April 3, 2015
The Unpopular Programs and Leadership - How Do We Live the Vision?
Have you ever tried to help a client or friend, only to
discover that he or she was just a little bit crazy? Frustrating, wasn’t it?
At this program, you will have an opportunity to experience
that special kind of frustration all over again.
David Gamse will be our crazy client – crazy because, by his
own admission, he wants to market products and services that precious few
customers want. Specifically, he would
like to help older jobseekers land jobs.
Yet, as you might imagine, most employers are not particularly interested
in hiring them, and neither the employers nor the jobseekers seem willing to
pay for this assistance. To complicate
the marketing and business challenge, most employers don’t speak their minds
because federal law requires them to appear to be age friendly or at least age
neutral. Even David’s current and
prospective customers -– men and women age 50+ -- shy from calling themselves “old.”
So how should David effectively package older workers and
the services that support them? How
could he attract middle-aged and older clients?
How might he cover his operating costs?
In one way or another, David’s dilemma is shared by
nonprofit leaders from coast to coast.
Often, they advocate for unpopular programs, policies and segments of
“If we didn’t represent extraordinary needs,” said David,
“our nonprofits themselves probably wouldn't be needed. Human service agencies are especially likely
to swim upstream, against market forces.”
David is the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Council
for the Aging® (JCA®), a local philanthropic organization that for 41 years has
been helping to make the National Capital Area a great place to grow up and
grow old. JCA helps older adults and
family caregivers of all faiths, ethnicities and walks of life.
“JCA meets a wide range of human need,” said David. “Our
programs include transportation, adult day services and caregiver support, intergenerational
activities and more. Yet senior
employment is our largest program. Last
year alone, we invested more than $1.2 million in it. How do we make certain that future
investments have maximum impact?”
Takeaways from the Session
Although the session highlights an issue in a mission-based non-profit, you will see the same principles apply to all types of organizations
Don't just try to "put lipstick on the pig" - look for substantive incentives or solutions
Leadership lessons on achieving the vision through all programs.
About Our Facilitator:
David Gamse is a gerontologist who has served as the Chief
Executive Officer of the Jewish Council for the Aging® since 1990. At JCA®, he plays a pivotal role in creating
and managing innovative and cost-effective programs that help seniors
Seventy-five staff and 800 volunteers rely on his
leadership, and together they serve more than 30,000 older adults and family
caregivers each year through transportation services, senior employment
programs, intergenerational activities, adult day services, public information programs
and more. Concurrently, David serves as
CEO of the National Center for Productive Aging™, JCA’s consulting arm.
Over the years, David has led workshops and symposia on
issues of aging and nonprofit management for a wide range of public and private
organizations including the American Management Association, the White House
Conference on Aging and the U.S. Department of Labor. He has represented U.S. policy on aging at
international conferences of the United Nations and Israeli Gerontological
Society. He has authored many articles
about productive aging and service delivery.
Prior to joining JCA, David was a senior manager at AARP, a
multi-million-member association. Earlier,
he was an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Florida’s Aging
Studies Program, from which he graduated and from which he later received an Eminent
Graduate Award. David is also a
recipient of the Florida Board of Regents’ Distinguished Scholarship Award and the
Seabury Leadership in Aging Award.
David is a member of the American Society of Association
Executives, the Gerontological Society of America, the National Council on
Aging, the Executive Directors & Headmasters Council of Jewish Agencies in
the metro Washington, D.C. region, and the Montgomery Moving Forward Leadership
Group. He is also an officer of
WorkSource Montgomery -- the Workforce Investment Board of Montgomery County,
Chief Executive Officer
JEWISH COUNCIL FOR THE AGING