Need: Enhancing effectiveness of advancement efforts
Service: Leadership development
With the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of its Institutional Advancement efforts, Thomas More College sought the professional coaching services of Smith Beers Yunker & Company. The process involved in-depth analysis of the relationships between staff members and trustees, followed by recommendations for ways to build on strengths and further improve on performance. A large part of the process involved individual and group discussions with members of the institutional advancement staff as well as a formal presentation to the Board of Trustees.
According to Sister Margaret Stallmeyer, president of the College, the objective viewpoint of an outsider was invaluable. “It showed us ways we can work more effectively together. Jim’s quiet, mild manner made it easy for both staff and volunteer trustees to accept the advice that was given because it was offered in such a non-threatening way.” She goes on to say that the most helpful long-term benefit is the trustees’ understanding of their responsibility and role in institutional advancement. “Jim gave our trustees insight into what their responsibilities are, what other boards are doing, and how our board compares to those of other organizations. I now see our trustees referring back to that guidance and taking initiative in ways they hadn’t before.”
Cathy Silvers, vice president of Institutional Advancement, concurs with Sister Margaret, saying, “It felt as if Jim was a part of our team. We were very comfortable with him. He conducted one-on-one coaching with each member of the staff and they all agreed that his advice was something they could use immediately. Although we like to think we are visionary and creative, Jim was able to show us new ideas from an outsider’s perspective. He also showed us ways to communicate better with our trustees and merge different viewpoints for better results.”
Explaining that Smith Beers Yunker was recommended to the College by another organization, Sister Margaret says, “I was grateful for the recommendation and would definitely pass it on to others. I believe the receptivity of our staff and trustees is a reflection of the coaching skill and communication expertise of Smith Beers Yunker.”