Nonprofit Reactivation Symposium
Elevating Leadership & Organizational Impact in the New Normal
May 1, 2020 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EDT
An Online Event Presented by a Team of International Experts
Dr. Kevin A Williams
Dr. David S. Gruder
Dr. Thyonne Gordon
Bishop Ebony Kirkland
Organizational impact is a result of effective leadership!
The SynerVision Leadership Nonprofit Reactivation Symposium is a one-day intensive virtual event for you to learn the skills to stand up or grow your nonprofit, recruit the right board and volunteers, create a winning strategy, and attract donors to support your mission.
This symposium is designed to equip nonprofit leaders and clergy to break through barriers in performance for themselves, boards, staff, and volunteers; and to attract the funding to support the fulfillment of the organization’s mission.
To register for this Virtual Symposium go HERE
Read the Preview Conversation
Dr. Thyonne Gordon: Well, I guess we can introduce ourselves, huh? I am Dr. Thyonne Gordon. I am here in sunny Los Angeles, California. I am your story strategist. I help people with curating and creating the best story of their life, their project, their idea, their business. As Hugh continues to pull me back into the nonprofit world, I help nonprofits to curate their story of great success.
Hugh Ballou: You’re so valuable to this sector. Let me introduce who’s here. We’re here to share with you. It’s a preview session. Thank you for being here today. Today is a special edition of The Nonprofit Exchange. It’s thoughts, ideas, encouragement, empowerment, learning, examples to learn from. It’s people who have something to share. Everybody here has been a guest on previous episodes of the podcast. We’ll have some more people joining us. These are presenters for the Nonprofit Reactivation Symposium that will happen on May 1. I wanted the presenters to give you their story about what they’re going to share with you. Also, why did they want to show up?
I am going to start with Dr. David Gruder. David, you’ve been with me doing this kind of stuff for a way long time, back since water. This is #27 of these live events. This one is the first one that is virtual, and it’s very different. It was the Leadership Empowerment Symposium for years. You and I started noodling on the title. Share a little bit about what we talk about and why we named this a reactivation symposium.
Dr. David Gruder: Right. Well, first of all, it’s a pleasure to be here with you, Hugh, as always, and to be with these wonderful, esteemed colleagues who I so respect and appreciate and love. The changes that are going on in our society right now that have been brought to the forefront through the COVID-19 crisis are changes that have been under way for a while in a lower-key manner, that in a sense flew under the radar. Because of what’s been magnified through the COVID-19 crisis, we really are in the process of establishing what’s being called a new norm. Nonprofits are going to be dramatically impacted by this new norm. So what we at SynerVision Leadership Foundation are committed to doing is helping nonprofits stay ahead of that curve so that we craft the new norm together as the nonprofit world so that nonprofits can fill their proper place in the world in a more effective way in the new norm rather than be drowned out because of the craziness that is going on as the new norm emerges.
Hugh: Craziness. Whoa. I love it. We were talking a little bit before we officially started. I had a technical glitch, and my Zoom disappeared off my computer. I am back. We were talking about being busier than ever. When somebody says, “Why do we need reactivation?” you are going to talk a little bit… Tell them about what you’re talking about.
David: The topic I am going to be speaking on is reenvisioning leader development in the new normal. The things that have been emerging during this COVID crisis really illuminate the necessity of, I don’t want to be dramatic here too much, but pretty much an overhaul of the vision of what leadership is going to need to include that people were thinking of as optional before now. Now it’s mandatory. I am going to be covering four key areas of new norm leadership and leader development in my talk.
Hugh: We won’t tell them exactly what that is yet.
David: Ooh, it’s a secret. You have to show up to find out.
Hugh: It’s a secret. Each of you have recorded a little promo that we have put out on the Internet and invited people to come. The latest one I got a few minutes ago was from Dr. Gordon. We have some California people here. David Gruder, you’re way south, Spanish-speaking San Diego. Thyonne, you’re a little north of there in Los Angeles. Talk a little bit about what you’re talking about, and why.
Thyonne: Yes, I’m Dr. Thyonne. I will be talking about shifting your crisis story through board leadership. I’ll be speaking in regard to how boards and executive directors and organizations overall need to work together during the time of crisis more than ever. No matter what, board leaders and their executives should always be in mind step. But during a crisis, it’s really important for the board to step up and take their leadership role and do it in a more advanced way than they have in the past. I’ll be speaking about how board members can show up in that type of way.
Hugh: We’ll be talking more about that. This is the special edition of The Nonprofit Exchange. This particular event, we have a key sponsor, EZ-Card. *Sponsor message from EZ-Card*
We have Greg Sanders today. Greg represents the EZ-Card company. It’s his company. He founded it. But you’re not just a tech guy, are you? Just a little bit about Greg. Why are you supporting the work of SynerVision Leadership Foundation?
Greg Sanders: I just want to say what a privilege it is first of all to be here. I understand this is a relatively informal gathering, so I did not wear a suit and tie. I agree with Dr. Gruder. This time is a time of transition. So many people are learning new technical skills, supportive technologies, to enable them to conduct business and do face-to-face meetings in this type of venue as opposed to meeting at Starbucks and going to live venues. Not just businesspeople, but their customers. If I am going to do an estimate and put a roof on your house, I am not going to come to your house anymore. I am going to ask you to hop on your phone or computer. The normal person on the street is also developing all of these online skills. So to David’s point about nonprofits, every nonprofit I’m aware of works with a skeleton crew. They are time-challenged and resource-challenged, and they probably don’t have time to think about what Dr. Gruder is going to talk about, which is how to rest and reshape and reform. They are trying to survive. Coming on Friday is so valuable.
What we’re doing at EZ-Card is we are the supportive technology. I am not a major speaker. I will speak briefly about possibly using EZ-Card along with Zoom or other technologies which move your message forward in this particular environment. That is what EZ-Card is. I will be explaining the benefits of EZ-Card as a mobile app. When I think of a nonprofit, they have to get their message out. They have to raise money. They have to let their supporters know this is our valuable work we are doing day in and day out. Any video they can show where they are caring for children or at-risk populations, any way to get their message out there, and they can do that with EZ-Card on their phone. That is what we’ll be doing, and we are happy to support the event itself.
If you’d like to look at it and share it with people to get there on Friday, you just text LDR, which is an abbreviation for leadership, to 64600. Two things will happen. You will get a link to your phone. You click the link, and the EZ-Card opens. It could take you to the SynerVision website. It could take you to details about Friday’s event. You can register. But it will also give Hugh and the leadership team your mobile number so they can send you text reminders about the event. Text LDR to 64600. We’d like to provide similar technology to any nonprofit if we can help you do what you do better and help you raise more money.
Hugh: It’s an amazing tool. I know David Gruder has one. The others of you who have seen it. Sherita just saw it for the first time. Bob Hopkins out there in Big D, Dallas, Texas. You’re recording as you were wearing this ten-gallon hat. So passionate about philanthropy he even named his horse Philanthropy.
Bob Hopkins: I did. I did, and I do.
Hugh: It’s this kid who said to his dad, “Your ten-gallon hat won’t hold ten gallons; it only holds four quarts.” Tell us what you are going to talk about and why you want to talk about that.
Bob: It changes every hour quite frankly. I just got off the television looking at the president of Brown University. By the way, universities are nonprofit organizations. Talking about how hundreds of thousands of colleges are going to stay afloat because they depend upon tuition, and lots of kids aren’t going back to school at this time because they don’t know what they’re going to do, and they don’t have jobs anymore. They won’t be able to afford to go. I’m sure every board of directors of every university or college in the country is madly trying to figure it out. One of the people I invited to come on Friday as a student is Alfonse Brown. He’s at a university in Florida, an African-American law university, the oldest one in the country. He has board meetings all day Friday and Saturday, trying to figure out what they are going to do in the fall. Not in the summer. We have already figured out the summer; we are doing Zoom, just like we’re doing now. What are they going to do in the fall with those huge buildings, with billions of square feet? With students, I have 22-24 students in my classroom. We cannot handle six feet apart. If every classroom doesn’t have 24-26, they will lose money. Thousands of colleges will have to close.
Then I’m thinking about my students. My students have been introduced to the nonprofit sector in my class because I teach communications with a focus on nonprofit management. I’m thinking about them because what are they going to get out of it, and what message am I going to give them? I have a requirement that all my students come to this class on Friday. It’s half of their final. Then they have to write a critique on what they experienced, what they got out of it as 50 points, and they have to write their eulogy for the other 50 points. After this semester, they will probably want to die anyway, so their eulogy might be appropriate. I don’t know.
I’m going to look at what you all are going to talk about, so I will try to fit in so I am not talking about the same thing. I listened to speaking about boards of directors as well as Thyonne. There are so many avenues of how to talk about boards of directors. How to get them, how to keep them, how many to get, what are their responsibilities, those kinds of things. I think, and you already messaged it to me right now, is how they will stay afloat. That’s what boards of directors are going to want to know when they come to see us when we are talking about nonprofit management and organizations. How are we going to stay afloat? What is the new normal going to be? I think that changes every day, too.
We are supposed to in Texas open up last Friday. I went to the bank just now. There was one man in there without a mask on. I went to the president sitting in the corner and said, “Is it a requirement to wear masks now?” He said, “Yes, it is, but we’re not enforcing it. It’s a $1,000 fine, and we’re not enforcing it.” I said, “Why not? It’s a rule and a law. If I have to do it, they have to do it because I am not being protected, but they are being protected from me.” I tell you every minute I find something different. Our lives are going to change not just from the board level, but from the people who come to participate with us. All of them won’t be board members. They will be people who are not involved in the nonprofit sector as a living or in a vocation, but as maybe just a volunteer.
Hugh: Bob and I met recently. My wife was going to Dallas for a conference at SMU. We were introduced by guests on my show who were the founders of Barefoot Winery. They accidentally founded a winery; it’s a great story. We connected. Bob, you have a book in your hand there?
Bob: Hugh, I’m so sorry you asked. This is my book. It’s called Philanthropy Misunderstood. Is that appropriate for the time. I think it should be Management Misunderstood, Nonprofits Misunderstood, Our Planet Misunderstood. My next book will be called Philanthropy Understood. Hopefully in the next two years, we will figure that out.
Hugh: Sherita and Thyonne will have some stories for you there. They have a massive amount of connections and nonprofits they have worked with. The new normal is you go into the bank with a mask on. It used to be when you walk into the bank with a mask on, they will be nervous. Now if you don’t have a mask on, they’re nervous. The new normal is opposite polarity.
Bob: They are still nervous because they arrested two men and asked them to leave. Unfortunately, you people of color will understand this. These were two black men with two black masks on. The people behind the counter were uncomfortable with them and asked them to leave, not knowing if they had a billion dollars in the bank or whatever reason they were there. It didn’t matter. We have a lot of challenges coming up.
Hugh: Sherita, on that happy note, tell folks- Bob has been a lifelong champion of nonprofits. He has been a CFRE with the fundraising professionals. He is a wee bit older than me. Finally I am in a group with one person who is my senior. My sister Sherita out there, where are you now? Arkansas?
Sherita Herring: I am in Hattieville, Arkansas, of all names, right?
Bob: I know Hattieville.
Sherita: The fact that I am even here in Hattieville. When I was a young girl, do you guys remember Petticoat Junction? I used to want to live there. I loved Betty Jo, Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, Uncle Joe. I loved the pig Arnold. Most people did not realize how much I am a country girl.
I am telling you that story because what I am going to be talking about on Friday is there are grants that exist even now that will allow you to live your most unbelievable dreams. I am living my dream. I am sitting here on 30 acres of land that has been passed down in my family for over 100 years. It’s been almost 50 years since my great-grandfather passed away and anyone has lived here. It’s not a cliché for me. I am living my best life right now in an RV with chickens and Guinea, and he is out there spraying. That’s what I’ll be talking about. Thank you for having me on with these other experts, Hugh.
Hugh: We have Wil Coleman. He is a great musician out there in Raleigh, North Carolina. We will hopefully have Dr. Williams here in just a minute.
Sherita: He is coming on now.
Hugh: We also have a presenter who is not here, Bishop Ebony Kirkland. If you go to the landing page for the symposium at NonprofitLeadership.live, I am watching my phone. People are registering. It’s exciting. We want to fill the house because there is so much important work to do. If you click on the pictures for these good-looking people, a video will pop up with an invitation as to what they are talking about in more detail and why you should come.
This word “reactivation,” it’s a mystery word for some of us because we are working as hard as we can. It’s a new era. It’s an important era. Bob has invited students. He is in the classroom again. He’s worn a lot of hats. I gotta tell you, I have been in his class with his students. They come to our nonprofit leadership group on Thursdays. You are inspiring a new group of leaders, profound group of leaders coming up. There is a lot of untapped potential for people who might get overlooked. I remember, Bob, when I was 18, I had a chance to conduct when I was nothing but potential. Somebody like you believed in me. Somebody like you said, “Hugh, give it a go.” I was able to step up into a whole career.
Let’s go back to David Gruder for a minute. I want to ask any of you to shout out when you can. This is such an important occasion. Bob just talked about colleges who are a specific type of nonprofit. Big universities with big budgets and a lot of foundations and history are having challenging times. Imagine a small community organization that wants to feed people, clothe people, house people. They are working on a bare strings budget. David, what’s important for our mindset? What’s important for how to equip ourselves to rethink leadership and our work?
David: Oh my. Well, okay. Short version is that we need to shift our, what’s called in psychology, locus of control. Right now, in society, there is an external locus of control. What locus of control has to do with is how a person centers their ideas about where control lives. Right now, a lot of people are thinking that society and government and COVID-19 and external circumstances are the boss of them. That is a mindset that is a surefire recipe for victimization, powerlessness, and empty, unhelpful forms of rebellion. That has to shift into what in psychology is called an internal locus of control, where I’m the boss of the future I create. I’m the boss of my own stories that I tell myself and the emotions that I have and response to those stories and the words and actions that I say and do in response to the emotions I have about the stories I create. That is a skillset that is developable, and it is a crucial skillset, not only for leaders to embody, but for teams to be trained in how to do because without that, there will be no conscious, elevated, spiritual architecting of a new norm that is helpful to humanity rather than harmful to humanity.
Hugh: David Gruder says things, and I say, “Gosh, I wish I would have put those words together like that.” He is a champion wordsmith. Anything else you want to share? Thyonne, I was so impressed by your short video. Of course, I was impressed by all of them, but yours is in mind because I got it most recently. It was passionate. You used to be part of a foundation that sent you out to do board capacity building. Why is it so important for us to learn ourselves as leaders, to equip ourselves as leaders to grow and engage our boards at a higher level?
Thyonne: Thanks for the compliment on the video that you had me do at the last minute. It’s really important for us as leaders to engage and interact with our boards because our boards are what make our organizations. They hold the fiduciary responsibility for our nonprofit organizations, which means if they’re not working in step with the executives and the team at the organizational level, you absolutely could slip and fall. Your board is like your safety net. They are looking at things. Their role is to actually make sure the organization is staying afloat, is sustainable, is doing what it says it’s supposed to do, staying in line with the vision and the mission. Your board is your support system. It’s important for leaders to understand the relationship and the role they have with their board members.
The foundation that I worked with prior was the Annenberg Foundation here in Los Angeles. We did do capacity-building by teaching board leaders how to work in alignment with the executive director. The program was called Alchemy. It was a magical program to bring together the executive director and a support person, or a champion, and the board chair. They had to come together in the program, which we would do quarterly. We came for classes and learning how to work together, how to build the capacity of the organization, and even how to fundraise. With them working hand in hand, they were able to have much higher success rates.
It’s important for leaders to understand the importance of their board and what their board roles are. Especially with small organizations, when you start an organization, my mom is on the board, my brother is on the board, and my sister down north. They’re like, “Yeah, sure, you can put my name down.” They have no idea what it means to be responsible on a board. They don’t know anything about board governance. It’s important for leaders who want to start these nonprofits to understand your board is a serious thing. It’s not just your mom and grandma and everybody who said, “Yeah, we should do that. That sounds cool.” And you’re selling pies or chicken dinners or whatever it is to raise money. That’s great, but if you have a board who understands their fiduciary responsibility, they will say, “We can sell these chicken dinners, but we also have to expand and talk to somebody like Sherita about how we find grant funding and how we are in alignment with that and how we stay with our vision and our mission. If you’re working with saving the chickens, selling chicken dinners might not be a good idea.”
Thyonne: It’s important for us to know what we’re doing and that our boards know their roles.
Hugh: I want to get Sherita on here for a minute. Sherita has some family issues, and she needs to go tend to some of those important things. She set you up for this thing that you are going to talk about. Everybody thinks there is grants, and it will be a smooth road going after them. You send in an application, and people will give you all this money. We have to learn some things as leaders, don’t we?
Sherita: Yes. For one, grant funders are investors just like any other investor. People think that there is a magic potion or something when it comes to grants for the nonprofit arena. That’s why another time when Hugh and I worked together, and I wrote that article, “Nonprofit – The Stepchild of Business,” people treat a nonprofit like a side gig or a hobby. They don’t put much into it. They might submit one grant or two grants and don’t receive it and say, “See, everyone told me not to do this.” But they have been trying to get money for their for-profit business for 20 years and kept trying until they succeeded. They will not put much into the nonprofit arena but expect a greater return. That’s what tends to happen. When you’re going after grants, it’s a joint process with the executive or whoever they choose to work with the person that is writing the grants because even myself, I raised over $30 million. We developed over 600 organizations. But there is no way to just take it upon myself and write about my clients’ accomplishments without their assistance. I am very good at what I do, but I am only as good as the information received. People expect you to write a grant for a building, for the grant-writer to write about it without their input. The grant-writer doesn’t know their accomplishments, who they have worked with in the past as far as collaborations, their projects. It has to be a joint effort in order to make it happen.
Yes, like you said, I lost a very dear uncle this morning. I tried to clear my calendar to be on here with you, but I got the call this morning that my uncle passed away. I am working on a couple of things.
Before I leave, it’s also important for people. Just today or yesterday it was reported, a director of an ER committed suicide. She was in New York at a major hospital. Had contracted coronavirus herself while treating patients. Got well, went back to work, and yesterday, committed suicide.
Organizations after every catastrophe, whether it is Katrina or the 1930s Depression, after every catastrophe, it doesn’t stop there. There is going to be an aftermath. There is cause and effect. Organizations are going to need to get prepared for depression, suicide prevention, PTSD, while also like professionals like ourselves, helping people to regain themselves after this. With every issue or problem, there is grant funding. That is why grants are there: to address problems and issues. This is why the nonprofit arena, and you hear about grants more during times like this. It’s not that it operates less. The nonprofit arena steps up more. It’s important to understand that, understand how you can stabilize your footing, and understand the process of how to go after funding in order to ride this wave. Yes, it is a negativity that is happening right now. Yes, we are losing lives. Yes, a lot of businesses are closed right now. If we understand how to ride the wave of what is happening right now in addition to knowing how to survive and move forward in it, that is what I will be talking about. I thank you for having me on, including me with these other experts.
Wil, hi, how are you? It’s been years. Tell Pastor I said hello, and I do want to speak with you guys following on this. David Gruder, Greg, Thyonne, and Bob, I look forward to being with you on Friday. Have a very blessed day.
Hugh: That was so profound. It’s time for some summary statements. I’d like to start with Bob Hopkins. Every time I talk to Bob, I am amazed at the depth of knowledge he has about a lot of different topics. He is living the sweet life. He could be tending his garden, but he is out there inspiring students and teaching. He has joined the SynerVision team and wants to help us take the magazine up another level and do some work with us. Blessings to you and sharing your gifts, and thank you for being a part of this presenting team. We are going to wrap up here and let everybody have a moment to say something. What would you like to add to the conversation?
Bob: I’m anxious to read the content again of everybody and what we are going to do and where I fit in. I am going to be there for the entire time. A lot of it might be off the top of my head after I have learned what I have heard from you. I don’t want to go on a tangent that doesn’t have some relationship to what we are already talking about. I think as a time when we all speak for 20 minutes at a time, then I’m later on in the afternoon. I’m the last speaker. At least that was the schedule I saw.
Hugh: I messed with it because we had some changes I had to make. I am going to send that out to you right after this session. You do have several times that you are going to be able to influence people and share some of your stuff. I have had to rework it. Our Bishop Kirkland in New York couldn’t be here today. She is sitting in New York talking to people about working together, collaborating. She is going to share with us Friday about that. We will get a report on how that is going in New York City.
Bob, you could speak off the top of your head all day and not duplicate yourself. You have such a wealth of information. We are going to talk about philanthropy. His book is brilliant. He lifted it up before. Your book is 100-something stories of nonprofits and how philanthropy really works. We think we know what philanthropy is, but it really is different. How do boards connect with that? You have experience running nonprofits as well as being a resource to them. We have had to make the schedule a little fluid, but it’s not a whole lot different. I have moved you up in the day a little bit. Whenever you talk, people are going to listen. It’s like one of those big investment companies. When they talk, we all listen. Knowing that, you’re going to have great gifts to share. Don’t put yourself down. You have a lot of important stuff to share. Thank you for being part of this great presentation team.
Bob: Thank you.
Hugh: Greg Sanders. Why is the work of a nonprofit so important? Why are you sponsoring SynerVision?
Greg: My mother and my father were both university teachers. My mom was in foreign languages, Spanish. My father was in music. I taught sociology for 30 years. I have a big heart for students who can’t figure out what the heck they are going to do with their lives when they are 18-22, which is an important thing I felt like I did when I was working at the university. Not just transmitting content, but helping people figure out their futures.
I think about Dr. Gruder who is known for integrity. My feeling is that everything we do should be of service to other people. I love the nonprofit organization because they wear right on their sleeve that we are here to serve. Businesses should have that same mindset. If what you do is not improving the quality of life for other people, you should go do something else. That is what EZ-Card attempts to do. I tell people if you are going to build a house, you could do it with your bare hands, but it’s a lot better to do it with tools, even with power tools, because if you spend $1 on a power tool, it’s going to help you save hundreds of dollars in building that house. That is what we are trying to do at EZ-Card. If the technology fits and helps people to do what they have chosen to do to help other people in a more efficient manner, that is what we’re all about. I think we are right. We need to rethink the way we are doing everything, and we need to think about it in terms of helping other people.
We are trying to make money during this period of time, but we are also caring for people. Just recently, I had one middle-aged adult talking about taking care of her 88-year-old mother right now and saying, “My mom was healthy. She went out with her friends. She went to restaurants. She had an active life. Now she is cooped up in her house and is wasting away. She is no longer actively engaging.” My advice is to maintain your normal life as best you can, even having to shelter in place. How can you maintain the routines? How can you maintain life as normal? It’s that kind of strategic thinking that nonprofit organizations have to be maintained in. You can’t do some things the way you did them before, but you can make a semblance of those activities and try to keep those healthy routines in place. I am privileged to be a part of it. We are trying to drive some traffic to what is happening on Friday from the EZ-Card side.
Hugh: Text 64600 with LDR in the message. You will have the SynerVision card. Dr. Gordon, how would you like to close?
Thyonne: Hugh, I hope you can keep David, Greg, Bob, and Wil because I plan on putting on my mask and kidnapping Bob from Texas. Bob, don’t pay attention. I am going to be grabbing you and bringing you to California.
Bob: My bags are packed.
Thyonne: I have already texted Greg’s site. I am excited about that. David, I know how I feel about you. Wil, I just met you. This is going to be an amazing symposium. I am excited to be part of it. Anyone who misses it, you are about to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. That is what we have to understand as nonprofit leaders and people in this space. I will speak as an African-American woman. This isn’t our first time in a crisis. We know how to get through a crisis. Nonprofits, we are used to not having a whole lot and making a lot happen. In this crisis, we are the leaders. We actually know what to do already. Our leadership style is what everybody else is trying to do. We have been doing this makeshift thing for a long time. We have such an opportunity to take this thing by the horns and make an opportunity of it.
That is what I will talk about with the board leadership as well. When board leaders step up right now, there are all sorts of opportunities for us to come out of this thriving and leading during this crisis as well as through this crisis to help us get through it. There is so much opportunity. With the people who will be at this symposium, wow, you will get the ideas, the information. You will have the knowledge that you need to break through and make a change in your organization. I am excited. Hugh, let’s make it happen. Bob, don’t look for me, but I am coming to get you.
Hugh: That’s awesome. You may have noticed some old white guy. Sometimes we’re clueless. Some of us know how to dress, but not me. Wil, did you say Pastor is on here? Blessings. Do you have a picture, or will you just talk to us?
Dr. Kevin Williams: I am just going to talk to you. I don’t have a picture today.
Hugh: Thank you for being here. All of us have crazy schedules. We have some awesome folks. You are going to talk about how Paul said be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Talk about the transformation that you are going to talk about. You will be square up at noon EST at the symposium. It’s the spot before we take a lunch break. Tell us why we need that and why you want to share that with people.
Kevin: Right now, I think one of the greatest challenges that that could hinder any individual is to be stuck to an old way of thinking. Everything that has transpired recently has caused two waves of thought. One wave is people believing that things will go back to the way that they were, which is a very dangerous mindset. The other thought is understanding that they won’t go back to the way that they were, but also understand what is getting ready to come. Any time there is going to be advancement, either you are going to be a reactionary person or you will be an initiating individual. Thought leaders nowadays have to initiate so that we can provoke other people to initiate and not be reactionary. Usually, if you are reactionary, you are going to suffer the consequences of reacting.
But when your mind is renewed, when Paul talks about that, he is talking about a renovation of taking out some old things, almost like renovating a house, taking out some old things and literally changing the scope of the house and the aspect of it so that it can meet your current needs. The same thing happens in the mind. If a person doesn’t transform their thinking and get out of the old stuck way of thinking, they are going to ultimately implode and damage themselves. But when an individual comes into a mind renewal, this is why symposiums like this are key and important, because what you have then is you have thought leaders who are ultimately like construction workers. What we’re doing is aiding the individual to renovate their thinking because in this renovation, people are not just going to learn about what’s new, but also learn the type of thinking they should have that has hurt them before but also is going to help them now because now we’re open to a new way of thinking. If you look at what’s happening with the United States, with the government, with the marketplace, everything is shifting. Look at stocks. Look at the different kinds of currency now, like cryptocurrency. All of these different things that are happening, our mind has to be renewed.
The next thing is we have to make sure that we don’t fall into the hands of something that we don’t ascribe to because with all of this that is happening, by being a faith leader, I understand that God has an agenda. Even though God has a focus and a vision for all of us, so does the enemy. We have to make sure we are not operating in something that looks like it has a form of goodness, but denies the power thereof. As thought leaders, one of the things I believe that is important is that our thinking definitely has to change in order for us to be effective for this coming time and for this generation right now that is depending on us to see something for them that they cannot see for themselves.
Hugh: Awesome. Dr. Williams, it’s been a few years, but you invited me down to work with your congregation. We did some leadership stuff. Wil and I did some music stuff. Also, the very first symposium happened in Greensboro at your church. Did you know that?
Kevin: Wow. I knew that we did the symposium, but I didn’t know it was the first one.
Hugh: That was a shorter one. It was an evening. You put out the word, and everybody came. I remember Bishop Willimon asked somebody why they came, and they said, “Pastor said to come.” He was quite impressed with that. This is #27. It’s changed a little bit. Of course, we can’t do it live right now, so we are doing it virtually. It’s a celebration of something we started in Greensboro at New Jerusalem Cathedral. Thank you for helping me launch this so many years ago.
Kevin: Most definitely. I always want to be a part of things that you’re doing.
Hugh: Blessings. You’ve been a blessing to me. Thank you for being here. You’re sharing it with your tribe. Bishop Kirkland is out here in New York City getting people to collaborate. She is doing some important work today. She will be with us on Friday. May 1. Be there. Thank you for getting in here. As we close out here, my brother David Gruder, you get the last spot. You know Dr. Williams, don’t you?
David: Yes. We have not talked or seen each other for a number of years, but I am delighted to reconnect.
Hugh: This has been a great conversation. What do you want to leave us with?
David: What I want to leave you all with is a quote from a 20th century thought leader that many of you are familiar with by name at least, Buckminster Fuller. What Bucky Fuller said was, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” This Friday, we are going to be talking about how nonprofits get to invent their future in effective, useful ways. I am really looking forward to offering some key psychological foundations for inventing a new future.
Hugh: And you have a book. Do you want to offer a virtual version of it? Tell us about that.
David: Very briefly, yeah. I have been involved in one capacity or another with 24 books now. One of them is a book I was the psychology editor for called Transcendent Thought and Market Leadership. That is by Bruce Raymond Wright. I have been blessed by Bruce to be able to offer a digital copy of the book as a gift to everyone who attends the symposium on Friday.
Hugh: We will have some other gifts, but that is a significant one. David, thank you for being here. Kevin, thank you for being here. Greg, thank you for being here. Bob, thank you for being here. Thyonne is going to capture you and take you to California. He can do a book signing there. He will do that in California. I look forward to putting a spin on nonprofit leadership in a good way and inspiring people to go out there and make a huge difference. Thank you so much for sharing today with everybody.