An Expanded Board for Our Growing Organization

October 10, 2019 2:50 pm Published by

Mainsprings Founder & CEO, Chris Gates, talks about Mainsprings’ first ever annual Board Retreat and the importance of its newly expanded board in Tulsa, Oklahoma this past weekend.

In a newsletter earlier this year, we highlighted our Central Administration team in Mwanza, which serves as the backbone and support of all of the programs on both of our campuses. While the stories of our students and staff who are able to realize a life of hope and prosperity through our different programs is what drives us, and is ultimately the biggest draw for people to our mission, none of it could be possible without a solid foundation, a solid backbone that works behind the scenes to make sure that everything is running and growing as it should. With over 100 employees in Tanzania currently, they work tirelessly to make sure our school, clinic, farm and girls’ empowerment programs are doing what they need to do.

The same can be said for a Board of Directors of any organization. Without a solid, active, and working Board, organizations can often become complacent and rate of change can slow. As we have continued to grow year over year, in 2018, we decided that we wanted to take a critical look at our Board of Directors and strategically grow it so that it can help all of our programs, and organization as a whole, bloom into the type of organization we want to be 5-10 years down the road. Without this solid backbone, the dreams we have may very well stay dreams.

Since last November, we as an organization have nearly doubled our Board and fairly radically changed the way it is operating. In no way is our decision to increase the size of the Board an indictment of the loyal, supportive members who have been with Mainsprings for years. These members have done an incredible job guiding us to where we are now, but as we talked with all of them about expanding to accomplish the goals of our organization, it was apparent that we needed some added support. So, we set to work recruiting people from across the country who are familiar with our mission, passionate about the social change we are affecting in Tanzania, and committed to helping us grow to impact the lives of thousands more rural Tanzanian citizens. Beyond adding another 8 members, bringing our total Board to 17 members, we also developed the idea of having an annual retreat, where all Board members could get together in person to cover a variety of topics. We felt it important for all of our Board members to know each other personally, so that conversations that are had on the phone throughout the year were more personal, and there was a face, not just a voice, on the other side of the phone.

This past weekend, we held our very first Annual Board Retreat in Tulsa, OK, and it was a roaring success. Our members flew in from all across the country to get to know each other, learn about where Mainsprings has come from and to set new goals for the next few years. We had delicious food, hours of meetings covering everything from our messaging to the details of each program we operate, and were able to get to know each other while having a great time together. The weekend was exactly what we wanted it to be and we are incredibly grateful to have so many new faces on our team, leading us to become an even greater organization in the years to come.

While a Board of Directors Retreat may not be the most popular of topics for a blog, I personally feel this is an integral part in the functioning of a well-run organization and I have complete faith that these individuals will help us get to where we dream of going. As it says on our school wall, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world… for indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I have faith that our “small group” of Board Members, staff, and supporters will continue to make waves of change in our communities in rural Tanzania and that because of their dedication and support, Mainsprings will continue to be able to nurture even more bright futures! A big THANK YOU to all of the Board Members who devoted their entire weekend to Mainsprings, and I encourage all of you to read more about our Board members on our website at:

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This post was written by Mainsprings