Brian Philson, President & CEO of Highfields, Inc., is presented with the 2018 Federation Member Mentor of the Year award. Brian is known for his steadfast leadership in the field. His peers seek him out for guidance and advice. Brian imparts his deep knowledge and experience in a manner that others know they can trust. He is able to help others successfully navigate their environment when faced with ethical dilemmas or questions of how to respond to a situation at their agency. Brian does not tell others what to do; he simply offers paths to consider and mentors others as they make critical decisions. Brian invests his time and energy in supporting others in achieving their own success, shows an enthusiasm for the work of his colleagues across the state, and consistently shows up at the table with a positive thought, calm demeanor and a high-five.
Lenora Hardy-Foster, President & CEO of Judson Center, is presented with the 2018 Federation Member Leader in Child Welfare award for being an outstanding leader in the field. Lenora has testified in front of the Senate Oversight Committee, significantly contributing to passage of the “state pays first” legislation that will positively impact service provision and financial stability for private agencies throughout the state. Lenora’s staff have expressed to Federation staff on several different occasions how she has helped to challenge and encourage them to grow in their own leadership skills in a nurturing environment. Lenora is both humble when she speaks, and demonstrates support and enthusiasm for everyone’s work, driving her peers to take action that is reflective of what is right for kids and families through our collective work. The Federation staff deeply appreciates the many contributions Lenora brings to the nonprofit network throughout the year.
Dave Gehm, President & CEO of Wellspring Lutheran Services, is presented with the 2018 Federation Member Ambassador of the Year award for his resolute participation in Federation committees and work groups in order to strengthen and advance the quality services provided by private, nonprofit agencies. At a legislative breakfast event, Dave was instrumental in helping to lay a solid foundation for the discussions that took place regarding the need to enhance and expand family preservation services in our state, driving the commitment to make strong families a legislative priority. Dave had meaningful conversations with his elected officials at Annual Legislative Day about the quality services nonprofit agencies bring to the array of services in our state. Dave personifies how a Federation member can raise the bar for discussion at any meeting he attends with thought-provoking questions and ideas, by demonstrating highly effective leadership, and encouraging others in the room to think more globally about how systems change is possible.
Katie Page Sander, Executive Director of Hands Across the Water, is presented with the 2018 Federation Member Advocate of the Year award in recognition of her consistent involvement in the Federation’s advocacy efforts. Katie responds to every call to action developed by the Federation, and has several times been the first person to respond to action alerts requiring communication with her elected officials. Katie has served on contract workgroups, helped to identify priority areas for budget and policy change, and attends many meetings of the Federation, always asking stimulating questions of department partners in order to better serve kids and families at her agency. Katie attended the Federation’s Annual Legislative and Advocacy Day in order to meet in-person with her representative and senator. While serving as a skilled advocate for her agency, it is also evident that Katie values the collective voice of the Federation membership and is willing to take action to ensure agencies are equipped with the best resources to serve kids and families.