In Episode 84 of the Charity Charge Show, Stephen talks to Janet Torres, CEO of Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, whose mission is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through holistic literacy services. Stephen and Janet talk about the importance of connecting with staff members while working remotely and why radical vulnerability is a key leadership skill.
Janet Torres works as Chief Executive Officer at The Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary. Janet is a proven leader with an outstanding track record of public service, business and programmatic acumen, and the ability to bring people together. With over 20 years of public service as a legislative attorney, policy advisor, she has held various senior management positions in government/community engagement with global nonprofits such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, The New York Botanical Garden, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and most recently as Executive Director of The Kindness Campaign. Torres holds a B.A. in Political Science, Economics and Public Administration from Fordham University, and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.
Janet Torres on why vulnerability is an important leadership skill:
I find that as a leader, I think you’re always tempted to say, “I’m fine, everything’s great.” To give this outward impression of strength and that you know what you’re doing. Even though sometimes you’re really thinking, “I’m terrified. I don’t know if I’m making the right decision or I’m just going to make a decision because I’m going to have to make a decision.” What I think is important when talking about self care and burnout is that I’ve started practicing radical vulnerability with my board and my team, where it’s okay for me to say, “You know what, I’m feeling burnt out.” or “You know what? I may not have all the answers and I get scared too sometimes.” That’s been a game changer for us. It’s scary to do because sometimes I think leaders may be afraid to be vulnerable since they’re thinking that doing so will end with people respecting them less because they admit they don’t have all the answers. I disagree with that. I’ve found that radical vulnerability as a leadership skill has actually benefited me and has humanized me to my staff and my board members; which then allows me to empathize and work with them more closely because they’re open to being vulnerable in return.
Interested in listening to the full episode and hearing more from other nonprofits? Check out more episodes here Charity Charge Show