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Chapter Leadership Brief 10.25.19

Chapter Leadership Brief 10.25.19

Steve Jacobson, AFP-NYC President-Elect and CEO, JCA, Inc.

How Do We LEAD?

Three weeks ago, fellow AFP-NYC board member, Kerry Watterson, and I headed out to Phoenix, where we had the pleasure and honor to represent our chapter at the AFP LEAD conference.  

Steve Jacobson, AFP-NYC President-Elect
CEO, JCA, Inc.

While there were certainly sessions about how to lead and manage a chapter at the LEAD conference, there was quite a bit of programming around how you, as a development professional, can lead at work and in your personal life. Even though Kerry and I did our best to split up and attend as many of the sessions as possible, there were often competing sessions with compelling content that we just couldn’t get to. Yes, the content was that deep and good.

Paul Schmitz, the CEO of Leading Inside Out (, delivered a really inspirational opening keynote. Paul has spent much of his professional career helping organizations and communities build their collective leadership to achieve greater social impact. He regaled the audience with true and poignant stories from his 21 years of service at Public Allies (, whose signature program has helped more than 5,000 diverse young leaders turn their passions to make a difference into careers working for community and social change. Paul, himself, was the poster child for this “anything is possible” message. As a teenager, Paul turned his passion to effect social change into a career and now, 25+ years later, he’s become a beacon in the sector for harnessing leadership potential.

There were a number of other LEAD sessions that I found to be incredibly interesting and helpful. One session, led by Karen Dyer, focused on the role of emotional intelligence in a person’s ability to lead effectively. Fun fact: emotional intelligence is twice as important as technical skills or IQ as a factor in effective leadership. Don’t feel that you have a high level of emotional intelligence? You can learn!

If you’d like to find out more about emotional intelligence or any of the other LEAD topics, you can download the conference materials here:

While the LEAD conference was fantastic, AFP outdid itself in presenting the inaugural Women’s Impact Summit immediately following LEAD. The Summit was a tremendous success, as it was completely sold out with 200 registrants. A couple of highlights: our partners at The Ohio State University released the research findings on the prevalence of sexual harassment in our industry – notably from colleagues and donors. The Women's Leadership and Development Program also graduated its first class of participants.  Congratulations!  And, we heard from incredible leaders in our space, including Mpumi Nobiva, Kim Churches, and Teresa Younger.

This may seem like a pitch for each of you to attend next year’s LEAD and/or Women’s Impact Summit. Well, it is! There is so much that AFP offers our members and I urge you to take advantage of these benefits. I hope to see at next year’s LEAD conference October 1-3, 2020 in Indianapolis.

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