By Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Staff
2015 Livingston Fellow, Dave Ryan, answered some questions for us about his current role, and how the Livingston Fellowship enhanced his leadership knowledge.
BSF: How is the Livingston Fellowship Program enhancing your personal leadership?
DR: The Livingston Fellowship is helping me in two main ways: It has forced me to think about my own leadership development in a disciplined way and take action in the near term. Equally powerfully, it has connected me to a network of “superb-already” nonprofit leaders who provide support, encouragement, perspective and friendship. I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
BSF: Tell us about your current role with Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado.
DR: I’m the CEO. I lead a world-class team that provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. With help from my phenomenal Board of Directors, I set and execute strategy, manage operations and serve as the public spokesperson. I’m also the lead fundraiser.
Founded in 1918, we’re the oldest and largest one-to-one mentoring agency in the state, so it can be a big job, a tough job and a rewarding job. As I write this, just this afternoon a Big Sister and Little Sister came into our office unannounced to tell us about being matched together for the past 30 years, and the impact it has had on both of their lives. That’s incredibly powerful.
BSF: What aspect of your professional development plan are you most excited about?
DR: My plan has several dimensions, involving some introspective work, some more academic leadership training, mentorship and international travel as well. Last year I participated in an executive leadership program at the Harvard Business School on Nonprofit Strategy that had 150 CEOs from all over the world! It was completely transformational – a truly world-class educational experience.
BSF: What’s your favorite quote that you live by?
DR: Semper Ubi Sub Ubi. It is my personal credo.
BSF: What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
DR: In January, I am taking a Center for Creative Leadership course called “Leading for Organizational Impact” in La Jolla, CA. Later in May, I will travel to Cusco, Peru and visit several internationally-recognized youth-development nonprofits. While there I will hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!
BSF: Any words of advice for future fellows of the Livingston Fellowship Program?
DR: It is so rare to get the opportunity to be completely focused on your own leadership development, and at times you’ll feel guilty, self-indulgent and unworthy. You’re worthy! Embrace this incredible gift from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.