Monday, May 4, 2009

Our Dream Team Is Up For the Challenge

As I look over our strategic goals set in 2005 during the organization’s first comprehensive Strategic Plan in more than a decade, I tend to focus on the more dramatic changes at Senior Citizen Services. Our financial stability, our diversified revenue development, our dramatic growth in volunteerism and program outputs (homes repaired, meals delivered, etc.).

What I don’t think I have done enough of, is praise our amazing staff for their gifts, increased attention to quality and trust, and passion for our mission. Don’t get me wrong, our donors and volunteers are our bread and butter; the board has raised the bar, our amazing committees and chairs are legendary in Atlanta, and where would we be without our seniors? But our staff deserves special attention.

Goal #1 of our Strategic Plan included the following objective:
1. Identify and implement strategies that raise the level of expertise of the staff team and the Board of Trustees
We recognized during the planning process that a staff that is passionate about their work and has the knowledge and training in their respective fields to be leaders that these factors would combine toward ensuring the organization has the capacity to grow.

How do we know we’re improving?

• We have more team members with specific experience and accomplishments in their fields than five years ago—Anne Foster, our New Horizons Center Manager, had been in critical positions and served on boards of other aging-related organizations before coming our way. Brad Catherman was a well established and well recognized Gift Planning Officer at Marist before coming to SCS.

• Team members complete more training objectives every year than ever before. Whether it is Neena Malone receiving intensive training from Meals On Wheels Association of America or Greg Davis becoming a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) for Home Repair Services, we continue to learn and implement best practices.
• Our collaborations have increased. Initiating the Home Repair Network or the Senior Centers Wellness Collaborative are two examples of how we convene experts and partners to strengthen our programming and knowledge. Partners get involved and stay involved when we have responsive and organized leadership involved.

These are a few examples of how vital our staff is in our service provision. Our team tends to recognize other stakeholders when it comes to praise—the volunteers, the seniors, the donors. Yes, these are vitally important constituents, but now more than ever we have the right team to meet the needs of Atlanta seniors going forward. They are capable. They are compassionate. They are dedicated. And they appreciate diversity within the team atmosphere.

Hats off to you, Team SCS, for raising the bar. You challenge me, impress me, support me, and push me and others to do everything we can for vulnerable seniors. You are the safety net—thank you for all you do.
- by Jeff Smythe, Executive Director

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