Bruce's Blog


Ten Things I LOVE About My Job (Part 2)

May 21st, 2010

Here are more things I love about my job as Executive Director of United Church Outreach Ministry (UCOM) in Wyoming MI.

4. People. Having pastored for 25 years before I came to UCOM, I have worked with many boards of directors. I have also sat on more community organizations’ boards over the years than I want to think about. UCOM’s board of directors is a model. Though the board is constantly aware of their need to continue to change and grow to reflect the skills sets, diverse demographic and networks that are necessary to keep the organization on the cutting edge of our work for justice, it currently is a dynamic leadership force. One of the founders of UCOM remarked after a recent board meeting that “this board is perfect for the times.” This board is every executive director’s dream—strong leadership, big vision, tough questioners, and 100% supportive of the collective decisions. Though the board votes on action issues, nearly every decision is arrived at by consensus. The board members are available to me individually for advice in their areas of expertise. No one board member jockeys for power over the others. The board sets broad and challenging direction for the organization in five-year plans and monitors the progress toward those goals at monthly meetings. They consciously avoid involvement in day to day operations, choosing to leave the “hows” to the capable staff in which they have confidence.

5. People. Colleagues empower UCOM to accomplish vastly more good in the community than we could as a single organization. Grand Rapids MI is home to the most collaborative network of non-profit, educational and governmental agencies that I have encountered anywhere. Never does a day go by that I am not in touch for business or for social interaction with several other leaders in the community. I sit on the Service Learning Advisory Committee for Calvin College which many of our great volunteers over the years attend. The Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association which is a great asset to our community claims some of my attention nearly every week. I have lunch once a month with two different groups of CEOs from other non-profits. We discuss all kinds of possibilities and get to relate on a personal level. There is a lot of trust that develops in those meetings. UCOM partners in one way or another with about 50 churches, 30 other non-profit organizations and numerous businesses through the three chambers of commerce of which the agency is a member.

Another of the delights of my job is that I get invited to the table at numerous gatherings to work with some of the most talented, energetic, brilliant people to explore solutions to the most pressing needs of the community. Together we can and do make a huge difference in the life of our community.

I’m halfway to the 10 things I love about my job. Later maybe I’ll share the ten things I like least about my job. What feelings do these comments stir for you? Leave a comment and tell me about your feelings about your job.


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