Being a Leader in a Time of Uncertainty: Interview with Betsy Chapin Taylor
When AHP reached out to Betsy Chapin Taylor, FAHP, to participate in Convene AHP, the request was about doing something different––something to speak directly to the challenges philanthropy leaders are facing.
That helped her determine what to say during her session, what leaders need to hear during this difficult time: leaders need to be resilient, resourceful, and successful in this changed world.
During her session, “Breakthrough Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty,” Betsy hopes to give attendees encouragement, accompanied by practical steps they can implement right away, and more things to reflect upon as we navigate these new waters.
“This is not a moment in time where we have the liberty to hit the pause button, abandon our courage, or to wait,” Betsy says. “Part of what has concerned me over the last few weeks is that I continue to talk to colleagues who are exceptional in their field yet are paralyzed and discouraged. Their budgets are now gone. They have to figure out how to continue building relationships with people over a computer rather than knee-to-knee. They have to rethink how to move forward.”
Actionable and Practical
Betsy is going to give attendees some action items they can do right away to help them break through paralysis or discouragement.
“There are a lot of things we have to step up and do right now,” she says. “For example, some professionals are struggling with indecisiveness on whether they should cancel an upcoming event or not. My advice is if you have an event scheduled before October 1st, you have to cancel it now. Many of your attendees won’t be traveling, and you won’t get enough to cover the costs of hosting the event.”
Another piece of advice: when it comes to pivoting from an existing strategic plan, Betsy says all we need now is to look at them with a new lens.
“In my mind, this is an opportunity,” she says. “There are many things we’ve been doing that maybe we shouldn’t have, such as things that didn’t drive engagement. So while we’re facing furloughs, layoffs, and budget cuts, it’s time to lean in hard to the things that are important for our organizations. Then look at the resources we have, opportunities we have, and realign them with our new reality.”
Encouraging and Inspiring
While we may have some actionable takeaways, it’s still a very difficult time for our organizations, which can easily make us feel hopeless. To answer this, Betsy says healthcare philanthropy professionals already have the two things they need to keep going: the professional experience they already have, and a calling for the job.
“I am going to call upon the great skills they had before,” Betsy says. “More than that, I am going to call them to dig deep into their commitment into this work, the purpose for the impact they make, and take them back to the core of what brought them here in the first place.”
“People get into healthcare philanthropy because they want to touch lives, to step up and serve people in ways they haven’t before,” she continues. “Our world now is discouraging. There’s incredible sadness with the loss of life, and changes in lifestyle. But there’s hope in that we’re uniquely positioned to serve the people we have right now. It’s imperative for us to be our best and deliver our best.”
The Case for Convene AHP
Despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders, Betsy insists that a virtual conference can still bring those two things to our healthcare philanthropy professionals.
“I recognize there are people who have never experienced a virtual conference before,” she says. “However, we need to assemble, and lean on each other, and be encouraged by one another. If there was ever a time to gather with friends, this is it.”
Learn more about Betsy’s session and the other sessions we’re offering at
Convene AHP on June 9-11, 2020 by visiting the conference website. We hope you’ll join us there!