Thursday, February 23, 2006

Disempowered

I found out something this week that has put me at emotional odds. My old boss in DC was fired last week for mismanagement. One day, the board chairman walked into her office and asked her to leave. I imagine she saw it coming. When she was hired, she had no previous executive director experience, nor did she ever work for a non-profit. But I was there. I already had systems in place to make sure every "t" was crossed. The Board relied on me to make it all work.

And I did.

Now, there are many things I will admit I cannot do, however running a business is not on that list. I have foresight and vision when it comes to finances, budgeting and expectations. There were several times while I was working there that I had to sit with my boss and explain that what she was doing or wanted to do was not prudent at the time. And one of my reasons for leaving Empower was that I was slowly watching this company (that I had worked so hard at saving) being poorly managed. And all my talking wouldn't prevent what I could see as the inevitable.

Empower had a solid staff for two years with no turnover. However a month after I left, the Director of Marketing quit. A month after that, the Director of Programs quit. In December, the Coordinator of Girls Programs quit. And the founder of the organization who spoke publicly on behalf of Empower, was refusing to do so. Two-thirds of the staff resigned within four months.

So my emotions are mixed: part of me feels vindicated for all my unheeded warnings about poor financial decisions and bad direction; and part of me feels very sad that this place I loved is crumbling to the ground. Time will tell how this plays out. And however that will be, I am just thankful I am not there to see it.

2 comments:

  1. Be happy you left. I suffered through a transition of a National Non-profit in 2.5 years that saw me go through 4 executive directors and 67 staff members. Our agerage staff size was 12-15 people. At one point I out-tenured everyone by a year and a half and held titles of "Director of Public Policy, Acting Director of Governmnet Affairs, Program Coordinator, Grant Writer, Deputy Development Director, Spokesperson, NORA Coordinator, UCHAPS Coordinator, and general handyman/secretary. While ultimately things got better, the pay was not good enough to support the level of therapy I needed. I finally up and left with no plans. Three years later, they still call me for help.

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  2. I think the hardest thing to see happen, is a business go down the toilet when you believe or believed so much in the service in place to offer the client/the public.

    Am I making sense?

    I've been there before. Saw that happen with my very first employer out of college and have seen a bit of it in the last place where I worked and 'retired' from.

    I/m sure you made the right decision for you in the long-run.

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