Written by Banu Raghuraman
The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Endeavour.
Steven Ayer is the Founder and President of Common Good Strategies, a market research and strategic consulting group that specializes in research for the non-profit sector. He is also the chair of Endeavour’s board of directors. In this article he shares his thoughts about his career in non-profit and experience with Endeavour.
1. You have had a very focused career in the non-profit sector. What made you choose this path?
In school, I liked solving really complex problems. In not-for-profits (NFPs), we are faced with complex problems that need effective and creative solutions. . The process of resolving and coming up with results is very rewarding. As well, I am able to work on a broad variety of tasks and gain a lot of skills.
In terms of volunteering, the NFP sector gives us a choice on where we want to volunteer – whatever we are good at or wherever we want to gain experience in a particular skill. We have exposure to various aspects of the job. The skills we learn are transferable to other domains, such as marketing and/or technology.
2. You mentioned you worked on a variety of tasks. Is there one particular area you became more interested in?
Not really, as they all tend to overlap – research, business planning, technology and implementation.
3. What attracted you to Endeavour and your eventual decision to join as board member?
Endeavour presented itself as a microcosm of all the difficult tasks I was trying to solve but at the same time had a dramatic impact on clients’ issues.
I started off training the volunteers – which was an opportunity for me to share what I knew and also learn from other people. I was motivated and inspired by others who had similar thoughts and did similar actions as myself.
I was invited to join the board and since I enjoyed what I had done until that point, I knew I would also enjoy being on Endeavour’s board.
4. How do you complement the board of directors – essentially what kind of skills or viewpoints do you bring to Endeavour’s board?
I have to say that I am very impressed by the skills and experience of the other board members. People come from different organizations and have a lot of great skills.
My skills and viewpoints overlap with many others, such as the experience and familiarity of working in the non-profit sector and a great interest in constant improvement of other non-profits and of Endeavour itself. So, my general philosophy meshes well with that of Endeavour’s.