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Leadership Development for Maine
Non Profit Directors and Boards

Paddling The RapidsOur business name, Paddling the Rapids, refers to the environment that raises crucial questions facing executive directors and boards: How can we stay in the boat with others, paddle in the same direction, read the waters (Is that a rock or a good place to paddle toward?), get back on track, and navigate a course through the inevitable rapids? This is a journey of many dimensions. Our practice attends to the challenges and joys inherent in the ‘white water’.



  • For Executive Directors

    Paddling the Rapids forums, coaching, retreats and workshops facilitate leaders consulting with their peers, while sharing experiences, wisdom, and resources in confidential settings. In our leadership forums, each participant brings a current leadership challenge to the group in the form of a case study. The facilitated peer consultation yields insights that benefit every participant.

    Other consultations, workshops, trainings and retreats can be contracted with individuals, designed specifically, and offered within organizations or regionally. Check our upcoming events link regularly for offerings.

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  • For Board Members

    Devotion to the mission and personal experience is often the motivator for serving on a board. How can board members develop a deeper understanding of their responsibilities and learn how to effectively and collectively carry them out?

    Paddling the Rapids board development tailors capacity building to each board, enabling members to partner with their executive director to become effective allies, stewards and ambassadors for the organization.

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 “As an Executive Director we spend our days in reflective guidance and supporting self-care for those we serve, our valued staff and Board Members in the communities we work in.  It was after my Board wisely suggested I establish a “personal board of support” that I contacted Deb Burwell. Little did I know what a treasure “paddling the rapids” monthly group would mean to me.  I have just enrolled for session three that I know will assist in guiding me through rough waters, develop my leadership growth, support agency and board operation and  validate me personally. Though a diverse group in agency missions and work this has been monthly commitment I look forward to and find incredibly valuable to my role and practice. I wholeheartedly recommend this group. Thanks Deb and Carol for your experienced and individualized facilitation.”

~ Kate Quinn Finlay, Executive Director, Broadreach, Belfast

“Paddling the Rapids was valuable in ways I didn’t envision when I signed up.  It helped me understand leadership and helped me identify and become the type of leader and partner I wanted to be, and could be.  The mentoring was a powerful and transformative experience, which I continue to learn from.  I have tremendous respect for the collective knowledge of Carol and Deb, and their ability to share that knowledge to benefit Maine’s non-profit community.”

~ Marla O’Byrne
Senior Vice President, Maine Farmland Trust
Former President & CEO, Friends of Acadia

Next: Managing Transitions >