Two Reasons I’m Looking Forward to 2017

By Dan Cardinali

For months we’ve been crafting a new “way of proceeding” at Independent Sector – more flexible, more responsive, and more collaborative. If 2016 was all about planning, 2017 will be all about the implementation, and that’s tremendously exciting for me personally.

I think our members will begin to see the difference immediately. Two areas to watch in particular:

First, IS will continue to be 100% focused on public policy, but you’ll notice a more public and proactive stance, with many more opportunities for members to activate their own networks. We will still be a vital voice in the marble halls of Washington, but we’ll also find new ways to help lift up your voice, both locally and nationally.

We actually have a major effort launching in just a few weeks, so please stay tuned.

Secondly, we are reimagining with our membership what it means to be a vital meeting ground in the 21st century — an up-to-the-minute iteration of John Gardner’s founding vision for IS. The best possible example of that will be our 2017 conference in Detroit. I think you’ll find it’s completely different from anything we’ve done before, and you won’t want to miss it.

But our new way of proceeding isn’t just for “tent pole” events like conference. Our entire team in Washington is building new muscles for listening, collaboration and responsiveness. Every single day we have flexible, cross-functional teams coming together to brainstorm better ways of serving and advancing the sector.

I’ll close with just one example: On Dec. 15, our day began with an all-staff meeting where we used human-centered design principles to push ahead with the “Dear Washington” project that launched with about 800 conference attendees. As we analyzed and synthesized the best thinking from all across the sector, I believe we had a real “a-ha!” moment: This is what it means to lift up an authentic voice based on deep listening and engagement.


Again, we’ll have more to share in the coming weeks and many more opportunities to get involved. For now, thank you for being a part of this. We couldn’t do it without you.

Dan Cardinali is the president and CEO of Independent Sector. 

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Global Topics: Administration, Congress, IS Member, IS Staff, Public Policy, Upswell