By ABBY SHUE
Special To The Voice-Tribune
Fifty-two of Louisvilleâ€™s young leaders agreed to spend one full day a month, for six months, focusing on leadership development. A portion of our nights and weekends were dedicated to consulting for a local nonprofit together with a small team of our peers. When this impressive group convened for the first time in October, the room was filled with enthusiasm, anticipation and some skepticism. Months later, itâ€™s safe to say we are all transformed, inspired and grateful.
For the nonprofit challenge, I had the pleasure of working with â€œTeam Major Outcomesâ€ consulting the start-up organization Hope Scarves. Hope Scarves partners with cancer survivors to share their head scarves and stories of hope with women facing cancer. Founder, Lara MacGregor was 30 years old and seven months pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A friend of a friend sent Lara a box of head scarves and an encouraging note telling her that she could beat her diagnosis; a gesture that would become the inspiration for forming a 501c3 to build a network of hope between cancer survivors and female cancer patient across the United States. In its first year of operation, Hope Scarves served women in 28 states – all orchestrated from a spare bedroom in Louisville.
Lara signed up for Ignite Louisville, seeking guidance in developing a strategic plan for scalable growth. As our team got to know Lara, learned the business of Hope Scarves and conducted interviews with the board of directors, we quickly identified additional areas of need and opportunity. To maximize our effectiveness, we divided our work into four subteams: Board Development, Communications, Logistics and Strategic Planning. We were committed to giving stay-at-home mom Lara the infrastructure and confidence she needed to transform her â€œfun, little side projectâ€ into a real player in the nonprofit sector.
Our project was filled with difficult conversations, long nights and new challenges. A small group of ambitious young professionals collaborating on a major project, with a tight deadline, and without the guidance of a reporting structure or project plan provided some interesting lessons in teamwork along the way. We learned, we grew as individuals and as a team, we delivered results, and Team Major Outcomes won this yearâ€™s challenge â€“ at least according to the judges. We were incredibly honored and humbled by the decision as we observed six other teamsâ€™ impressive presentations about transformational work for their respective nonprofits.
Our team is proud of the work we were able to do to help Hope Scarves. Hope Scarves is leaving Ignite Louisville with many things: a 3-year strategic plan, a volunteer program, a mission statement, job descriptions, budget for two paid employees, budget for a rented office space, a comprehensive social media and marketing plan, refined print marketing materials, website updates, a promotional video, multiple community partnerships, earned media, new speaking engagements, streamlined database, iron-on label system, inventory management and scarf tracking system, 5 new board members, board member expectations, board member orientation plans, and much more.Â The Yum! Foundation and the Leadership Louisville Center generously awarded $4,500 to help Hope Scarves realize many of these opportunities.
Just as we were able to help Hope Scarves, Leadership Louisville and Hope Scarves were able to help us. We will all leave this experience changed. Several members of our team will continue the relationship with Hope Scarves through recent appointments to the Board of Directors. Others will return to their employers with renewed energy, different perspectives and additional leadership competencies. All of us leave this program with a stacked Outlook contact list of people with whom to collaborate. I am proud of the work this class has done to make the community we call home an even better place to live, work and play, and I look forward to seeing the big things that each of us will do in the future.
Our team is incredibly honored to have been a small part of the journey of Hope Scarves, taking the foundation that Lara had built and working with her to mold the organization that Hope Scarves is becoming. And now we turn to you, members of the Louisville community, and ask you to help us spread the hope. Weâ€™ve given Hope Scarves the tools to grow. Now you can help Hope Scarves help the women who need the encouragement most. Visit www.hopescarves.org and send a scarf and story of hope to someone you know who is battling cancer, donate a scarf or survival story to grow the collection, or simply help us spread the word about this organization.
Abby Shue is the Vice President of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. With a background in dance performance and business administration, Abby helps to guide the strategic and operational business decisions of the Center. Abby serves on several community boards, bringing a passion for young professionals, the arts and sustainability.