With about eight weeks under my belt at NPGA, I’ve been taking time to better understand the ins and outs of the organization. I’ve been meeting with our board members and other key stakeholders to inquire about and listen to organizational histories, personal stories and hopes for the future. Each of these encounters will help me as I work with the board to envision NPGA’s future path.

I come to this position with many years of leading nonprofits through various developmental cycles. I’ve found that while most organizations believe their issues are unique, they really aren’t. Instituting change, even when desired, may not be easy, but transitions work best when they are strategic and when there is complete buy-in from stakeholders.

For me, engaging in a strategic planning process is one of the most enlightening exercises for an organization undergoing transition. It enables the organization to name and celebrate their areas of mission-driven success, to identify their growing edges and to set aside less-than- optimal practices.

Strategic planning is a vital piece to any organization’s health. It’s an opportunity to look under the hood, fill up the necessary fluids to keep the engine running and to replace any parts that have worn with wear and tear or just simply don’t work anymore. The process can also reenergize stakeholders. It’s an opportunity to think about the big picture, to take the time to evaluate an organization’s place within the current landscape and to consider what may be coming along that may need to be incorporated into the organization’s plans.

We’ll engage in this process in the coming months and I hope you will join us in this effort. I expect to reach out to as many stakeholders as possible through online surveys and in-person gatherings. Your input is necessary and valuable. Northstar, of course, remains committed to serving the problem gambling community and through this process will strengthen its presence as an alliance.

Look for more details to come.