A Love Letter and Call to Action to NLC Volunteers

Apply for the Senior Programs Advisory Committe (SPAC)

May 1, 2023 //Karen Pandy-Cherry

Dear New Leaders Council volunteers, 

You train the people who change the world. At home in your chapters, you drive our community leadership movement, working every day to build trust, center equity, and make local change one Fellow at a time. 

It’s not easy to run Institute for six months – and you do so much work in the background to prepare for each year’s class of Fellows, including nominate, encourage, and select each class. As a current volunteer with NLC Orlando with my husband Chad, I know it takes the hard work of every board member to make Institute run smoothly. What looks so well orchestrated to our Fellows requires so much behind the scenes magic: collaborating with creativity, problem-solving with your team, creating safe and inviting spaces, planning and executing events and fundraisers, connecting with community members to book speakers and plan activities, finding venues, ordering lunch and supplies, making donor calls, organizing chapter board meetings – you do it all! 

After your day jobs, you choose to devote your excellence to NLC. You give us your weekends at Institute, your evenings for board meetings, your mid-week lunch hours for answering Fellow emails. For your chapters, you have kindly devoted your free time, creative energy, listening ears, and kind hearts. You’ve given years of service to hundreds of local NLC Fellows and alumni, impact that multiplies far beyond what we can fathom. Thank you.

The reality is, you’re the kind of people that our world needs: those committed to promoting inclusion, diversity, and equity; those who center their values, in particular equity and continuous growth; those who work collaboratively and effectively with diverse groups of people and through strong communication and interpersonal skills. You engage, inspire, and motivate others. You are adaptable, practicing balancing between competing priorities – able to adapt to changing circumstances and be flexible in approach to problem solving. You are self-reflective and adept at listening and receiving feedback as a part of continuous growth. You are a new kind of leader.

Thank you for choosing to continue your individual leadership development with us. The hours you put in – your ideas, perspectives, talents –  strengthen the NLC network. By volunteering, you help not only in your local chapter, but also scale our impact to make progress go farther and farther nationwide. You, along with more than 400 others in chapters from the Pacific Northwest to South Florida, train nearly 1,000 new Fellows every year.  You are a leader in your chapter and your local community.

With all that gratitude, I pose a new opportunity: I invite you to go beyond your important local role and scale up nationally by serving on NLC’s brand new advisory group, the Senior Programs Advisory Committee (SPAC). SPAC will work collaboratively with NLC HQ to provide strategic guidance, mentorship, and advisory support to chapters and caucuses. The senior volunteer group will be responsible for creating an inclusive and supportive environment that fosters learning, growth, and leadership development within the NLC community. 

I’ve included more information about SPAC below. We formed SPAC as a new phase in NLC’s continuous growth. While both the National Programs Committee (NPC) and National Diversity Committee (NDC) were sunset in March, they were the scaffolding that helped build what NLC is today. Now, with our support strongly in place, NLC’s SPAC can continue and accelerate the organization’s capacity both internally and externally.

NLC’s NPC and NDC worked with NLC HQ to create the structure and strategy to fully bloom. Their members worked diligently to develop the organization, forming  who we are today. With their help, NLC launched its first equity statement; incorporated diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) more consistently into its programs; established more effective feedback and evaluation systems; all while upgrading the Curriculum Guide, recruitment efforts, and many other Institute improvements. Thank you to the members of the NPC and NDC for helping us build capacity in order to meet this moment. 

Now in our next phase of continuous growth, we have been able to automate more of our day to day chapter support and shift our focus to larger scale programming. Enter SPAC. SPAC will work alongside NLC HQ’s programming team and regional coordinators to look ahead more expansively into the future. SPAC members will help ensure that DEI continues to be  woven through NLC programming, map our path into the future,  and hold the organization accountable to its strategic plan and vision. SPAC will also provide leadership development support through projects like chapter director training, orientation and onboarding.

Thank you for being NLC’s champions every day. Thank you for being you, and for allowing us the privilege to learn and grow beside you. Thank you for lending us your joy, your tact, and your beautiful ability to build strong relationships among the NLC community. 

With love and gratitude,

Karen Pandy-Cherry

Learn more about the SPAC below, see eligibility requirements, and apply by May 15, 2023!

  • Community: 
    • Serve as ambassadors to chapters to foster strong community culture aligned with NLC values
    • Provide insight to staff on strategic questions or challenges facing chapters/ volunteers
    • Provides the organization’s national and local leadership with cutting-edge DEI expertise across a wide variety of identities and communities
    • Support HQ and chapters in recruitment and selections process
  • Leadership: 
    • Support HQ in providing leadership development training to chapter volunteers
    • Support the grievance process between Fellows and chapters and among chapter board members
    • Coach chapter directors in effective chapter board management
    • Support staff with a specific chapter, Caucus, or volunteer who is unsuitable or values misaligned in their role
    • Advise HQ on infusing DEI into all programs & project plans
    • Coaching and mentoring chapters boards on implementing DEI in their local programs and operations
  • Movement: 
    • Support HQ in ensuring chapter, caucus, and alumni efforts are aligned with the strategic plan
    • Support Programs & Operations team in creating opportunities for collective impact among chapters, volunteers, and alumni
    • Support NLC in its movement toward progress including introducing new strategic partnerships and other opportunities as they arise