Editor's note: This week's Page Turner reader interview is with Madeleine Baker, executive director of the Early Childhood Alliance.
“I have been reading a book by one of IPFW's Omnibus speakers. He is Jim Clifton, CEO of the Gallup company. The book title is 'The Coming Jobs War.' I think he is probably a dialogue person, not a lecturer, but his book is full of nuggets, so I purchased it for our executive team.
“We can't rely on federal help, he writes. We are classical data driven, into behavioral economics. His advice: Select persons who will be leaders in your community. Every community should have mentors for upcoming leaders. Start early in their education. We need entrepreneurs and innovators. There must be both growing in each local community. And there must be high energy in the workplace. Everyone has a role to play. Let's watch the school system and its high school graduation rate so we can achieve a 60 percent high school graduation rate. Everybody must participate.
“The book is an easy read and it contains international surveys. For example, among the top 25 nations in economic growth, we are No. 1, with China in second place, Japan in third, Germany fourth, France fifth. He has a list of “to dos” to maintain that place. I didn't read the whole thing because not all of what he writes applies to nonprofit organizations, but there are some strategies we can use and some good points he makes. Some questions he poses I can pose. He says to ask, “What do I do best every day?” We need feedback — both staff and boss. We should feel that at work my opinion does matter.
Leadership matters. There is role modeling for the staff, and there should be a drive for teamwork. I am a firm believer in growing talent within. Ours intentionally is a diversified board, and members are urged to get involved. One does not have to accept everything, but we must help children to be ready to learn. We are not a baby-sitting center. We have to dream big and we want the children to dream big.
“I recently received a gift — a subscription to Vanity Fair, and I read it from cover to cover. It is entertaining and covers many controversial issues — and I am thoroughly enjoying it.”