Speaker 0 00:00:04 Welcome to the NDP, a water safety podcast where we learn about people's water safety story. And now your host, Adam <inaudible> and Laura Metro. All right. Ready, Laura.
Speaker 1 00:00:19 Ah, yes.
Speaker 0 00:00:23 Oh, I'm totally leaving that. And this is just our opening now. So for those that couldn't see it or just listening in and, you know, Laura, I asked if we were ready to go and she's still chewing on something. I don't know. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:00:36 Shoving food really quickly.
Speaker 0 00:00:39 Yeah. That's okay. I keep her busy. Um, so Laura episode six now, did I lose? Yeah, it was fine. It was fine. Cause I remember in the last episode I said I could still count on one hand, which was good for me and now at six. So now we're, now we're in really big trouble on episode numbers or just out the, out the window now. So we gotta write it down now. Yeah. And you know, I'm really excited because this is going to be a little bit of a shift from our past few interviews. Um, you know, we had Alyssa, Mangrum talking about, um, you know, her background and working with Colin's hope then our past two episodes, we really have had two critical families, United members, really from the beginning of families United, we had Blake Collins, Wirth. Who's currently the president of MDPA I'm on episode four.
Speaker 0 00:01:22 We just had Dana gage on last week. Um, and boy, what a, I, it still gives me chills hearing her explain Connor's story. Um, but I'm really excited cause we're gonna, we're going to shift a little bit and today we're going to be joined by Pam canal. Who's the vice president of NDPA and the CEO at, uh, board build. And, um, you know, I've known Pam for a number of years now and uh, I can't think of someone else who is such a nonprofit governance expert. Um, you know, her just her joining the NDPA board years ago has really fundamentally changed our operations for the better, because she's put structure in place where we needed it. And, um, you know, for someone like me who has come in, you know, to being an executive director of an organization, which I don't know if there's much training out there to be an executive director other than getting out in there and actually learning it. Um, and, but I'll tell you what one person I've learned a lot from is Pam canal. So, uh, let's go ahead and bring, uh, Pam in and welcome her. There she is. Hi Pam. Thank you.
Speaker 2 00:02:30 Really appreciate the good words. Good to see you both, you know,
Speaker 1 00:02:35 Out of, I wanted to add to what you're saying too. I think that, you know, as NDPA matured, as, you know, drowning prevention and water safety in it of itself has matured. You know, um, Pam came on at such the right time to help the organization and the board and everything mature into being able to be, you know, where we need to be to go forward in this space as we have. So, you know, this whole maturity and this different, these different levels of governance and the structure and the way that we run things, you know, this is all flowed nicely into us, you know, continuing to grow, continuing to up the ante, so to speak in terms of how we are moving the needle. Um, so it's all been such a good progression and I too have learned so much, um, you know, from this cause we know that, you know, running these boards, especially when you're dealing with such a passionate topic, I mean, we've had, we don't have anyone yelling at each other anymore in board meetings, which is really incredible.
Speaker 0 00:03:33 Well, it's, it's a positive step, but I, you know, the one thing that I, I, and I, I know we'll get to this in the discussion today is the fact that I think one of the struggles we see in drowning prevention is we're. So passion-driven that we sometimes don't take a step back and get our own house in order and secure our own, um, you know, foundation in a way as an organization. And I think that's, you know, it's not always the easiest thing. It's not the most sexiest thing. Um, you know, and I, you know, it's been a challenge for me over there. I joke because, you know, Pam, I actually enjoy board governance. Um, surprisingly I'm a board governance nerd now. Um, I think Laura is still trying to make me a marketing nerd and she's never going to win that battle. So, uh, I try my best, but, um, uh, pay him, uh, you know, so I, I, I told you a little bit before, but you know, our goal with these podcasts is really to get to people's water safety story. So, um, I'm curious to learn a little bit more about you and how you ended up, uh, being involved in water safety.
Speaker 2 00:04:33 Thanks so much. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here and to talk with both of you and, uh, as a, uh, a directed change from those previous podcasts. I can say that, um, my experience around water comes from, uh, a position of privilege. And I did grow up with a handicapped mother. She had polio when she was a year old, and that is where she received. All of her therapy was in the water. And, uh, in addition, our family had home in Cape may, New Jersey. So all of our summers were spent in Cape may. And that is where she and my father met, uh, the Garrett family. There were three boys in the family and they each had a beach that they were responsible for as a lifeguard. And that whole stretch of beach became known as Garrett beach. And of course, you know, you think about the fifties and those romance had though, uh, you know, summer, summer, literally 13 years in a row.
Speaker 2 00:05:35 My parents had a summer romance before they tied the knot. So water was always a part of our family, why my mother made sure that we were at the Y getting swim lessons early in life. I had two brothers, they put, uh, they put us through scuba lessons and put tanks on back backs as teenagers. And that's how we spent our summer vacation. So I definitely come from a place of, uh, both access as well as privilege around water. And that was a driving force for me, uh, as an adult in a community where we only in, I live in Fort worth, Texas, we only have two community swimming pools for a town. We are now the 12th largest city in America. We are 970,000 people strong. And there are only two community swimming pools. So unless you come from an area of privilege and you can either afford those country club dues, or, you know, I love the why, but there, there is a certain amount of money that you have to pay for membership every month.
Speaker 2 00:06:48 You then, you know, you either you swelter in the heat or you go to the lake and we know what, uh, you know, listening to Dana stories and other people's from family United stories around open water. It is just sad. So, um, from, from my position of, uh, of knowing, uh, having had access to the water, it just seemed like, and being a master swimmer, I went on to become a master swimmer. I'd never competed, uh, in school, but in high school or college, but I, I do enjoy my masters swim club. And so knowing that we had people who, uh, had both the skills and the passion to, to help solve a community problem, that's where the, uh, Fort worth drowning prevention coalition came. And the idea came for that. Well,
Speaker 0 00:07:42 So I have to ask you, because I already know this story and it's one of my, uh, favorite stories. When I talk about advocacy and making local impact, you know, I often get asked, you know, well, what does it take? And it's starting, you know, that's the number one thing I tell local communities now is you need to start a local coalition because, um, you need coordinated efforts in a community. And what makes it so difficult in drowning prevention is we are so siloed. This is such a multi-factorial space where you have the public health, you have corporations, private businesses, you've nonprofit foundations, life guards. The list goes on and on of Everett, swim instructors, everyone involved in this, but there has to be some coordinated, local impact. I mean, we can coordinate things at the national level, but there has to be a champion in each local community. And, um, so I use your story as an example, when I talked to people, because really this is what it takes to get something rolling in your community. So could you share the story of how you got the, uh, uh, local government to support the coalition and Fort worth?
Speaker 2 00:08:47 Right. I love that pun there to get things rolling. So I was actually rolling with the mayor Betsy price of Fort worth. And today is her last day. She's passing the gavel after seven, I think with seven consecutive terms, she's passing the gavel, a wonderful woman who so much, uh, is involved in, uh, the, uh, physical fitness of, of the community. And so she has had what was called rolling town halls. So she'd like to ride bikes and she'd open it up. And every week there would be an opportunity to roll with the mayor. And so I was rolling with her at the same time that, um, uh, Misty Vento story, another family United, um, uh, a family had lost a Zander. And, and that was very high, uh, in, in the media, local media and Zander was on life support for several days. And it just tugged at so many people's hearts.
Speaker 2 00:09:52 Uh, in addition, at that same time, I was looking through the Sunday newspaper that was years ago when we actually got the newspaper delivered. And, and I noticed two stories of, uh, people who had drowned and just something made me go to the obituaries and look, and do a review of the obits for that particular week. And there were five additional unique drowning stories. So that was one week in the summer of 2012. I think it was of which there were five local drowning stories everywhere from Zander who was three or four at the top four, I think at the time to adult, uh, there was an adult, um, master swimmer in like Arlington that went down. He was swimming by himself. So it was the whole gambit. And I, you know, I just thought we can do something about this and, and USA, you know, United States masters swimming had just come out with, um, the program where, uh, masters swimmers can reach out potentially and help other people learn how to other adults to learn how to swim.
Speaker 2 00:11:04 So the idea stuck with me at that adult level. And so that was the proposal. I was just riding along next to them that year. And I proposed this as a solution to what was a very, a hot button topic at that time. And, uh, and she, when we stopped, she pulled in a couple of people. There was the, uh, chief of staff and the assistant chief of staff there. And she brought them over and said, you know, I'd like to explore this. We got the why as she opened the door to the Y, she opened the door to parks and rec, uh, locally to the Fort worth fire department, uh, to Texas health resources, the local hospital children's hospital. I mean, we, we had all the right stakeholders at that first meeting. And, and if, if I know this is going to be a thing through this conversation, but if there's one thing that I can say is, don't do it alone. You have got to do this by partnerships. That is the only way to scale and grow is through partnerships. And every partner you have is taking your mission and moving it forward and, and getting additional ambassadors involved in the program. So it's just so important to, to develop partnerships and go for a coalition. Don't go at yourself. It just will not be scalable and sustainable by yourself.
Speaker 1 00:12:29 You know what I mean? I almost want to go back and write down every single person you talked about that she pulled in. Cause it's almost a checklist. If somebody wanted to start a coalition in their area, you know, go to your mayor with this plan, we need to bring in this person, this person, this person, this person, and this person, here's the checklist of the group that we need in order to get moving. You know, I feel like you could get a better, um, a quicker audience with your, you know, local representatives if you kind of have a plan in place. So just even hearing that I think was incredible. And I'd love, I want to actually add some links in after this, about how awesome that is, that your, she did the rolling town to town halls. That's just very, very cool in and of
Speaker 2 00:13:10 Itself. Yeah. Yeah. And I, you know, when I tell people where you know where to start, if at any point you can start at the top, start at the top and that, and to start with those decision makers, it is so very important to get them, uh, to create buy-in. And that's an advocacy piece that, that you had mentioned early on Adam, and, and we still, to this day, we will, and we just had five of five city council members roll over in the past week, but I've already put emails together to send out to them, to them, invite them on deck, to see what we do, uh, because you have got to get that buy in from so many stakeholders. And that is the only way we're going to both change behavior in the community, as well as, uh, affect, uh, legislation.
Speaker 1 00:14:05 The other major piece of that is the story you talked about having Misty's story that was relevant in the media at the time, that's where families United members come in. You know, if you have a families United member, or you have someone locally that can go with you, if you are not the person that has experienced this, that will get you in the door, that people will listen. They want to hear that story. If you have that plan behind you to say, we need to get these people together to do this coalition, that is a total package that somebody who is in legislature in the legislative seat actually can do something with that is a actionable piece of a package there that they can really work with and do something with. So I think you're saying all these stakeholders as well, if you have a family that experienced it, you know, often if people are or watching, they can look at families United prevent drowning, um, see if there's somebody in your area, if not call us, maybe we'll know, but either, or if, if you are not the person who has experienced that yourself, um, I think that's the other critical piece to that is getting, um, the feelings and having people understand that this is real.
Speaker 1 00:15:08 And what Adam I always say is when we talk about statistics, we always say it was for you that day. It would be five families, lost someone, you know, and it's really important to frame it that way, because that is reality, you know, five families, not because people just hear these stats and things, and it goes over their heads, you know, but when you say it like that, it is a bit more impacted. Well,
Speaker 0 00:15:33 That's why I hold up these, you know, for those of you just listening, I'm holding up the, not one more story collection from families United and you know, it, politicians don't know what they don't know. And, um, you know, I guarantee you, you know, whether it's state level legislators, city level, decision makers, or policy makers, and even at federal level, um, I guarantee you, if you ask most of them, you know, how large is the drowning problem, most of them would have no clue and maybe that's our fault for not being better at educating them. But, you know, I think what ties in here is it, it, you know, we, we said this throughout the, um, the national water safety conferences year, but it was kind of the concept of it takes a village, but even at the local level, I mean, he can't do it alone. And oftentimes, you know, at least my experience has been, uh, uh, Pam, if you have one person who's champion bringing people together, most people will show up at the table and get involved, but you really need that one person who's going to formulate everything, get it together and get people involved. Um, you know, I don't think in the drowning prevention space, we're lacking volunteers, but we're lacking sometimes coordination.
Speaker 2 00:16:46 And then that other critical piece that I would add to that, Laura is absolutely run your coalition like a business. It has got to be sustainable and good grief. COVID just laid that bare for everyone that if you don't have a good business plan, you're not going to get funding and you're not going to be sustainable. So those pieces of having that passion, that story, having those right skill sets and expertise at the table that also having that business plan Turing up that foundation to make sure that you are sustainable and successful in the long run.
Speaker 0 00:17:25 Well, I think that's a perfect segue to the other topic I wanted to get to, which was your background in non-profit governance. Um, could you, uh, explain, you know, for just a couple of minutes, Pam, you know, kind of where your background comes in, nonprofit management,
Speaker 2 00:17:41 Thanks so much. I appreciate the opportunity again, to just talk about what, you know, I just feel like what we're doing is such an important mission. It's so important what we're doing, but two to 3% of, uh, nonprofits will not last more than five years. And at that five-year mark there, you know, so many of them are going to be gone again, it's another two to 3% chance to live on. So my, uh, experience comes from serving on numerous nonprofit boards, but while working for leadership Fort worth, uh, just noticing all those boards that were involved in nonprofit boards that were involved in leadership Fort worth, number one, the lack of diversity around the table, you can not serve a client base if you don't understand what those people are going through, you cannot have just, uh, an entire board of directors that looks like me, or, you know, I hate to say it, but 90% of boards are, are led by white males over the age of 60, and that's a nationwide concern.
Speaker 2 00:18:51 So how can we bring those diverse skill sets together to really drive a mission forward? So that was one thing that I had noticed, and then also, uh, the lack of training. So I, again, exactly what we just talked about, passionate leadership, you know, we've, we've, we have stories to tell we've suffered loss. We will want to make a difference, but there's you, if you want to get the funding, if you want to be sustainable, you have to, uh, have the training and know how to run the operation. So that came again from, um, my background in nonprofit, serving on nonprofits, recognizing that there was a gap and what can we do about it? I am challenged by a new, new, I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I am challenged by new endeavors. And so, uh, the opportunity did present itself to me to be able to bring those two ideas together, marry them and, and develop this product that is called board build. Now that provides both training, uh, for nonprofit boards of directors, as well as, um, our pipeline of trained individuals to serve on nonprofit boards of directors.
Speaker 0 00:20:05 Well, you know, I have to say, and I, you know, anyone listening, please don't take offense when I say this, but, you know, as someone who, you know, isn't that executive director role and you know, is really responsible for, you know, helping to lead the board, engage the board, you know, in the organization. Um, you know, what's, what's I find difficult sometimes is we, we have a lot of good people who want to serve on boards. You know, intentions are good, but they may not have the background that we're actually looking for. And I find that a lot of nonprofits, and I'm curious if you see the same thing, bring on a lot of good people onto their board, but then they're not, they don't really, they don't, they're not capable of actually moving that needle. I think that the organization's looking for helping to set that foundation, the organization needs. And I think that not saying people can't learn that as they go, but if no, one's really driving that force to really get that education in place and lay that foundation for board members, you really end up with a, you know, an organization that isn't really going to be able to progress.
Speaker 2 00:21:10 Right? And a lot of people, especially at first they'll turn, turn to their friends, and now they're passionate about a mission. A friend may not be as passionate. They're doing it because they're your friend. They may not be the right person actually. And, and a board has to be very intentional about what are those skillsets that they need water? What is the, um, the working style of the people you have got to bring that compliment again, we're talking about partnerships, stakeholders, what is the skills and expertise of those gaps that are missing on your board? And I know at NDPA, we take that, you know, every year we look at this, we put together a board matrix and we say, okay, we've got a certain number of consensus builders here. We have a certain number of people with who will ask the hard questions. That's me, I'll ask the hard questions, you know? And, and then, um, we'll look at and look at the demographics and where, where are we missing? Uh, uh, where do we have gaps and then skillsets, do we, do we need to bring on a more marketing person to help Laura, or do we need to bring in a financial person, um, to, because we'll be looking at it, audit in the near future, do we need to bring somebody on like that? So it's, it's important to look at those gaps in skillsets and fill those intentionally.
Speaker 1 00:22:32 I would say to what's really important, and this is something I didn't do. Cause I didn't know, really in the beginning when I started, my nonprofit is communicating expectations in the beginning. So are they expected to donate? Um, if they're expected to donate, how much is it? Is it, you know, up to them? Is it not, are they expected to fundraise? Is this a working board? Are they X, you know, we need X amount of hours a month from you in addition to the one hour board meeting or whatever it is. If those things are communicated in the beginning, that will alleviate so many problems later on and you will not have your sort of classic example of the same people doing all the work at the same time. And you sort of that resentment, you know, running around, which happens all the time in all kinds of, you know, from the local PTA at school to, you know, the highest boards that you can imagine, you know, without those expectations communicated clearly in the beginning, you're going to have a problem.
Speaker 1 00:23:34 It's going to be a problem. And it's going to be a lot bigger of a problem for you later on to have to try and fix. It might mean you have to wait out somebody's, you know, tenure, it might, you know, you might have to bring on more board members now to supplement, you know, so if you're able to even get the basics, I think the foundational basics just communicated ahead of time. So you can weed people out who really aren't their best fit. You know, I, that is the biggest, one of the biggest lessons that I've learned with not only my own nonprofit, but also in doing this, um, with NDPA and grow growing up in this was really, and also even with families United, we are not a formal organization, but we have kind of had to formalize a bit. Um, and I think it's, you know, it's so important to communicate those expectations upfront. If you can, as best you can, you know, even if you don't know them all or have them all as best you can, and maybe we'll make another list of like, sort of the top five to 10 things like off the bat that need to be communicated immediately when you, when you're, when you're starting something, because that is, could have solved so many different problems. I've seen in my own experience on boards over the years.
Speaker 2 00:24:49 So there are a couple of tools and add, Adam has these tools that I know he'd be happy to share. I have tools like that as well. Number one, in the recruitment process, put together a board perspective. And in that prospectus, it will outline all of these expectations. Is there a give and get policy? How many hours a month do you expect that you're asking a board member to serve? What are the dates and times of the board meeting. If you're bringing on an educator and you're doing it in the middle of the day, you're not being inclusive. So all those types of expectations are front and center on the recruitment process. Then once you've selected your board members, you need to onboard them. You absolutely need to have a formal onboarding process. Again, this is where those expectations get laid out in that onboarding process.
Speaker 2 00:25:45 And then the last thing that you want to do before that, even the knees, this is everything that's happening before that first board meeting, then you're going to have a board member agreement. And on that agreement, it's going to list out these expectations. It's going to be handed to that member on their first board meeting or right before it, for them to sign as well as a conflict of interest statement. So those are three tools that you can use to, um, talk about expectations right before a board member begin service. My dog is lapping water in the background. I don't know if you can hear that.
Speaker 0 00:26:26 It's all good. We love it. We love some sound effects going on in the background. Um, you know, one thing I, I, that you mentioned, Pam, that I want to go back to is the culture of an organization. And I think there's two pieces to that and that's the culture of your organization. But I think it goes back to this point, um, because I teach, uh, in, in our sport management program at my university. So we teach, you know, a lot of, um, I teach, you know, understanding organizational culture in a for-profit setting and how important that is. And I don't know that we talk about that enough in the nonprofit world, because it's the same thing. You have to understand the culture, how people are working, uh, together. And, um, because I will tell you, and I mean, you know, even with the years of NDPA, we've had times where that, that culture was adjusted in the, in the direction of not being so good.
Speaker 0 00:27:19 And it made it for some difficult times. And, you know, I've seen years where, you know, the culture is set, people get along, people understand each other the way the organization flows, what the expectations are, and then you see it on, you know, we've experienced years where that isn't the case and that creates a really difficult, uh, experience. Um, so I I'm wondering, you know, just your thoughts on that culture and how people should approach these nonprofits as a business. Cause again, I think we get so caused, driven that we forget what we're actually doing is a non w it's a nonprofit, but it's still a business, still a business. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:27:56 And, and I am a little concerned at least for the next year when we all start coming back together and our board meetings, unless we've done some attention, intentional team development over zoom, um, we're coming back together almost as strangers. And so I think that everybody needs to keep that in mind as we, if we come back together for our board meetings. So, uh, if you haven't done any of that intentional team building, then you might want to do that right away. Uh, getting to know people face to face. You want to have those face-to-face meetings whenever possible. And, uh, you know, NDP is a national board. And so we only have the opportunity to come together once or twice a year, but as a board member, put it as a priority to be able to attend in person. Uh, and, and that, and that requires
Speaker 1 00:28:51 Video on video when really when able to attend. Yeah. In not just listening. I mean, look, we all have had to be doing something else at the same time at one of the 12 board meetings a year. But generally speaking, if the expectation is known that we would like to see each other in person, um, the video screen, I think it's important these days to actually communicate that, you know, w we w we want that to be face to face and what you said to Pamela, and, and you said, Adam, I think what people really have to understand before they go on a board is that, yes, this is a mission. Yes, this is a passion. But if you're going onto a board, then you are interested in the business of the mission and the passion. That's all we do. That's it. And so what I think we've found in this space that can be a real problem with nonprofit boards is now you're going to hear my sound effects up there.
Speaker 1 00:29:49 Um, the, the, my, my six year old daughter with the Vitamix, and then I have my mother's dog and two other dogs. So I've strategically muted. A lot of situations here <inaudible>, uh, you know, is, is sometimes that passion can be almost detrimental because in order to be in the business of prevention, you know, and I have had a personal experience. If anyone's listening, my son almost died from drowning. He was in a coma for two days. He made a miraculous recovery, you know, we've experienced trauma. My daughter has experienced homicide. I've had this. So I understand passion. I understand drive. I understand something coming from your bones and your soul, but if you can't pull it back and look at the grand picture of your industry or your space to be able to talk calmly and professionally about the business of your specific area, it's then knowing that in and of yourself, the board is not maybe the best place, maybe a role as an advocate or on the advisory board is a better case, or maybe leading one of the charges for that organization, that we, you know, a program that they put together.
Speaker 1 00:31:07 So really, I think as a board member, looking at the person and saying, what is really the best role, and then also that person individually saying, do I really want to listen to calls about budgets and marketing strategy? And, you know, because that's what you're going to talk about. You know, that's what you're going to talk
Speaker 0 00:31:26 About. It's the business side of what we're dealing. Yeah. It's the business side of what we're dealing with,
Speaker 2 00:31:32 But I also want to say, and I think what adds to a lot of, uh, culture and for NDPA, we really look forward to coming together and hugging on Egypt there. And that's because we make time for fun as well. So we are dealing with a really difficult, awful topic. We are doing business together and it gets boring and it's not sexy, but if we can also intentionally schedule some time together for fun. And Adam knows with me that comes with a glass of scotch, but to, yeah,
Speaker 1 00:32:12 Maybe it's walking to get like a Bengay in new Orleans or something, you know, walking or exercise. We've done that. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:32:20 Fun into your meetings and schedule that fun when you come together. It it's that I think that's going to add to your culture in a huge way.
Speaker 0 00:32:31 Well, I, you know, Laura brings up a great point. I know, you know, in person meetings are, you know, great. And you, you really get to know people. I mean, I have some of my favorite stories from NDPA from just our board meeting trips. Um, I won't share any of them because, but I mean, so it'd be, you know, you build those relationships with people and, you know, and the, the one thing I want to go back to, well, two things I want to just say real quick props to Laura though on that video comment, because back when COVID first had our first board meeting, she said to me, whatever you do, the email that goes out to the board, you demanded that they are on video. And we have had ever since then on our monthly board meetings almost, I'd say 90% of our board members have their cameras on the entire time.
Speaker 0 00:33:19 And even though we're still a distance to be able to look at someone and have that conversation is so much more effective than a phone. I mean, I think back to all the phone meetings we used to do for all those years, and it's such a different feel, I mean, it doesn't replace being in person. Um, you know, the, um, uh, no, I lost, I think my other, uh, you know, point there, but I want to go, uh, to COVID and how this has affected nonprofits, because I, I really fearful, um, because we've seen nonprofits really struggle through COVID we fundraising, um, has been really goofy off, you know, through COVID, um, you know, are kind of funny. I thought, you know, fundraising would just completely, you know, go away during, uh, and I'm talking, you know, people actually unsolicited giving to a nonprofit organization, um, you know, really not knowing what was going to happen with the economy over the last year. And, um, you know, we've fared fairly well, uh, maintaining our budgets, but I've seen other nonprofits that have really struggled in this space. And I'm really concerned of not just now that we're through COVID, but what is that lagging effect? So I'm curious to know what your thoughts on that are Pam.
Speaker 2 00:34:33 Yeah. Uh, it has been extremely difficult and I think a lot of, uh, philanthropic dollars have been funneled towards direct services and direct needs and rightly so, uh, it was, and, and there are still people out there hurting. And even in Texas, you know, we went through snowpocalypse. I can't believe people are still out of their homes trying to get back in. So there we, we had such a need for, uh, direct services. Uh, and for that reason, I think it's critically important that everyone be watching their budgets and pivoting when necessary and good grief. I think Adam got so tired of us asking, we need, we need plan a budget. We need plan B budget. We need plans, say budget, but I know so many nonprofits that had never even considered what, what are the ramifications and what is that pivot point? What are our strategies moving forward? If you know, we have to plan a contingency plan or, and so you wait for Pam. I
Speaker 1 00:35:40 Distinctly remember you saying to me and Adam, when we decided we were going to put our entire conference online, good luck with that. I was wrong. I was cheerleading. I love the idea of your budget, which is actually air and doesn't really exist. It's all or nothing, but you do seem really convinced that this is going to work. So we moved the conversation to having faith in your board members. And that's what I, you know, that's what I'm talking about. This, those
Speaker 2 00:36:16 Pivot points, having those contingency plans. I think those, and that's a whole different topic as a nonprofit, you know, how do you put contingency plans together if you're not doing it now? I mean, you have got to be doing it because who knows the next time something is going to happen. So, uh, those contingency plans are super important as well. Um, and now I lost my train of thought. So yeah, it's those pivot point. It's looking ahead at strategy, you know, just keep the vision in mind
Speaker 0 00:36:45 And if you're not in a executive director and you know, that is constantly thinking about contingencies, you know, because let's face it. I mean, we are nonprofits, we're not sitting on, you know, huge sums of money. You know, most organizations, I mean, you know, have a small reserve account, you know, for, you know, hopefully when times get rough, but your goal is to never tackle that. And it's not, you know, it's not, people's favorite thing to think about because, you know, we want to think about, you know, how can we best serve our community? How can we best, um, you know, reach our mission. But at the end of the day, we keep going back to this point, it's still a business and you still have to, you know, think about if, if our, you know, donations take a hit or an event doesn't do well, uh, or we weren't able to have the event because of COVID.
Speaker 0 00:37:31 How are you replacing those funds? Or how are you going to scale down your operations to weather the storm almost. And I want to send me it, wasn't a fun exercise to go through, but going through that during COVID, I mean, opened up my eyes to, you know, if, and when something catastrophic happens, what is our plan? What is our first line of defense to say, okay, let's keep the organization rolling, but let's make some adjustments to, to, to better sustain ourselves. Um, you know, Pam, I've remembered my point earlier that I want to go back to, and I, cause I think it ties in here. So critically is you said earlier, you know, don't be afraid to have those hard discussions with each other. And I think that's something too, we get super comfortable with the non-profits because it's such a friend to friend relationship, you know, you do truly become, you know, friends with your fellow board members, your fellow, um, you know, your coworkers, your peers in this space. And sometimes that can be an awkward conversation. When you go to challenge someone when you maybe disagree or you want, um, you know, an answer. And, you know, I've always said to my board members, you know, please, you know, ask the questions because maybe I'm not thinking of something or maybe I need to look at something a little bit differently. Um, and I'll never forget, I think it was maybe your first or second year on the board. Um, I'll never forget we were in a board meeting.
Speaker 1 00:38:49 I'm wondering which story you're going to tell here,
Speaker 0 00:38:53 But this is good. I mean, we were in a budgetary discussion and I mean, Pam and I were on two totally opposite sides and I, you know, I, and I know the story Laura is thinking of too. Um, but, uh, you know, <inaudible> board meeting. Yeah, yeah. But, but we, you know, we, we basically, I mean, we're, we're not at each other's throats, but I mean, we're, you know, really disagreeing with each other about the topic and you know, that was okay. We were able to disagree, hear each other out, have a discussion. And I think some of the other board members were like, oh my God, Pam and Adam are really going at it. And then, Hey, you had to leave early. And we went out the hallway and you're like, oh, you're doing such a great job. And you hugged me. And you know, it was all good because it really didn't interfere with the friendship. It was all about business. When you're in that board meeting, it's, what's in the best interest of the organization, not my personal friendship with someone
Speaker 1 00:39:41 I have to back you up on that with you, Pam, you have taught absolutely so many people, including myself, how to do that. Um, and the tactful way that you do it. Um, I think which is a whole discussion for a whole, another podcast is as women. We also fear that, you know, I mean, this is, you know, that people are gonna say, I hate to say it, you know, what a bitch or whatever, you know, if we decide we're going to do that, but it's so important to show leadership. And I think actually I will give all three of us props. I think all three of us have done that for a year, a couple of years now, of challenge each other in that meeting. And then, you know, theoretically or otherwise walk out and give a hug. And it's not, we're not, it's not personal.
Speaker 1 00:40:34 We are doing our jobs in there and it's important to bring these points up. And I have learned personally so much from you in how to do that tactfully and well. Um, yeah, I have to give you some props on that, that w that as growing and maturing for me as a business person on a board, I had to learn that as well. Um, also adding in, like, we've talked about the passion that comes into these spaces, you can, you really need to be able to do that tactfully and, you know, you've done it so well. And I really, I had to back Adam up on that one and give you some prompts there, that's such an important, important skill to get the business done and not have it sort of derailed by some of these other emotional things that occur
Speaker 2 00:41:17 Really appreciate those kind words. Thank you so much. One of the, uh, every job performance I've ever had, I think I've been torn down because you're too direct. You're too direct and I am direct. So I really appreciate those kinds of kind words, but I think if it's delivered with, uh, that, uh, that, uh, we can, you know, we maintain those friendships and we are all good friends on the board. So I really appreciate that. I'd also like to throw into that this conversation and, and I don't want to take it down too far, but I do want to say, especially in the times that we're in right now and we're, and, uh, diversity, equity and inclusion is such a big, uh, issue. Um, I look frozen. Can you all hear me still? Yep. Yep. You're okay, Pam.
Speaker 2 00:42:07 All right. Thank you very much. Sorry. Um, these are those hard conversations. And when we start getting into those DEI conversations, they are difficult. And so they need to be delivered with respect. They, number one, they need to be delivered. Don't shy away from it, but those, you know, if somebody says something then, and you're thinking something's robbing you, you know, you're just not super comfortable in the moment. We'll try to think it through and try to back up that person, have that allyship with the conversation and help push those conversations forward, because that is how you're going to grow as a board and grow, push your mission forward so that it's inclusive to all people and of, and of course, in drowning prevention, we need to be talking about all communities. Uh, so, uh, again, those respectful conversations and please do have them, you
Speaker 0 00:43:03 Know, one thing Pam that I think is, is so super critical here is the point that, you know, we've, I've said this, I think twice now is these are difficult conversations. They are difficult, you know, we're, we're when we're in a board meeting, you know, nothing's easy, you know, we're discussing about mission, vision, budget. You know, you're looking at the overall health long-term success of the organization. Um, but these things are super critical, you know, and, and I mean, I'm even getting as nitpicky as like your bylaws, your policy manuals, your, as you mentioned, your board onboarding, having a thoughtful DEI strategy and not just, well we've thought about DEI, but how are you actually activating it in your organization and into your mission and,
Speaker 1 00:43:49 Uh, define DEI real quick. If anybody doesn't know who, uh, who's listening, um, what DEI is.
Speaker 0 00:43:56 So Pam I'll let you take that one. Yeah, yeah. Sorry. I
Speaker 1 00:43:59 Interrupted you just in case. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:44:01 As I mentioned, a DEI stands for diversity equity and inclusion. So how do we represent everybody that is our client base and how do we include everybody? And that goes everywhere. That goes from the board to the operations of the organization, to the delivery of the program, to your bylaws. I mean, that's the strategy that Adam's talking about. So it's a, it's a huge, uh, endeavor for an organization to take on, but it needs to start the top with the leadership and those hard conversations.
Speaker 0 00:44:35 But I mean, even as far as, you know, having a policy manual as an organization, um, you know, and I'm not ashamed to admit when you first came in Pam, that was your first question. Do we have a policy manual? And I said, well, we have policies. I don't know if they're all in a manual somewhere. And, you know, we wrote it. And I mean, it was, it was a, it was, uh, it was a task to do that policy manual. We broke the board down into teams and I mean, we really got it done, but I'll tell you that was one of the best things we did because now there's no question here. We've thought through, you know, certain circumstances how we would handle things and everyone's in agreement, there's governance involved. And I guess my point here is no matter which way you look at the topics that we're discussing today, you know, they're not the most sexiest, they're not the most, you know, dedicated right. You know, directly to the mission of drowning prevention. But if you don't have these things in place, your organization, isn't going to be successful and set up for the longterm. And really that's what we need to see as sustainability in these non-profit organizations.
Speaker 2 00:45:34 Yeah. And I think the other thing that, that I wasn't willing to go forward with without, after we got the policies in place, policy and procedures, was that strategic plan and talk about not sexy and talk about people not wanting to go through the process. Absolutely vital to the sustainability. And Laura is a Glasgow word. I can't think about it anymore, but it's just so important for the sustainability and to get everybody on the same page and moving forward, otherwise you are hit by so many different directions of so many great ideas by all your wonderful board members, but how are you going to move it forward because you're going to be constantly going in different directions.
Speaker 0 00:46:18 So I, um, you know, you're exactly right, but I quickly, quickly, yeah, it, it was painful, but not quite as painful as the strategic marketing exercises that Laura Metro made me. Um, you know, I used to, I think we've done this with two or three times Laura, where I've like hopped on a little and it's a for our listeners. So I live in Western Pennsylvania that is like super rural. So my connection to DC, where Laura lives as a single engine propeller plane that, uh, you know, tickets are $35. So I don't know what that means, but, um, you know, what it gets there, it's an interesting ride. Um, but I've, I've, you know, done these day trips where I fly down early morning, come back in the evening. And Laura and I just dedicated a conference room all day planning and DPA marketing. And, you know, I often laugh at Laura for like, you know, add, you know, pay attention. And the only time has ever looked at me and said, stop, you're distracted. You need, I need you to focus right now. It was during the strategic market. Okay. Adam
Speaker 1 00:47:18 Focus, he goes, what you're telling me to focus like focus,
Speaker 0 00:47:23 You know, same, same point though. I mean, from a marketing perspective, I mean, that was the four years ago of what you see today of what NDPA social media has become, be a consumer resource, the N the website, the branding, the conference, and the changes you've seen. It was all bore out of that. And granted not the most sexy conversations and same thing, you know, discussing it with the board, but such critical pieces to elevate the organization and have it evolve. So, um, Pam, before I know we're coming down to the end of our time, I, I, I, I know I have two questions for you at the end, but I want to get to one other thing first and that's, can you talk to us a little bit more about board build? What board build is, what services you provide? Because, um, you know, I think the services that you're providing are so helpful to, especially startup nonprofits and young nonprofits coming on the scene, um, because you've really taken a lot of what we're discussing and really packaged it for nonprofits. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:48:21 You start on that was that anybody who's listening, who is either just starting or that don't get overwhelmed by this conversation, these things are done piece by piece by piece over time, you know, this is not done in the first year of a nonprofit, just like Adam said, when Pam came on, we had policies, but nothing in manual. And that's okay. You know, you, you, if you try to do all of this in the first year, you wouldn't probably do any actual work of your foundation. So please don't be overwhelmed. Pam, Pam is going to tell you some more about what her work can do for you, but understand that what we're talking about is our growth and these things that we've done over time. Um, and, and, you know, this do not get overwhelmed by this. This is something we've done over a long period of time, and then really got things flowing and moving. So I just wanted to make sure that anyone listening, who's like, oh my God, I can't do this. I'm all by myself right now. And I just want to start something it's okay. Like it's okay. And, and Pam is also what she does too. And her company does is a very important piece here to help.
Speaker 2 00:49:27 Yeah. Yes. And what we did is we took that, that they essentials of nonprofit board governance. So if you're passionate, if you, if you have a vision and you want to move forward with it, then do take the time to go to board bill.org and log in and look at, uh, at our modules, uh, that, and the description of what we have to offer, uh, the training that is where we make our revenue. The training is a mere $200, and it will give you all the basics of running a nonprofit board. And that is absolutely critical. If you are the leader, you have got to understand nonprofit board governance in order to bring a team together. And so that's where we start the next point. Uh, next piece of the package then is finding those team members. And we do have, especially in the time of COVID now, um, we were all meeting virtually. So you do not need to look in your own neighborhood for a skillset. If you are looking for that, that legal person that might also have a passion for what you're doing, you can look in Kansas or Washington DC or Washington state, uh, and those people are in our pipeline and, and, uh, everything is online on demand. And so, uh, that is what board build offers and appreciate the opportunity to pitch it
Speaker 0 00:50:50 Real quick. I mean, that's a, just to, I guess reiterate, I mean, it's almost like a matchmaking service for an organization to a board member and what an amazing tool, because, you know, and this is where I say, um, you know, real quickly, cause I, we go through this process every year with NDPA, it's, you're always going to have good people who are able to serve on your board, but that's not the only component here. It's what skill sets do you need to elevate or advance your organization? And that's doing not only, you know, having a perspective, but you have to do that inward look, right. And actually say, well, you know, ask some hard questions of the organization and, you know, I know this sounds crazy, but they don't have to be a water safety person. Um, you know, so many times we're in that discussion of, well, what are they doing?
Speaker 0 00:51:43 Water safety. And, you know, I know, again, this is not meant to sound critical to anyone in water safety, but I'm at a point now with a board member, I don't necessarily care if they're in water safety. Cause we have a ton of experts at our disposal in water safety. What I need is someone who's a financial expert, someone who has done massive fundraising efforts before someone, you know, like Laura, um, you know, and, and I'm gonna use both of you as an example, when you both came onto the boards at different points, we looked and said, you know, with Laura, we need someone who has a true marketing background. And, you know, Laura, you know, was thankfully in the water safety community and unfortunately due to her son's accident. But, um, you know, had that background and peace and same thing with you, Pam.
Speaker 0 00:52:27 I mean, I, I, I know we're going to go over a few seconds, Pam. I hope that's okay. I got to share real quick cause you're on our podcast or how you and I first met. Um, we were, uh, uh, this was back in, I think 2015 at our first conference in Texas down in Dallas. And, uh, uh, you were on the planning committee. I, because you were the executive director of the Fort worth driving prevention coalition at the time. And I think my flight got canceled and I ha I was flying out like the, the day after that. And I was just going to hang out at the hotel all day. And you had heard about the, uh, the by situation and you're like, why am I come pick you up? And you know, I'm going to show you Fort worth and mind you, we were in Dallas and there was no opportunity to see Dallas.
Speaker 0 00:53:08 Cause you said, no, I'm going to show you a better city. I'm going to take you across, I'll show you Fort worth. Um, but you know, that was, you know, you opened my eyes that day to a lot of this discussion because I really didn't know you and you didn't know me that well, you know, we were in the network and I, and it was so gracious of to, you know, not, you know, allow me to sit at the hotel all day, but it really dawned on me kind of where we needed to take NDPA in this direction. And, um, it took me, I think, a couple of years to convince you to come onto the board. And, um, I have to say so thankful and privileged to have you as, as vice president, hopefully president here soon because you bring that, um, that nonprofit expertise that we needed to really take the organization to that next level. And I always say it's a team effort. Um, but it's having the right team members to make it a team effort. And that's something I think we've been really diligent about over the years, um, and still are to this day. Um, so Pam, my final two questions for you, what is one thing that our audience probably doesn't know about you, but you wish they did
Speaker 2 00:54:14 Well. And, and you sent me up to this early and I, I don't, I just don't have a great answer, but because it's, I wish I did, but I guess that part of it, but I guess one thing that you don't know, and I don't know that you want to know this about me, but, um, don't take me to 16,000 feet. I've I've been up there and anywhere between 14 and 16,000 feet, I love a challenge. I I'm an adventurer at heart, but I'm not happy between 14 and 16,000 feet. So there you go.
Speaker 0 00:54:44 Yeah. Yeah. We haven't, I don't think she'll mind me sharing this story because I think she shared it on the conference when she was on with us. But the one year NDP, I was w I think I was still a student in college at the time, had their conference in Colorado Springs and Marianne Downing. God loved that woman. She, I was fi I had to follow behind her, the entire conference. And I think I saved her from falling downstairs three or four times, because she'd get up to the top. It'd be like, she'd look at me and go, I'm going down. I'm going down. Yep. I can relate. So, uh, the next question, Pam, or your last question is, so if I gave you a magic wand and you could change one thing in drowning prevention or water safety, what would that one thing be?
Speaker 2 00:55:28 Uh, Laura's going to love my answer to this. I want one unified message. I want everybody working together in partnership, collaborating, same message. Get rid of all these silos. We are just in, we are not working together. That is why I believe so strongly in NDPA because together we can prevent drownings and that, and it starts with working together in partnership one unified mission message. Okay. Absolutely.
Speaker 0 00:55:55 That's such a great answer. Well, Pam, thank you so much for joining us today and thank you for all you do for water safety and drowning prevention. I know you commit hours to NDPA. Um, you know, and I know, uh, serving as VP and, uh, like I said, crossing my fingers on the presidency here. I have a few glasses of scotch. I need to buy her to convince her about, but, uh, you know, seriously though, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Because, um, you know, it, you make my job easier because you, um, you look out for the organization in a way that I don't know that every other board member has the skillset or the knowledge to do so. Thank you so much for your, your commitment and especially for joining us today, uh, for the DPO podcast. All right. All right. Thanks Pam. Take care. I'm sure we'll be talking soon. Um, Laura that's, uh, what an incredible discussion. I mean, we hit on so many, so many different items.
Speaker 1 00:56:51 There was just so, you know, I feel like when I was trying to explain it earlier, you know, when Pam came on the board, it just really felt like the time that we were, we were growing to where we wanted to be and where we needed to be. And, and it was time to put this structure in place and she was just the right person to do it. And I just sort of remember, I don't know if it was a feeling of relief, but a feeling of like, yes, yes. Because we had worked so hard and you do that in the nonprofit space. You're just scrappy and you're just hustling. Right. And it's not that we aren't like that anymore, but it just felt like we,
Speaker 0 00:57:32 Uh, no, we are, we are for sure.
Speaker 1 00:57:36 Right. I mean, we've gotten to the precipice and, and that was the next major step to the next iteration of this organization. And I couldn't be, um, you know, more supportive of, of what she's doing. Cause it really, really it, if you don't end up focusing on this, you aren't going to make it in the long-term and, and that's really it. And you know, it just really felt like this was the step forward. So it was just such an important discussion to have,
Speaker 0 00:58:09 Yeah, the closest down, I really want to stress this. I mean the, the point of this podcast and you know, when NDPA we talk about nonprofit governance or nonprofit management, it's not to talk down to nonprofit organizations in the water safety space to say, no, look at what we're doing. You, you know, it's because we know to make this sustainable for all of us as an Alliance to really achieve what we want to achieve, we have to be strong at every single level. And that's the community coalitions, that's the foundations, that's everyone involved. And, you know, you're only as strong as your weakest link. Right. And what have to make sure all our links are strong and it really starts with, as we've sat, not the most sexy, you know, stuff, but it's the most critical stuff to make sure there's longevity to our mission and we're able to achieve what we want to achieve.
Speaker 1 00:58:57 Yeah. And we're opening up, you know, we're, uh, in transparency in a way, opening up sort of our story in general of how we've come to be where we are now and where we're going. But you know, we're not hiding the mistakes along the way. Or, you know, again, like I said to someone listening, we didn't, we didn't do all this, you know, at once there's been a lot of, of, of backward and then forward. And you know, it's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, frankly,
Speaker 0 00:59:26 You don't always have the answers either. I mean, my God, I think it was probably the last board meeting. I think we changed or added, you know, five or six policies and, and modified some, I mean, it's not a, you know, just, you did it once and you're done, it's a constantly evolving piece. Um, and that's, I think I want to go back to your point is you're not going to have all this in place at once, but it's how do you start building? And it's that strategy behind all of this that I think is so important.
Speaker 1 00:59:51 Yeah. And it's hard to it's it is difficult to take a minute to step back. And the only times, frankly, we are able to do it is when we are either, oh, way together. You know, frankly, I mean, if you're working on strategy, most likely you, it's not a day-to-day thing. It is something you need to make, uh, a day or two away to do nothing but that, and that is how you'll get it done. That's the quickest way you'll get it done, but it is overwhelming to think about it, to try to put it your mindset in it. It's not going to work. Um, if you have an hour on Tuesday, it it's something that is just like we said, it's a day or whatever it is. If you have somebody that can guide you through the process even better. Um, and you know, I, that, that's the advice I'd give there.
Speaker 0 01:00:38 I'm going to tag one other organization that has helped NDPA out so much. And I'm surprised it didn't come up in our discussion today is, um, you know, and I got to represent my local Pittsburgh area, but Robert Morris university, um, we've utilized the bear center for nonprofit management. Um, their consultants were fantastic working with small nonprofit organizations and mainly because they're providing super high quality expertise, um, but doing it at a reasonable price point for nonprofits. Um, and you know, when you can, uh, we we've had consultants come in, I think to help build the policy manual to help, um, with our first strategic planning, um, initiative. And it's really interesting cause you're adding someone in who isn't on your board. Isn't part of that mix, but it can challenge you in different ways. Um, we have some good stories from that, which I'm sure we'll get to eventually in the podcast here, there's probably going to be a couple of podcasts. We're just going to be me and you talking and all that can get dangerous. We'll leave it there. All right. So yeah, we'll, we'll, we'll wrap our, our, uh, our sixth episode and, uh, keep an eye out for episode seven next week. Thank you, Laura. Thanks to Pam for joining us today. Have a great weekend. Stay safe out there.