Breaking Through

by Shelby Rogala, Professional and Organizational Development Manager. 

What is a BREAKTHROUGH?

  • When 450 individuals gather to learn, connect, and grow.
  • When nearly 400 organizations prioritize change and learning for their staff, board members, and leaders.
  • When over 65 communities including Billings, Alder, Helena, Anaconda, Joliet, Bozeman, Libby, Havre, Twin Bridges, Boston, Columbus, Big Timber, Minneapolis, Hardin, Red Lodge, and Riverton are represented all in one space.

Pride and humility are two sides of the same coin, and right now, MNA is rich in that particular currency. We are humbled by the 450 incredible individuals that came together in Billings last week to participate in our 2019 Annual Conference. We are proud to have facilitated an experience that helps move our sector forward. We are leaning into the humility of improving the bumps in the road for an even better conference next year, and proud of Montana for being home to such engaged and thoughtful citizens.

Underlying that healthy tension is an excitement for what comes next. A conference is one of those great things in the world that is both a means to an end and an end in itself. The planning, preparing, and pushing to the dates of Oct 2-4 are behind us, and the conference experience was everything we hoped it could be. But now comes the real opportunity to BREAKTHROUGH – and this time the heavy lifting will fall to you…

Because, of course, a professional development conference doesn’t exist for its own sake. It exists to create a gathering space, a container for content and networking and inspiration built for a group of people with something in common, and something to learn. For our conference, that means nonprofit volunteers, staff, leaders, and donors across Montana that are united by a desire to fulfill their missions to the best of their ability.

Now that registration is closed and our speakers have headed their separate ways, the next steps are up to you. And by you, I don’t just mean our conference attendees – the lucky representatives missions, communities, and identities that joined us in Billings last week – but all the nonprofit rockstars and supporters in Montana. 

Though each attendee is bringing home potential in the form of a transformational organizational change, a new best practice, or a great connection, the mission is now to spread and share it. We have many BREAKTHROUGHs still brewing, both large and small. The road ahead requires reflection, practice, and support.  

I invite you to consider what you learned or what tools you still need, practice the skills you were introduced to, and invite your colleagues to participate as teammates. Set goals, ask for feedback, and try to be comfortable learning in public. Whether you are practicing the art of delegation, applying a new fundraising strategy, or re-working your organizational approach to financial management, building skill takes time. But down the road, these small, challenging steps will lead to a new horizon of stability, opportunity, or clarity for you, your organization, and future Montanans. The vision is worth the effort.

If we have learned anything this year, it’s that a BREAKTHROUGH is a continuous journey. And we’re in it together. Please share your energy with your peers, your organization, your community, and unite to break past the obstacles that have held you back for too long. MNA will be right alongside.

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