Not so long ago, I was asked to join a group I call the “Super Secret Executive Director Society.”
It’s not really super secret. Lots of people know about it.
But the group is invitation only, which seems rather silly and unnecessarily exclusive to me even now that I’ve been invited to join. Thus the nickname.
Each meeting we focus on a topic facing non-profit executive directors and have a discussion, led by two trained facilitators / experts.
The last meeting was about succession planning.
I didn’t think much about it until I got the reminder email which included a few readings for us.
The title of the first one sounded familiar. As did the name of the second article.
Then I realized that I had read both of them when writing my master’s thesis which was on sudden changes in leadership in arts non profits.
I was rather shocked that I remembered the two articles. Sure, I read a lot about emergency leadership transition when writing the paper, but it was four years ago and I have very poor reading retention.
I read something and half the time don’t remember the details just a few weeks later. And that’s a novel. Dry nonfiction disappears from my mind even more quickly.
So I was pleased that something stuck.
Then in the group discussion I realized that it’s more than those two articles that stuck with me. I still felt rather passionate about the topic. And could still argue my points.
I even remembered reading books and articles referenced by the facilitators.
I made it through the whole meeting without telling everyone about my thesis, which I think would have come across as braggy, but it felt good to have that knowledge base behind me so I could participate fully and confidently in the conversation.
I always assumed that the process of writing a thesis (which was traumatic at times) would stay with me much longer than the learnings and expertise did. But apparently you can’t put an eighty page paper behind you that easily.