(adapted from her 2017 Together SC Summit Keynote Speech)
For the past 20 years, Together SC has focused on being a resource in education, advocacy, networking, and leadership for nonprofit organizations in South Carolina. Created out of a collaborative effort, Together SC has had a rich history and many nonprofits represented at this 2017 Summit have been a part of that journey. Indeed, the nonprofit sector is an amazing entity. Nonprofit organizations have been Partners, Advocates, Ambassadors, and Champions in making a difference in South Carolina. This state has counted on nonprofits to deliver vital community services, advance solutions for challenges facing society, contribute to building and sustaining vibrantly healthy communities, and serve the marginalized and disenfranchised wherever and whoever they may be.
Most importantly, when we look back over the history of the sector in South Carolina, we find people who have been committed to serving and giving their gifts, talents, and abilities to a cause greater than themselves; programs and projects that have been mission and purpose-driven; hearts that have desired to promote the greater good; and innovative minds that have focused on transformation and change. As we look back we recognize the impact, influence, and evolution of the sector and can readily identify lessons learned, best-practices established, and innovation at its finest.
However, while we can find tremendous value in looking back, we cannot afford to keep looking back. Why? When we look back for too long it keeps us stuck where we are; it causes us to become resistant to change; it causes us to miss opportunities in front of us; and it causes us to lose sight of what is ahead. So then, we look back to remember…But, there is GREATER POWER in looking FORWARD!
Now, you may be asking, why. Well, I am glad you asked!
Looking forward is powerful because it positions us to see what hasn’t been seen (vision), to do what hasn’t been done (expectation), and to be all of what we have the potential to be (purpose). Consider this:
• Vision – is the power to see it although you haven’t experienced it yet
• Expectation – is the power of anticipating the coming of what you’ve seen
• Purpose – is the power of keeping you grounded in what you’re doing, while you’re seeing what you see and while you’re waiting for it to come
Looking forward inspires you in the face of adverse circumstances. Looking forward encourages the heart as you work to heal those whose hearts have been broken by the vicissitudes of life. Looking forward opens the way for you to be a voice for those who are silent and have been silenced …even if yours is the voice crying out in the wilderness. Looking forward compels you to shift where necessary, change where needed, and refocus for greater impact.
So today, I am asking you to adopt a new mantra, and it is simply this…POWER FORWARD!
There is great work and great opportunity ahead. But, we must POWER FORWARD!
Now, you may be asking, “What does she mean by POWER FORWARD?” I thought that was a position played in basketball. IT IS! But, here is what I mean when I say POWER FORWARD! Ask me what! I am glad you asked! To POWER FORWARD in this context means to:
1. Push through – even when it’s difficult
2. Not quit – when it’s the most challenging
3. Not give in – even if you are standing alone; keep standing
4. Not shrink back – even when there are adversaries all around you
5. Be courageous – in the face of fear; do it anyway
6. Be confident – recognizing your intrinsic strength
7. Be audacious – boldly proclaiming the truth
8. Show up – with the intention to make your presence matter
9. Speak up – with the intention to use your voice in a meaningful way
10. Step in faith – even when you don’t know where it may lead you
We are at a time in our state, in our country, and in our world, when you must POWER FORWARD! You must POWER FORWARD when:
1. When as of 2016 South Carolina ranked 16th highest in the nation in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty level
2. When approximately 28% of children live in poverty in this state
3. When reports tell us that South Carolina is ranked 50th in the nation in education
4. South Carolina is ranked 8th highest in the nation for incarceration
5. When NEW HIV infections in South Carolina are on the rise, occurring more in Blacks than that of other races combined
6. When a woman is beaten by her husband or boyfriend every 12 seconds in the United States and South Carolina ranks #5 in deaths related to domestic violence
7. When South Carolina is a target rich environment for sex slavery and human trafficking
You must POWER FORWARD to address issues of racism, sexism, and a host of other “isms”!
You must POWER FORWARD to address blatant injustice, deliberate inequities, and systemic barriers!
You must POWER FORWARD to unite, strengthen, and advance the critical work needed in this state!
You must POWER FORWARD with the intention to have a collective voice!
You must POWER FORWARD with the determination to be allies for good!
And how will we get there? Ask Me How? I am glad you asked!
We will get there TOGETHER South Carolina!!
We will get there TOGETHER!!
About the Author
Dr. Katrina Spigner, affectionately known as, “Dr. K” is the founder and CEO of Re-Source Solutions LLC, a personal and professional growth and development company. She is also a Certified Personal & Executive Coach, Consultant, Speaker, Author, and Assistant Professor with over 15 years experience as a senior leader in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and higher education sectors.