1) Tell us a bit about your current work and background
I like to say I have a polyhedron position at the Spanish Association of Foundations, and that means that the issues I deal with in my job position are sides of a figure, connected but independent. For the last eight years the most prominent side has been international relations, a position with a strong link with my tenure as DAFNE chair, with a focus on developing a network of associations of foundations in Europe that will help each member to better serve the foundations sector in each country. At the same time, the international aspect of my work aimed to have Spanish foundations represented at international level and also to bring to Spain the latest trends in philanthropy from other countries. I also work on a local scale with our regional groups, understanding the nuances that their work has because they are in a particular region of the country, but always trying to make each region connected to others, always looking for knowledge sharing and cooperation. And the polyhedron has another side, why do I refer to it the last one? You can judge yourself….. it is the role of CFO of an organisation with an unusual characteristic for the infrastructure world, as nearly eighty percent of our budget comes from members’ dues. Maintaining this level comes with extremely careful handling of our finances, not a bad way to put my business administration academic background to use I guess.
2) How did you end up being a WINGS Board Member?
I can say I am the return of WINGS’ investment, as I participated in a peer learning event in Washington DC back in 2004. I have always felt passionate about international platforms, previously with the Spanish Association of Foundations I was the director of a European umbrella organisation of young people and prior to that I was responsible for a EU project on intercultural education in an international non-profit organisation. Probably because of that, I have always understood that the presence of, work of and support to international organisations was key for any endeavour. In 2004 WINGS was a very different organisation, but so was the world- and other organisations, and at that peer learning event I knew WINGS was an organisation I would try to get closer to, in any activity that could be suitable. In that sense I participated in several projects and research promoted by WINGS and have had clearly in my agenda since 2008 (during all my time as DAFNE Chair), the importance of connecting organisations and people to cooperate in projects that surpass the reach of our own organisations. I believe this link to DAFNE was key for my election as a WINGS Board Member.
3) What have you enjoyed about the role?
At the last WINGS Forum in Mexico I invited our members to seriously think about participating in the call for nominations to the WINGS Board that was going to be launched in September, and I gave them several reasons, which are the ones that make me feel that serving as WINGS Director is a precious opportunity.
It is a position that allows people to give the best of themselves, and this is the case because the values and aims of the organisation drives us from many different backgrounds but with a common aim- to strengthen philanthropy in its several forms. When you are on a Board, you are connected to issues and ideas that in part will be outside the topics you currently deal with in your own role. They may be related or complementary, but sometimes not so essential as to take time in our busy agendas of “firefighting”- as in many of our organisations the day to day business leaves little space for thinking outside the box. Being on a board like WINGS is an intellectual challenge that means you have to explore, study and learn about areas that may not otherwise get sufficient space in your agenda. In part due to this, your organisation benefits from new approaches and ideas, that are shared at board meetings or in the development of activities in your role as a WINGS Director.
Last but not least, and what personally makes the role so fulfilling is to have the opportunity to work with and learn from an impressive group of individuals, from different areas of the world and therefore with different views on the world, with different backgrounds, professional and academic, and with life experiences that would make for a formidable book of adventures.
4) What is an area of WINGS’ work that you are particularly passionate about?
I am a believer, supporter, advocate and ambassador….. of the 4Cs framework. Even in an organisation with almost one thousand members like the Spanish Association, there is never a solid and sound way to explain, plan and measure our role and impact. And I am not alone in this struggle- for so many years I have had conversations with colleagues from other European organisations about the same topic. The 4Cs framework is a collective endeavour that has shown how things that can’t be tackled on an individual basis, can be resolved by collective intelligence shared by several organisations. It is for me, an example of one of the main features of WINGS, supporting and promoting philanthropy infrastructure is an aim, core of WINGS, that can be achieved if we tackle it as an ecosystem. None of us could have done it individually, collectively we have produced something we all need.
5) What is an inspiring quote that you would like to share?
‘For me, the difference between an ‘ordinary’ and an ‘extraordinary’ person is not the title that person might have, but what they do to make the world a better place for us all’.
Jody Williams – Nobel Peace Prize