Community Food Share – a “graduate” of SVP Boulder County’s Catapult program (2016-2019) – followed up with SVP Partner and psychotherapist Roland Evans recently for additional pro bono consulting related to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we first started working with Roland, we were down in fundraising and we had three new hires on our development team,” says Dina Coates Koebler, Chief Development Officer of Community Food Share. “We needed to make up for lost ground, and we needed to gel as a team. Roland helped us create cohesion by learning to recognize signs of stress, which each of us displays differently; and to be conscious of when and how to intervene and support one another in stressful times.
“Most of our team members are idea- and emotion-based, but one of our new team members who came from the IT world approached things from a more analytical, clinical perspective. She’d also come from a toxic work environment, and was constantly afraid of being berated – every day, she thought she was going to get fired.
“You can’t be productive as a team in a fear-based environment. Roland helped us understand where she was coming from – and why – and he helped us create a safe environment for her. Now she’s feisty and willing to offer her opinions. She knows she won’t be fired, and she’s free to reach her potential.”
Adds Evans, “My intention is to get every member of a team to know one another, on both personal and professional levels – and that can be scary, at first. It’s all about openness, transparency, and tolerance … and understanding where the other person[s] is coming from.
“When I first started working Dina and her team, they didn’t know one another very well. Today, I’d say they’re one of the most highly functional teams I’ve ever worked with. Of course, there were a number of issues we had to work through on the journey. We addressed anxieties, and helped each team member realize their own competence.”
Then COVID-19 hit. “We haven’t worked together in person since March 12,” continues Koebler. “But Roland makes each person on the team continue to feel validated and appreciated. The minute Roland joins us, everyone drops their façades, and everyone becomes really authentic. In turn, that gives me – as the leader of the team – a real pulse on how we’re doing.
“For example, my team has some valid concerns about how people in the warehouse perceive us. They don’t necessarily appreciate how hard we work for donations to support the mission of Community Food Share. We so appreciate how Roland has helped us promote the work we’re doing as an integral part of the culture of the organization, especially in the current climate.”
Concludes Evans, “Dina is an extraordinary person who’s highly committed to her team. A lot of what I’ve done with Community Food Share is to highlight their successes, and help them gain confidence in their competencies.
“Now with COVI-19, we’ve also focused on self-care and team building as means to better support one another.”
SVP is providing a number of pro-bono planning and consulting services to help Boulder County non-profit leaders navigate through the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, please visit our COVID Response web page.