Job description:

  • Must be willing to work in a state of ambiguity at all times.
  • We are looking for someone with excellent interpersonal skills, a great communicator with clear goals and objectives. This person must have stellar organization skills and is willing to dedicate 6-12 hours per month to the job at minimum.
  • We are looking for a candidate who is a self-starter, who is charismatic and someone who can help boost morale during difficult times.
  • This leader need not have any previous leadership experience.
  • The ideal candidate will possess excellent problem-solving skills, work within a lean operating budget while maximizing all available volunteer resources.
  • They must strategize at all times and cannot be afraid to delegate tasks with a mindset and understanding that these tasks may not get done.
  • They should be willing to work beyond the 6-12 per month commitment to cover any unmet needs or collectively pivot the plan of action, with the group's approval, to suit the broader goals of the organization.

Did we mention that this is not a paid position and your term may expire at any time? Wonder why we are not attracting more people to leadership roles?

Take a moment to reflect on all the opportunities you have had over the course of your professional life to sign up as a volunteer contributor. How many times has leadership changed over? How many times were you ready to give up because things were not working out? How many times did you shift your focus to suit your available time, your interests and your values? We move from nonprofit to nonprofit aligning our interests with the organization that best reflects our wishes, interests and values.

According to the Pew Research Center one of the most revered leadership traits is empathy. This research continues to suggest that “women have a stronger ability to work out compromises” – reporting 42 percent of women compared to 11 percent in men. A staggering 43 percent of women possess a better track record at “creating a safe respectful work environment” as compared to 5 percent of men.1

This raises another question: Does it really matter if it’s a paid leadership role? It does; your time is highly valuable. However, whether you are willing to volunteer at your favorite organization or you are getting paid to lead others in your day-to-day job, the statistics remain staggering. Eight percent of leaders running Fortune 500 companies are women, while globally only 5 percent of CEOs appointed in 2020 were women. Men outnumber women by approximately 17 to 1 at C-Suite level positions in business.2

WIFS is a premier organization that will foster your shared passion to grow with other female leaders. The environment allows you to choose your level of commitment. In Phoenix we believe in building bench depth and having many people pulling together to fulfill smaller roles. In an ideal scenario every member has a small role on a committee; this way if you have a transitional period of change there isn’t a heap of things on hold at any given time.

By simply choosing leadership through committee contributions we hold ourselves accountable. We offer flexibility to opt out often and do not impose pressure in fulfilling a role because it is needed. Better to leave a seat vacant than have it filled by someone who does not have the bandwidth to serve; it brings the whole committee down. It is not our job as leaders to point fingers; it is our duty to practice grace and provide latitude so that we can all work through struggles effectively.

In the end, testing your leadership interests within a nonprofit can be one of the best leadership skill building experiences!

Sue Kuraja, WIFS' 2021 Woman of the Year, is V.P. Brokerage Director at MassMutual Arizona and president of WIFS' Phoenix Chapter.