership with Tommy Thomas

2021 Distinguished Alumni Recipient Caryn Ryan, ‘79

Missionwell Website

Transforming Performance Measurement: Rethinking the Way We Measure and Drive Organizational Success by Dean Spitzer


[email protected]

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