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Excellent leadership comes from leveraging our unique strengths and skills, and those of the talent we manage.  Understanding one’s leadership, communication, and conflict management style as well as learning new skills can allow us to best guide talent and strengthen our organization overall. Rhoda coaches non-profit leaders, teams and boards individually and in groups to yield the expertise and confidence they need to both grow and handle any emergency that may arise. 

With training in Chaplaincy and grief counseling, Rhoda has extensive experience consulting with various organizations and leaders on how to create conducive and healthy work cultures, amidst internal and external challenges. Her expertise ranges from understanding and transforming loss and change to overcoming political, financial and interpersonal challenges.

For more information and any inquiries regarding my service packages, please fill out my contact form. 



Addressing New Hire Challenges and Cultural Conflicts

A CEO brought on a new COO only to be met with much disappointment early on. The belief was that the new COO did not fit into the culture. Early signs of trouble included: lack of trust in the relationship with the CEO; short, and seemingly defensive responses from the COO; frequent mentions and complaints surrounding personal time and work-life balance; not following organizational meeting etiquette, including overtalking board members and making decisions that were not in their purview; and challenging the CEO in important meetings with philanthropists.


Despite their organization’s best and strategic onboarding efforts – which involved the COO learning specifics about the position – the CEO, Lay Leader Chair, and many board members were anxious, and almost all of them felt that they most likely made a mistake. I worked with both the CEO and COO separately after extracting a commitment of full trust and transparency, and I made a series of observations based on what I had heard and saw. Next, I developed a strategy to address the challenges in a series of sessions, both independently and together. 


In this case, the challenges centered on the natural emotions of fear and distrust. These are completely normal feelings in new high-stakes relationships, but they needed to be worked through. Together, we determined the challenges, which included: the COO bringing a previous culture of fear and distrust into the new position; lack of protocols for developing trusting communication early on; lack of onboarding about the organization culture; and lack of celebration in the COO’s and the CEO’s achievements. 


We addressed each challenge in a trusted space by clarifying the challenge itself, how each party was approaching it and the unintentional effects of those behaviors on one another. Unintentional is the most important word here, as both parties became very committed to creating a successful partnership. My own commitment is to co-create all work with the clients in order for them to fully own the process and results.


Ownership here and everywhere, requires trust, shared values, vision and acknowledgement of each other’s authentic styles and strengths. Several months later, both the CEO and COO had not only built a very strong working relationship resulting in the organization thriving beyond expectations, but also approached me for more assistance as they took on new projects. I was thrilled to say yes!


Crisis Coaching For A Millennial CEO

A successful millennial CEO felt overwhelmed and anxious in their position. To obtain a better understanding of why they were experiencing these feelings, we began with a complimentary session to discover what might have helped cause the crisis and suggest a successful path. After signing on to work together, the CEO took assessments to provide data on their leadership behaviors styles, and their emotional intelligence strengths and challenges. The senior management team also provided honest feedback on the organization, its challenges and the CEO’s potential growth edges. 


The results showed the CEO to have a high level of social entrepreneurship, a positive leadership influence of others, a mobile, energetic working style, and a natural tendency to resist organizational structure and systems. The CEO’s emotional intelligence results demonstrated strong abilities to understand and attend to the needs of others, but a tendency to ignore internal feelings of anxiety and stress. The executive team seconded this which led to the organization feeling chaotic and out of control at times, despite everyone’s commitment to its mission. 


The CEO and I addressed their leadership styles first by building on their strengths with new learnings, new skills, and new strategies to manage anxiety and stress. Next, in strong collaboration with the executive team and the various departments, the CEO began to tackle meeting the current needs with much more flexibility, focusing on experimentation and weekly feedback. This included a website revamp, increased quality and frequency of the programs and services offered, upgraded tracking system for new and sustaining donors, and transitioning to a coaching model of supervision and management to empower the staff much more.


The solutions were easy and fun because all the staff and lay leaders became part of the solution. A year later, every system above was either new and working, or revamped and working. The CEO adapted a more efficient and fulfilling leadership style in which staff members felt empowered to bring up challenges and solutions, and plans for making them come to life. The CEO also began practicing mindfulness, took up a spiritual discipline and, with my guidance, created a better work/life balance.


Embarking on an Exciting New Career Direction

A client was unhappy in her position and unclear about her career trajectory. I asked questions to get a better understanding of her passions, including what she loves to do and what she loved to do as a child. Almost always, there is a connection between things we loved in our childhood or teens years and what makes us happy today. That’s where we start. 


Next, we had her take an assessment to identify strengths and passions; the more we focus on these, the happier we are. In this case, the identified strengths were creativity, collaboration, leadership, problem solving, and empathy. The client also took an assessment so I could analyze data on her behavioral styles. We updated her resume and Linkedin profile, strategically highlighted her strengths and accomplishments, and used helpful verbiage from the assessments. 


Next, we analyzed her current career and the realizations she had made on her passions. We identified themes, and we eventually found a direction that felt right: Chief Program Officer of a meaningful nonprofit. We searched for open positions and spoke about how to best utilize her personal and professional networks, and a month later, she was selected to participate in her first Zoom interview.


We prepared hard for the interview, practiced questions, upgraded the content, style, and depth of her responses, and selected proper clothing and lighting. She aced the interview, went on to interview for several more positions, and she was prepared for each one. When it came time to accept a position, we prepared for the negotiations that would take place. She landed the job of her dreams 7 months later with a $45,000 raise, funds for continued professional development, and a flexible work schedule.



Building Dream Teams After Receiving Poor Ratings on an Annual Organizational Evaluation

The highly respected and influential CEO and CPO of a large community organization hired me to create two new strategic directions: 


1) Change the staff morale and create a path towards a healthy workplace culture in which professionals would feel more respected, professionals would have new opportunities to participate in decisions that directly affected them, and wellness and collaboration would be highly valued.


2) Through a live retreat, begin moving the executive team of individuals who each directed outstanding departments, toward a cohesive team directing an outstanding organization together through collaboration, innovation, and transparency.


My vision was to work directly with the CPO and coach her to work with the staff in new and innovative ways that would produce a sea change in the organizational culture. In this way, the CPO would become much stronger in her leadership abilities, which would benefit the organization for years to come, far after my work was completed. Using a human design approach, the CPO encouraged any staff member who wanted to be part of the solutions to the challenges that were laid out in the evaluation, to join a short-term task force. This task force would provide recommendations to the executive teams and the Board of Directors to make the community center a great place to work. 


25 employees signed up, some with quiet encouragement from the CPO, representing every department of the organization. At the end of the first meeting, all of the employees committed to volunteering 8-10 hours every month for 3 months; serve as the liaisons to their departments  and ensure that all voices were heard by the task force; keep their teams up to date on the work of the task force and be responsible for helping to create the recommendations for growth and change to the executive team and the Board of directors.


We began with an online team-building retreat as the project began when the country was in full Covid 19 shut-down. The CPO and I worked closely to build a warm, welcoming environment with the task force members, where diverse beliefs and suggestions were greatly encouraged. Next, we presented a values-based, organized, and systemic plan for the task force members to adapt and make their own, while providing clear expectations for them to achieve. This resulted in a set of recommendations that would transform the culture into one in which all staff could thrive.


Once agreed upon, an array of committees were formed, led by their peers, to work on each of the specific recommendations and deliver their set of outcomes creatively, on-time, and with pride. Trust between the task force members grew, excitement could be felt online and in the center that the employees were being seen, heard, and entrusted to rebuild the culture. Recommendations ranged from starting a diversity, equity, and inclusion task force that would help hire the new Director of Human Resources immediately, to revamping job descriptions that were realistic and allowed for employees to have a far better work-life balance, to providing salary increases and professional development opportunities over a given period.


I designed an all-day executive retreat which included preparatory homework for every staff member, including a commitment to join the retreat with a new openness of mind and heart. The retreat began with an hour-long icebreaker in which participants discussed the losses they had incurred both personally and professionally as a result of 15 months of COVID-19. As participants told their stories for the first time to one another, there were many tears, much laughter, and the seeds of a culture change were being sown. The rest of the day, the team took on important challenges to solve together using their combined strengths, talents, and experiences. The day ended with a plan for the team to grow, develop, and become strong over the next 6 months. With this foundation, they could implement the recommendations from the workplace culture task force to transform the organization into a great place to work that would serve their surrounding community with more joy, expertise, and loving compassion.



Developing Younger Millennial Volunteer Leaders and Philanthropists

A large Jewish community organization asked me to lead a series of focus groups, called Vision Circles, for younger millennial alumni of its signature volunteer leadership development program. Having begun the program as a consultant almost a decade earlier, it was a good time to look at it with fresh eyes. Recently, the organization had had several changes of leadership and the country had just undergone more than a year of COVID-19. The eventual goal was to re-envision the curriculum and develop outstanding, executive, volunteer leaders, and philanthropists dedicated to Jewish values to lead the Jewish community of Los Angeles.


My vision and philosophy are always the same: use a coaching model to strengthen the leader, who in turn strengthens their professional staff and volunteer teams to create the change they dream of and long for. I listen very intently to understand their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives, and build on their experiences, skills, and strengths. Next, I bring my lens from many years of my own experience, strengths, and skills to offer a clear picture of what needs to be created, built upon, reimagined differently, or left behind in order for a new vision to constructively transform people’s lives and communities. Every project, like this one, is customized to the needs the client brings, as well as the needs I discover when I begin.


The Vision Circles were hosted by seasoned volunteer leaders who modeled generosity and commitment, and facilitated across Los Angeles. An additional Circle was to include some of the end users of the program, the organizations where these volunteer leaders might serve as members, and philanthropists in training for 6-9 months. The content of the Vision Circles was developed in close consultation with the leader and, through them, their professional and volunteer stakeholders.


New vision and mission statements were created for the initiative, along with a set of guiding principles for all the stakeholders, participants, lay leader board, and professional staff, founded upon Jewish values and wisdom. A set of job descriptions and roles were also created for each of the different stakeholder groups, mentors, lay leaders, participants, and professional staff. 


Much time and thought was given to the criteria for the participants so that they would be diverse in interests, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and income. The future goal was to build shared experiences with one another to develop lifelong relationships as friends, community leaders and Los Angeles-based philanthropists . 


The role of current leaders to serve as mentors for the participants was recreated to draw upon their real-life wisdom and guidance monthly in helping guide their mentees to become more effective than they thought possible. I also created a new role for senior philanthropists and other lay leaders to serve as sage uber-guides. 


A new 9-month Residency was a new innovation for the participants to shadow a Board member of a selected nonprofit organization as they did took on their leadership roles. The Board member, called an advisor, would debrief with their mentee regularly, answering all of the participants’ questions and helping them to gracefully and effectively navigate the world of volunteer leadership In return, the participant would bring the view of a younger generation to the Board and deliver a new project based on their strengths to further move the organization forward.


L’dor v’dor, from generation to generation.

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