Changing Times, Enduring Values

Press Release

February 01, 2016

Changing Times, Enduring Values

By Alison Smith
President & CEO, Humentum
February 1, 2016

As I prepare to step down as President and CEO of Humentum on March 1, I’ve enjoyed reflecting on the evolution of the organization and what has helped it become the vibrant member community that it is today. From our initial formation in 1977, deep in a former Riggs Bank Vault in the heart of the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, leveraging member expertise for the benefit of the whole community has been at the heart of what we do.

From the outset we relied on practical advice by those who were actually facing problems and finding solutions. At roundtables and workshops we fostered opportunities for practice sharing and networking. Face to face learning experiences provided opportunities for relationships to begin and continue throughout the years. Members were and continue to be peers and mentors to each other. And creating a safe environment for people to share their problems and get help from each other has been essential to that sharing.

While these areas have remained consistent over the years, so too, have the values that have held us in good stead, among them:

  • Be approachable and seek out other people’s views
  • Be open to new ideas (and capitalize on those that look promising)
  • Be problem and solution oriented
  • Be open and transparent
  • Act with integrity
  • Provide exceptional experiences and essential tools that help NGOs succeed
  • Ensure our work is of the highest quality
  • And, most importantly, don’t forget that the power of generosity and collaboration is the foundation on which we have thrived.

Above all we are a community. While it may have started with the seven individuals who first joined together to share problems and advice, the spirit and responsiveness to colleagues has continued as the membership has grown. As a community, we have learned from and shared with each other. This spirit of sharing echoes the same generosity of spirit upon which so many of your organizations were founded. Your openness, commitment to collaboration, and above all generosity has enabled us to be successful and, hopefully, in turn, played a role in your personal and professional development.

Thank you for the opportunity to lead Humentum. I have enjoyed every minute of it, and look forward to watching Humentum, you, and your organizations continue to make a real difference in the world.