Have you ever sat on a non-profit board? Everyone should be a director at least once, it gives one a good perspective on organizational function.
I sat on the board of the Lethbridge Sustainable Living Association since 2012. I’m proud to have been part of the original creation of this non-profit society. Proud to have co-drafted its statement of objectives. Those objectives are; to create and support local food initiatives, fossil-free energy projects and eco-friendly, affordable housing. Oh and to use these ideas to build an ecovillage in southern Alberta.
In September 2016 I started to think about resigning from the presidency. It was a position I served for 5 years. While I was on the fence with my indecision and having my doubts about the future of the LSLA, a friend said to me, “you can’t resign the LSLA is your baby”. To me, that was a green light. Because if an organization becomes one person’s baby, that person hasn’t done their job. Their job should be to encourage accountability, lead so that others will follow and bring in others to share that dream. Basically, to make it “everyone’s baby”.
I had never been a particularly effective leader (I have that much self-awareness). I mean, I did stuff but I’ve always lacked that special ingredient that brings people in. And it’s probably due to that awareness that I knew exactly the type of person the LSLA needed. I figured we needed someone younger, with good media savvy, exceptional networking skills and a demonstrated background in environmental concerns.
I was so happy that the right person showed up at the AGM along with a strong contingent of supporters, new and veteran. Today, it's hard to find people with the drive and passion to create their dreams within the framework of a non-profit society. But when you do find the right mix it can be so inspiring. And so it is true for today’s board on the Lethbridge Sustainable Living Association. Thanks Mandy and thanks to all those who stepped up to be on the board of the LSLA!
Today I feel like an elder more than a board executive. It is with both rue and excitement that I look onto this board and it’s incredible growth. On the one hand so happy to see the seeds that were planted years ago starting to spring forth. AppleFest poised to become a really fantastic event, Permaculture Lethbridge (formerly Urban Farmers) finding its place as a creator of gardens and the ecovillage project rebranded as the Agrihood Project, beginning to take root.
All this, with that feeling one has when “the baby” grows up. This baby has not only grown up, it’s now running a brisk jog! I have gratitude for being able to witness this wonderful unfolding of a great organization, one that has relevance and meaning for the 21st century. One that is key to our transition towards a civilization that nurtures the planet.
Gilles Leclair is the founder of GeoStudios. Somewhat eccentric, fairly environmentalist, politically aware, he believes the world should have more off-grid communities... many more.