Update on Leap Futures Initiative and Leap Support Team
Email to: All Ambassadors on 3/17/2023
Subject: Message to Full Community: Update on LFI and Leap Support Team
From: Mario Morino
This is the first of two messages. This message provides updates on the current status of the Leap Futures Initiative (LFI) and the availability of the Leap support team (LST). If things progress as we hope, you’ll receive the second message, in the near future, that announces a partnership to continue the LAC, presents the transition timing and milestones, and provides for a contingency backup plan.
Thanks to the efforts of many, there appears to be a viable pathway for Leap Ambassadors Community (LAC) to continue.
On February 25, 2022, I wrote to the Leap Ambassadors Community (LAC) to announce the Leap Futures Initiative (LFI), an opportunity for you, the Leap Ambassadors, to determine and own the community’s future beyond 2023. Over the past year, the Monitor Institute by Deloitte (MIbD) has facilitated the LFI process, and the LFI Steering Committee (SteerCo) has worked diligently to define a path forward for the community to continue. On February 17, 2023, the SteerCo shared this letter and MIbD’s executive summary of the LFI process, including three possible scenarios—best case, intermediary warehousing, and asset sunset.
On February 1, MIbD passed the baton to ambassador Andrew Niklaus of Venture Leadership Collective, supported by ambassador Debra Natenshon, for a four-month engagement to lead SteerCo efforts to secure an anchor partner and funding, no later than May 31.
The SteerCo and MIbD initiated discussions with several potential candidate organizations. In late January, those discussions focused on one organization (identity is confidential at this point) as the top choice since it was well aligned to the community’s purpose and particularly suited to taking ownership of the community.
Meaningful discussions have progressed and are centered around the organization taking ownership of the community’s assets, keeping the website and YouTube channel publicly available, and housing the online forum by the May 31 deadline. Later in the year, the organization hopes to work with the LAC to achieve something close to the best-case scenario, which includes integrating the LAC into their organization and providing scaled-down support to operate the community (e.g., primarily facilitating the online forum), made possible by hiring at least one talented FTE or its equivalent. The addition of staff is contingent on receiving sufficient funding for three years. We hope the funders will keep their commitments until future plans are clear.
It’s important to note that, in any of the scenarios, staffing to support the LAC will be significantly scaled down from the LST today. But, because of you, I’m confident you will still find great value in the community.
At this time, Andrew is focused on the intermediary-warehousing scenario (i.e., with no staffing in support of the community). FWIW, the working definition of the warehousing opportunity is that the Morino Institute, acting on behalf of the LAC, would donate the LAC assets to an organization that agrees, for a period of three years, to:
- Make the LAC website and YouTube channels publicly available and provide platform maintenance with no content updates or additions.
- Administer the LAC Google Group to ensure ambassadors are able to use the online forum, as they do today, for interaction and sharing; content development and curations will be done by ambassadors. In conjunction with the organization, an LAC advisory group, comprised of volunteers, will provide strategic and operational oversight for the facilitation and moderation of the online forum. The LAC Advisory Group will be named by Venture Leadership Collective and SteerCo, in consultation with the organization.
- Hold the LAC branding, intellectual property rights, processes, and supporting content.
Again, in the second message, we hope to announce the organization that will partner with LAC and provide more specifics about the transition.
Leap Support Team Availability
Leap team members, past and present, have done yeoman’s work over the past 10 years as the community’s backbone. They have been loyal and committed to me, the community, and its members, especially over the past year. Since early 2022, all of them have known they would be looking for new opportunities, at or before the end of this year. The professionalism they show, while dealing with the stress caused by the ambiguity of what will happen to them personally, is indeed admirable. Over the past year, the economy was hit hard, we’ve seen significant changes in the world of work, and a possible 2023 recession looms. So I must prioritize our team members’ futures and support them in starting their career transitions, as early as June, knowing that some may find opportunities even sooner. Opportunity rarely knocks at exactly the right time. I hope all of you will be open to helping team members with advice, referrals, and opportunities as they seek places where they can continue to contribute and thrive.
My sincere thanks to all who contributed, in various ways, to finding a viable pathway to continue the LAC. I felt the LFI process was highly successful in engaging the community and establishing the SteerCo. And, it was affirming to see that the SteerCo’s recommendation to seek a partner as an organizational “home” and explore associated funding models was supported by a majority of the October 2022 survey respondents.
I’m deeply grateful to the many individuals who got us to this point. I especially want to acknowledge the SteerCo and MIbD for the dedication, commitment, and rigor they exhibited throughout the process. Special thanks to MIbD’s Dana O’Donovan for being my thought partner on this work since November 2019, and MIbD’s Rhonda Evans for her role in facilitating the LFI process. I’m grateful to Andrew and Debra for stepping up for this last phase.
Thanks to some great efforts from ambassadors Brad Dudding, Mari Kuraishi, and Kathy Reich, it appears that the Funding Working Group could secure an initial base amount for each of three years.
And I’m deeply grateful for the LST who have kept the community running, while providing information and advice to SteerCo and MIbD.
This has been a remarkable journey over the past 10 years. A community of leaders came together to share and learn from each other and created valuable resources to help organizations improve and deliver better results for the people or causes they serve. I hope you’re as proud as I am for what this community has become and achieved and your role in making it possible. Regardless of what lies ahead, the support team and I are thinking about ways to celebrate this incredible 10-year journey we’ve been on together and looking forward to you joining us in doing so.
Again, please know how grateful I am to all of you for these efforts.