New decade… new perspective!

Growing up, we had a tiny closet darkroom in our house where my father enjoyed developing photographs he had taken with his 35 mm camera. I always found the idea of film negatives – where everything was in shaded in reverse – “magically” changing into recognizable faces and places with a little help from solution in a pan and a red light to be fascinating. Maybe I inherited that gene, but I love taking pictures now too, although the “magic” of my iPhone and photography apps suit me better these days!

Recently, my husband and I got a new prop to use on pictures; a glass ball. It’s also known as a lens ball or a photography crystal ball, but basically, it’s a clear glass marble a bit smaller than a baseball. The idea is to set the ball in front of an object or scene, focus on what is seen through the ball, and take a picture. Due to reflection (and some other convex curvilinear science that I am sure I didn’t pay attention to in high school), the image is flipped inside the glass, giving the final product a truly unique perspective. The image can be enhanced prior to taking the shot with elements like light or water, or edited afterward in a photo app. Sometimes, the best results, I have discovered, are achieved when the photographer gets down in the dirt (literally!) or tests the limits of his/her flexibility and dexterity.

Looking at our first attempts at this style of photography reminds me of the new refocusing we have committed to at the North Carolina Community Foundation with our boards, fundholders and nonprofit partners. As a Community Leadership Officer, I (and my fellow CLOs across the state) am dedicated to working with affiliate boards to facilitate the attainment of their goals. As a member of my regional team, I (and my colleagues in the central part of our state) am focused on providing specialized service to the various constituents in our geographic area. 

Just like in glass ball photography, this new alignment of responsibilities doesn’t change the background or the foundation of the bigger picture, it only refocuses it in a new way; a way that will provide clear, specific direction with the benefit of a new perspective. Our mission is and always has been the same; to inspire North Carolinians to make lasting and meaningful contributions in their communities. The HOW of that mission can be seen more clearly through our new focus areas.

For me, that focus means working in an expanded geographic region and with new boards that I hadn’t served previously. It involves meeting new people, traveling to new places in our state and investing intentional time to learn about the history, passions, concerns, shortcomings and strengths of the boards, their members and their communities. The focus has me delving into books, articles and webinars to further improve my meeting facilitation skills and following news media, tourism boards and chambers of commerce in my region on social media. It also means finding creative ways to hear and support our affiliate boards as they continue to be the voice and face of philanthropy in their counties, region, our state and beyond! And prior to all of that… it involved a lot of people from every area in the North Carolina Community Foundation and our affiliate network spending time in real, strategic, honest conversations and planning sessions. 

So, look out new decade! We are ready to turn negatives into positives, to bring positives into the light, to refocus, to create, to get in the dirt and to stand on our heads if we need to! We are ready to inspire, educate and make a difference… and I, for one, can’t wait to see what develops (no crystal ball required!).