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Authentic Leadership: Insights from Melissa From, President and CEO at the Calgary Food Bank

Key Takeaways:

  • Melissa From, President and CEO at the Calgary Food Bank, shares her experiences and insights on authentic leadership in the nonprofit sector.
  • The Calgary Food Bank faced significant challenges, including a 15-day wait time for emergency food hampers, when Melissa first took on the role. Through collaboration, problem-solving, and community support, they were able to increase their capacity and serve more households.
  • Melissa emphasizes the importance of collaboration and self-accountability in building a successful team. She believes in leading by example and being accessible and visible to her staff.
  • Melissa’s motivation comes from her drive to be good at what she does and make a positive impact. She is proud of the success stories of individuals she has mentored and the transformational changes she has achieved in her career.

Building Resilience in Times of Challenge

Melissa From, President and CEO at the Calgary Food Bank, has faced numerous challenges throughout her career in the nonprofit sector. From building a nonprofit organization from scratch to navigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa has learned to approach challenges with resilience and a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude.

She believes in taking control of her own professional development and not waiting for opportunities to come to her. Melissa has pursued certifications, completed a master’s degree, and actively sought out mentors to learn from. She encourages others to take a proactive approach to their own growth and development.

In times of challenge, Melissa emphasizes the importance of collaboration and problem-solving. She believes in bringing together diverse perspectives and leveraging the strengths of her team to find solutions. Melissa also values self-accountability and owning one’s mistakes. She believes that taking responsibility and finding solutions is essential for personal and professional growth.

The Importance of Authenticity in Leadership

Melissa’s leadership style is characterized by authenticity. She believes in bringing her whole self to work and creating a culture where others feel comfortable doing the same. Melissa is known for her informal and lighthearted approach, cracking jokes, and building personal connections with her team.

While some may question her ability to be a serious leader, Melissa believes that authenticity is key to building trust and rapport with her staff. She values visibility and accessibility, making an effort to connect with her team on a personal level. Melissa believes that leadership is not about being a distant figure of authority, but about being relatable and approachable.

Melissa’s authenticity extends beyond her interactions with her team. She also values transparency and open communication with stakeholders and the community. She believes in being honest about challenges and working collaboratively to find solutions. Melissa’s authenticity has earned her the respect and trust of her team and has contributed to the success of the organizations she has led.

Success Stories and Making an Impact

Melissa measures success not only by quantitative metrics, such as budget growth and increased reach, but also by the impact she has on individuals and the community. She is proud of the success stories of individuals she has mentored, who have gone on to become CEOs, executive directors, and leaders in their own right.

Melissa believes that leadership is about creating a positive influence and energy. She strives to create a culture of greatness where individuals can thrive and reach their full potential. Melissa’s focus on collaboration, self-accountability, and authenticity has contributed to the success of the organizations she has led and the positive impact they have had on the community.

In conclusion, Melissa From’s insights on authentic leadership highlight the importance of collaboration, self-accountability, and authenticity in building successful teams and making a positive impact. Her experiences demonstrate the power of leading by example, being accessible and visible, and creating a culture where individuals can bring their whole selves to work. Melissa’s success stories and the transformational changes she has achieved serve as inspiration for aspiring leaders in the nonprofit sector and beyond.

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