From Experiment to Reality - Abundance is the Way Forward

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Book: The Abundant Not-for-Profit

Over the past few years, I have been a “high potential,” “second in command,” “next generation” leader. As mentioned in past blog posts, I’ve been part of an experiment in succession planning here at Vantage Point. Last week, I returned from maternity leave to embark on a five month journey to turn that experiment into reality (and put my potential to the test) by assuming the role of Interim Executive Director.

After a heart-wrenching, “Mummy, I’d like you to stay home with me,” from my three year old on Monday morning, I left my little ones to my talented and generally awesome Mum. I enjoyed a relaxed commute from Bowen Island, chatting with neighbours who shared perspective and well wishes. As I walked through Vantage Point’s doors, I felt familiar energy sweep me up and carry me forward with positivity and possibility. 

I met with many members of our talent team, both employees and knowledge philanthropists, who began to equip me with knowledge and resources to succeed. I checked in with my husband who had picked up the kids and was preparing their dinner and bedtime. And then I reconnected with board members at the monthly board meeting.

I am not alone in this. What a novel idea. And yet, that’s what the message of The Abundant Not-for-Profit boils down to. As individuals, as executive directors, as teams, as organizations, and as communities we are not alone. The test is for us to both believe it and act to capture the abundance of available talent.

As an organization, we’ve known for a long time we can’t do it alone. Vantage Point has been walking the talk for many years now. We have tapped into the talented people in our community to move our mission forward.

Returning to work last week reminded me that as an individual, I also can’t do it alone. I am now taking action to more mindfully capture the abundance of talent around me. I have taken my Mum up on her offer to look after our children two days a week. I have arranged weekly coaching calls with a knowledge philanthropist. Today I accepted an offer from my daycare provider to send our little ones home with homemade pizza for dinner. I have meetings booked with a list of incredibly talented community members who might serve as strategic advisors. I just asked my husband to pick up groceries. And I am watching the salaried talent team at Vantage Point take ownership and leadership in countless areas.

I won’t lie; this week has had its highs and lows. My family’s energy is a little stretched. My bathrooms won’t get cleaned. However, thanks to the message of strength and possibility that the abundance of talented people in my life make possible, I am looking forward with renewed passion and belief in myself.

Are you ready to turn your or your organization’s dreams into reality? What abundance will you draw from to realize that opportunity? 

About the Author

After working in London and completing her MBA at INSEAD in France and Singapore, Maria Turnbull joined Vantage Point’s team in 2006. Rooted in the not-for-profit sector through numerous leadership roles with the British and Canadian Red Cross Societies, OXFAM and Amnesty International, Maria loves...


David Sena's picture
David Sena (not verified) on

Maria,  I am excited for you.  As a leader in our organization for the past 12 years, I am amazed by the people who have impacted our organization.  I sometimes want to pinch myself.  

My one encouragement I would share with you, "Be yourself.  With all the things that you have to learn, decide and absorb.  Be true to your instincts and values.  This is what makes you unique."

Best of luck,

Dave Sena,

Northlands Rescue Mission

Maria Turnbull's picture
Maria Turnbull (not verified) on

David, many sincere thanks for this encouragement and advice. It really is one of the most important inputs to success - bringing our authentic self to the role. I might just have to put that quote up as a significant reminder!

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