Leaders Team Up with Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center to Strengthen Its Mission

A group of business leaders capped off our Leadership Coaching Series by presenting detailed action plans for how the Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center can foster greater resiliency amid a rapidly changing world while also expanding its essential community mission of serving children who have been victims of or witnesses to abuse and violent crimes.

The presentations were the final step of the Leadership Coaching Series, a development program for talented leaders who are in line to take on higher-level leadership roles at organizations.

The program features competency-based leadership assessments, experiential learning, individual coaching and development planning — all capped off by a community-based project supporting a nonprofit organization through the development of actions plans detailing how that organization can expand its mission.

“What this organization is doing is incredible,” says participant Jason Latiolais of Barriere Construction. “Hopefully they take some of these ideas and are able to help even more children.”

The Leadership Coaching Series community-impact project is designed to prompt participants to find unique and innovative ways to resolve real-life problems that an organization is facing. Leaders from multiple companies split up into two groups — Team Highland and Team Perkins — then developed and presented their final plans directly to BRCAC officials and a group of business executives, who offered feedback on the content and delivery.

This year’s Leadership Coaching Series was designed to develop skills that make a more resilient leader, a concept that is increasingly important in a tech-driven business world that is changing more rapidly than ever. In their presentations to the BRCAC, the participants continued that focus on resilience, offering the nonprofit strategies designed to help ensure it continues its success even as technology and other forces disrupt the needs of the community and how the public financially supports charitable organizations.

Both teams did a great job of taking the content that the series covered over the past few weeks and putting it into action by building on BRCAC’s present-day strengths to help the organization navigate an uncertain future. They had plenty of ambitious, attainable ideas, addressing how to improve brand awareness, donor acknowledgement and client engagement.

Lynnie Johnson of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana says the planning and presentation process offered a unique opportunity to connect with leaders that don’t often get a chance to work together. “I really liked the interaction with leaders from different industries,” says Johnson, a member of Team Perkins.

The overall goal of the project was to further the mission of the organization, which protects children who have been sexually or physically abused or witness to violent crimes, helps prevent further abuse, provides therapeutic counseling and assists in investigations into abuse by offering a safe venue for law enforcement interviews and a comfortable environment for counseling sessions.

Although both groups set out to support that mission, they took different approaches in their final recommendations and presentations. Team Perkins focused on technology-related improvements, particularly with BRCAC’s website, that aim to increase public engagement and boost online donations, an important adaptation to the changing landscape for charitable giving. Other recommendations centered around increasing funding and donor acknowledgement for the center, which unlike children’s centers in other states does not receive government funding.

Team Highland, on the other hand, offered offline strategies, including a revamped informational flier that doubles as a coloring book and could be placed in health care centers and emergency rooms, fundraising outreach strategies for securing state funds, and the creation of various committees on the nonprofit’s board to increase community engagement and fundraising.

The recommendations from both teams were thoughtful and in-line with our overarching emphasis on resilience, which makes many of the ideas good candidates to be incorporated by the BRCAC in the future.

BRCAC Executive Director Toni Bankston says the organization has a small staff and carries a workload typically handled by organizations many times larger. That means the staff is often occupied by client services and doesn’t always get to focus on big-picture items like fundraising and community outreach.

“Both groups made me as an administrator say ‘Hey, this is something I can do,’ ” she told the teams in the feedback session. “Even though I’m putting out fires all day and often stuck in present-moment concerns, these are tangible things. I really feel like you gave me things that are realistic and attainable, and that’s really invaluable to me.”

The Leadership Coaching Series is a development program for talented leaders who are in line to take on higher-level leadership roles at your organization. Participants leave with an understanding of the competencies they’ll need as they take the next steps in their careers and action plans to help develop those competencies. The ideal candidate is a successful manager who was recently promoted or is being considered for promotion to a higher-level leadership role.