The Interim Executives Academy: My Review and Reflection!
Originally published in the United Way Retirees Association Newsletter
By Mary E. Tyler
This summer, I had the pleasure of being part of the 10th cohort of the Interim Executives Academy. During a United Way Retiree virtual meeting, Third Sector Company’s Founder, President & Chief Mission Advancement Officer, Jeffrey R. Wilcox, introduced the concept of interim executive leadership, a service the company offers in the U.S. and Canada. After listening to Jeffery, a former United Way colleague, talk about the opportunity to continue serving the nonprofit sector in a very different role, I immediately began researching the information and scheduled time to learn more.
Although I’ve retired from the United Way network, taught at community colleges, and led a local social justice nonprofit, I was still seeking unretirement options, a growing trend – working past retirement. A 2019 Harris Poll found that 1 in 3 Americans ages 40 and older plan to work after retirement. Of that group, most plan to work their entire lives. Also, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40% of people ages 55 and older were working in 2014, a percentage experts believe will increase through 2024. The Interim Executives Academy provided such an experience; connecting with other colleagues across the country who are retired, approaching retirement and experienced interim executives; tapping into how I might use my skills, gifts, knowledge, and experiences; and learning about today’s transitional leadership approach to serve the nonprofit sector better.
The Academy greatly exceeded my expectations. As a diversity, equity, inclusion, and access practitioner, it was gratifying to learn that the Academy emphasizes this space. The Academy encouraged and created space to practice identifying, calling out and building relationships that seek to end microaggressive language and behavior, cultivate inclusion, and seek equity.
As paramount, the Academy provided a methodical approach to serving as an interim and growing the pool of capable executives. Third Sector professionals and other guest colleagues walked us through the entire process of preparing for an interview through your exit or completion of the assignment. The Academy provided helpful resources, and candidly, I’m still using a few in my community volunteer projects. The small virtual group discussions were rich and insightful.
Finally, my most significant takeaway from the experience is that Leadership Matters. As United Way retirees, the network blessed us with unique opportunities to impact communities throughout the world. For those who desire to continue serving in such a professional leadership role, I encourage you to consider the Interim Executives Academy. To learn more about this incredible opportunity, click here. Your leadership is needed – it’s transformational for the organization and will be for you too.
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