Thoughts on the search for RID CEO

Emory David Dively blogged about how the RID could build trust in the hiring process.

Nice thoughts but to be honest, after what happened last summer, I can’t think candidates are willing to put themselves in public view to be humiliated. The Board has not shown their ability to be professional or ask professional questions in interviews. I’m adding a few thoughts below.

  1. The hiring committee should be majority deaf. The RID board has a long history of being oppressive toward the deaf members of the RID board. There are many horror stories about microaggressions and marginalization by the hearing people on the RID board toward the deaf people who are outnumbered. Deaf individuals on the board have little power to push back.
  2. The RID board needs anti-bias training. They all need to work on their racism, sexism, heterosexism, audism, and ableism. And while on this: all board members should have professional conduct and anti bias training upon election. Many of them do not reflect well on our profession.
  3. The board needs a workshop (or a dozen of them) on what nonprofit leadership requires. HINT 1: For-profit business skills don’t translate to nonprofit operations. HINT 2: Data science and research skills are highly valuable and sought after traits for both non-profits and for-profits. Anti-intellectualism is not a good look. HINT 3: A good understanding of the issues confronting the organization/nonprofits/the field. HINT 4: Passion for Mission.

Speaking of Passion for Mission:

The RID is in rough shape. We all know that. Non-profit work is not sexy work. You have to do a lot with little money. Your object is not profit but outcomes and services. So your decisions and ability to obtain resources is not enabled by pursuing opportunities for profit. Your decisions and ability to obtain resources is governed by your mission.

Running nonprofits requires a lot of work and commitment while operating on limited resources. This requires heart. This requires a deep-seated commitment to the organization’s mission. This requires passion. This requires that you put aside ego in pursuit of a shared goal. This requires thick skin and the ability to withstand criticism. Nonprofits require a particular brand of leadership. It was clear from the beginning that Joey did not have this. If he had, he would have lasted more than 90 days.

So this means that the RID board really. did. not. know. what. they. were. doing.

Dazzled by neat business spreadsheets and a mediocre white man’s C.V., they were oblivious to a few important facts:

  1. Asking good questions about what drives this person to want to lead this organization that’s in bad shape.  Money or service?
  2. Can this person authentically reach across aisles to reconnect communities? How can a person who’s not of the interpreting world and barely of the deaf world make this connection?
  3. Because this is a nonprofit organization driven by service to mission, not profit, how important is it that the CEO understands the core of RID’s mission- that is, how well should the CEO know and understand the day-to-day work/experience of interpreters as well as the questions, challenges, issues, and future of the interpreting field?

I have more but time has run out today. The RID board needs more non-profit experts or consultants at least.

As for the next CEO of the RID- I would like to see Kelby Brick in the hot seat. But he has a great job now. Would he give up such a sweet gig? I’d be surprised if he does.


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