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Delaware Nonprofits: Endless Discoveries
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DANA's new President and CEO Sheila Bravo reflects on her discovery of DANA and the nonprofit sector in Delaware.


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Posted By Sheila Bravo, Thursday, September 24, 2015

One of the wonderful things about Delaware is how everyone seems to know someone that you know. Delawareans, from my experience, are welcoming and very helpful. I have received many welcome notes from fellow nonprofit leaders, and have been invited to networking breakfast and lunch meetings. These get-togethers provide a nonprofit leader with sage advice from more seasoned Executives. This can lead to other phone calls for counsel, and in turn, even build friendships. I experienced this in my last role at the Rehoboth Art League, and am glad to find it here at DANA, as well. 

In my visits with nonprofit leaders up and down the state, I have met some who are relatively new to the sector, and even to Delaware. They do not yet have that network to rely upon. They may not know who to call or where to go. Our strong informal network is not open to them yet. One fairly new ED mentioned to me that he is being asked to collaborate, but he doesn't know who to collaborate with.  It all goes back to these connections. Collaboration doesn't just happen. It is a process in which conversations take place and trust is built. Only then can a successful collaborative initiative take place.

Did you know: One of the perks of DANA membership is an invitation to our free, exclusive Member-Only Winter Reception. Every year, we draw in about 100 passionate nonprofit people to connect with each other and celebrate all that the nonprofit sector accomplished throughout the year. If you’re not a DANA member yet, click here to learn more, or call us at 302-777-5500. We’d love to meet you!

DANA can help nonprofits make connections. We receive calls nearly every day with questions on 'who does what.' For folks who wish to start up a new nonprofit - or already have - we offer suggestions on who they can reach out to in their respective mission area. Our member reception, which is held annually in December, is a fun way to connect with fellow nonprofit leaders. DANA’s annual conference and training sessions can also be an additional means to make new connections.

Working together first starts with getting to know each other. I encourage established nonprofit leaders to reach out and say hello to a new leader, and for new leaders to reach out and say hello to their fellow nonprofits down the street, whether you have like-missions or not. Who knows what exciting things may happen!


Tags:  CEO  collaboration  Delaware  leaders  nonprofits 

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Discover Delaware Nonprofits With Me

Posted By Sheila Bravo, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

This week is my first as President and CEO of DANA. When it was announced I would be taking this position, some people asked ‘what is DANA’ or ‘what do they do’? When I came into the office on Monday, I realized that many of those questions could be answered by sharing what I’m learning during my orientation. So, Iam excited to pass along some of the insights I learn as I listen to the staff, board, partners, and leaders that make the nonprofit sector so vibrant. In an effort to capture the essence of Delaware’s slogan "Endless Discoveries,” I invite you to discover Delaware’s nonprofits through my eyes as DANA’s new CEO. My discovery of DANA and the nonprofit sector can also be yours through this blog.

First and foremost, let me tell you about the staff of DANA. I’ve met with each of them to learn what they do and how they support the mission of DANA. They work so hard to support the nonprofits that engage with DANA through membership, advocacy, consulting and training. I was so impressed with their depth of knowledge, and really appreciated how they are willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

John Baker – Executive Vice President of Policy and Programs

John has an amazing understanding of the who’s who and the ‘how it is done’. His recent work advocating for funding for nonprofits in the 2015 State budget process really paid off when there were no cuts to Grant-in-Aid funding. But John is not one to stand still. He knows that next year will be challenging for Delaware public officials with the budget forecasts, so he is already working with key sector leaders to identify solutions. You’ll learn more about this in the coming months!

Paul Stock – Executive Vice President of Consulting

Factoid about DANA membership: Today I learned that member organizations can get handy best practice education packets on a variety of Standards of Excellence topics. Need a template for a policy or a sample board member commitment statement? Contact John Baker and he can send you FREE information from the Standards for Excellence program.
Paul joined DANA a little over a year ago to strengthen DANA’s consulting practice. He has engaged several super-talented consultants with tremendous expertise in strategic planning, board governance, collaboration, marketing, and fundraising to help Delaware nonprofits solve their unique challenges. His leadership in coalescing the sector ideas of 100 nonprofit leaders gathered at the June Jim Collins conference will help shape our dialog regarding future DANA initiatives.

Kristin Davis – Vice President of Communications and Marketing

Kristin is the voice of DANA and works to connect DANA to its members and the community through social media, the DANA website, and emails. Did you know that Kristin was recently named to the DBT40 Class of 2015 (young professionals, all under the age of 40, making a difference with their intelligence, initiative, and innovation)? She is also a fellow in the Leadership Delaware Class of 2015. Kristin is a great team member who continues to develop so she can help advance the sector.

Kathryn Soja Johnson – Program and Event Manager

Kate just joined the DANA team on Monday, as well. She took on Caitlin Giles-McCormick’s role to support DANA’s wide variety of programming, and will be a friendly voice for our members connect with as they join. In the weeks and months ahead, many members will hear from Kate on how DANA can provide the support they need to become more efficient and effective.

Nicole Wandersee – Administrative Assistant

Nicki also recently joined DANA after Andye Daley’s departure. She is the first voice you hear when you call the office. Nicki is helping to keep the DANA team and its board organized. She has already been a tremendous help to me.

Tags:  CEO  DANA  Delaware  Endless Discoveries  membership  nonprofits  President 

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