Coaching strengthens leadership; sharpens mission focus

As Executive Director of Southeast Ministry, Valarie Ashley often felt overworked and under supported. When Fair Chance stepped in to work with her and her organization, she received the direct and indirect supports she needed to make Southeast Ministry more capable of fulfilling its mission of providing education and employment services to approximately 700 low-income individuals. According to Valarie, an invaluable piece of her partnership with Fair Chance was the coaching she received. Valarie learned that what she was going through was not uncommon and she received the resources she needed to become a better leader, including introductions to other executive directors who she could talk with and learn from. “Talking about my challenges, and learning the tools to deal with them, allowed me to start feeling like a leader – like someone who was competent at my job and worthy of being at the table. As a result, I became more comfortable with my ability and my authority to make decisions, which enabled me to keep the trains moving at my organization at a much better rate.”

With a better, stronger leader, Valarie’s organization is able to do more to improve the lives of its clients and to meet its goal of breaking generational poverty and illiteracy.” The results speak for themselves – post partnership, Southeast Ministry increased their youth served by 53% and boosted revenue by 62%. As a result of what I learned from Fair Chance,” Valarie said, “I have been able to delegate a lot more which has empowered my staff and, as a result, I hear our success stories a lot more, which makes them want to have more success stories to tell.”

People often say being an executive director is a lonely job – it’s cliché because it’s true. Through the coaching I received as part of the capacity building, I got validation for what was normal, prepared for what could be expected, and support for what needed to be done.
Valarie Ashley, Executive Director, Southeast Ministry