When the World Comes to Oklahoma

global-conference-2014

The non-profit world, especially among relief and development agencies, has a bad reputation for competition, not collaboration. I want the larger Feed the Children family to build a different, more collaborative reputation.

It was exciting to be in the Feed the Children offices in Oklahoma City last month.  The world came to Oklahoma as we hosted all of our international regional and country directors for our annual Global Conference.

Over the course of 8 days we shared stories of our work, we discussed our plans to add and expand programs, and we challenged one another to grow together in professional development.  Most of all we dreamed together about how we could serve even more children and families—truly fulfilling our mission that no child goes to bed hungry.

We kicked off the week with an historic event: the international leadership of Feed the Children and World Neighbors, our newest partner, sat in the room together and planned collaborative work to help build self-sufficient communities around the globe. It was the first time since World Neighbors became a Feed the Children subsidiary that our respective teams joined together in such a dialogue. I felt so privileged to witness this talented and motivated group gathered in person around a common table to talk about how we could build a more cohesive organization as a global family.  And the synergy that exists between the work of these two organizations was amazing to witness!

Spent some time with our Philippines country director, Abellana Esperanza (who managed the extreme time change quite well).
I loved spending some time with our Philippines country director, Abellana Esperanza.

World Neighbors and Feed the Children are already working side by side in several countries, such as Kenya and Guatemala. Each organization will bring their best to the partnership.

We also made plans for Feed the Children to expand into regions of Asia in which World Neighbors has worked for years. They have much to teach us and we hope to learn from them as we enter into new communities together.

Our teams also shared administrative strategies. Feed the Children has strengths in the area of fundraising and marketing that will help World Neighbors fund their work.

Listening in and being a part of these discussions encouraged me greatly for the future.

The non-profit world, especially among relief and development agencies, has a bad reputation for competition, not collaboration. I want the larger Feed the Children family to build a different, more collaborative reputation. What encourages me is that World Neighbors is not, nor has it ever been, that kind of organization, not in its 60-plus years of existence.

Meeting as we did at the Global Conference last week, international and domestic staff working together for a common purpose, gives us the opportunity to do great things. Together, we have the opportunity to challenge the way we’ve always conducted business. We have the opportunity to more effectively communicate our mission to those who contribute to our work. We have the opportunity to deliver excellent customer service to our colleagues, no matter if our home base is in Nairobi, Cebu, Nashville or Oklahoma City.

Our Global Conference is an important annual tradition. Not only do I think that our international field staff leaves the USA refreshed and more energized for their work, but so does our US-based staff.

As I walked around our offices this morning, several of our employees told me how wonderful it was to have our international colleagues among us recently.  I couldn’t agree more, and I’m excited to see all that we’ll accomplish between now and next  year’s annual conference.

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