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SpeakOUT (Public Education Services Inc. DBA Speakout)

 PO Box 301223
 Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
[P] (877) 223-9390
[F] --
www.speakoutboston.org
[email protected]
Ellyn Ruthstrom
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INCORPORATED: 1972
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2679788

LAST UPDATED: 09/12/2018
Organization DBA SpeakOUT Boston
Former Names The Gay and Lesbian Speakers Bureau (1972)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

SpeakOUT is a community of speakers that works to promote a world free from homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of our lives. 

Mission Statement

SpeakOUT is a community of speakers that works to promote a world free from homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of our lives. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $59,100.00
Projected Expense $70,020.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Speaker Engagements
  • Speaker Trainings

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

SpeakOUT is a community of speakers that works to promote a world free from homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of our lives. 

Background Statement

In February of 1972, one year after the first Boston Pride celebration, the Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian organization and the Homophile Union of Boston, consisting primarily of gay men, jointly formed the Gay Speakers Bureau of Boston. In 1984, the organization received its 501c3 status from the IRS, under the official name of Public Education Services, Inc. The title of the organization changed as the community became more inclusive, and has been SpeakOUT Boston since the mid-1990s. From the beginning, our purpose has been to educate people about what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in our society by sharing our personal stories with people who want to know more about our lives, thus forging connections between our speakers and our primarily heterosexual audiences.

Today, SpeakOUT sees itself as a community that works to promote a world free from homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of our lives. To fulfill this mission, we conduct two major trainings a year to prepare LGBTQIA people to tell their personal stories and engage a variety of audiences in honest dialogue. In keeping with our motto “Ask Us Anything,” we invite questions that may challenge harmful stereotypes and misconceptions. We speak in middle school and high school health classes, social work and diversity college courses, religious classes, trainings for suicide counselors and mental health practitioners, corporate business settings, and many other venues. The majority of our speaking engagements are within the 495 loop of Greater Boston, however about 15-20% of our work includes Massachusetts community beyond the loop and other New England states.

Our speaker trainings include public speaking techniques, but we also highlight building an effective and moving personal story. We believe everyone has a story that needs to be told and we want to help each individual find the best way to tell that story to engage their audiences in meaningful discussions. Sharing a space with a roomful of LGBTQIA people and hearing each other’s stories is extremely moving and inspirational. Our roots run deep within the Boston community and we’ve trained several generations of speakers who have gone on to contribute to the local community beyond our organization as political and business leaders, nonprofit professionals, community educators, and more.


Impact Statement

2015: Increased the number of community engagements by 25%. Increased the size of board of directors from five to nine members. Increased individual donations by 30%.
2016: Finalize our Three-Year Strategic Plan. Increase our engagement income by 25%. Increase our individual and major donor program by 35%. Increase number of active speakers by 20%.

Needs Statement

 

With only our Executive Director as paid staff, the capacity of the organization is limited by the amount she can manage on her own. We would like to raise the resources to be able to hire a part-time administrative support person. This would take some of the mundane day-to-day responsibilities off the ED plate and allow her to focus on fundraising and program development. ($18,000)

Part of our strength as an organization is to be able to represent the LGBTQ community in its many different intersections. We would like to enhance our outreach to communities of color, the transgender community, and younger speakers. We would like to provide scholarships, and payment for transportation and food expenses to make it easier for more members to participate in our speaking engagements. ($5,000)

As part of recognizing the important work that SpeakOUT has done in the Boston LGBTQ community, we would like to raise the resources to digitize the library of videotapes of SpeakOUT TV, a weekly call-in program that we produced on the Boston cable access station from 1993-2007. Each week we featured interviews, performances, dialogues about important topics, and a Q&A with viewers. The digitization project will allow us to access and share this important LGBTQ history. ($5,000)

CEO Statement

SpeakOUT speakers tell their personal stories about being LGBTQIA to a variety of audiences and foster engaging dialogue by answering challenging questions to open minds and change attitudes. Describing this is so simplistic, people talking about their own lives. Yet, for almost 45 years this sharing of personal experiences and insights has helped to create the kind of community education that we know has affected profound positive change within Massachusetts for LGBTQIA people.

We see the impact of our work as three-pronged. Our stories are shared in very personal ways that can educate audiences about LGBTQIA people’s experiences, in particular straight audience members. However, we also see our work as speaking very strongly to LGBTQIA audience members, whether they are out or not in that setting. By modeling our own strength and outness in our storytelling we know we offer LGBTQIA people an opportunity to have our community’s perspective represented in their own environments. And thirdly, our speakers benefit from the experience of speaking their stories and engaging with their audiences. A key reason many of our speakers get involved is because they did not feel supported in their younger lives and they want to be role models for others. That desire is often rewarded when students or other audience members stay afterwards to thank them or come out to them or share something personal about themselves.

We’ve had high school students who have seen SpeakOUT in their schools come to our trainings and become speakers themselves. We have LGBTQIA elders who experienced severe discrimination and stress in their earlier lives and can speak authentically about the dramatic societal changes that have happened in the last four or five decades. We have transgender and genderqueer speakers who share their struggles with having their gender identities acknowledged and validated. And we have bisexual speakers share their experiences that shatter the binary of sexual orientation. Our speakers share from their hearts and sincerely want to make a connection with their audiences; a connection that can truly be transformational.


Board Chair Statement

In mid-2014, I joined the board of SpeakOUT Boston and took on the role of board chair later that year. My inspiration to join SpeakOUT came from a very personal need of mine as an out bisexual man to use my background in non-profits and communications to contribute to a long-standing LGBTQ organization in the Boston area. SpeakOUT was at an important crossroads when I joined. Having the generosity of a founder’s bequest at its disposal, the organization was preparing to ramp up its services and outreach within the community once again and our energies were focused on creating a sustainable plan. I felt my skills, along with those of the board members already engaged, would work well towards re-growing the organization.

In the three years I’ve been involved, we have increased the size and experience of our board of directors to 8 current members. The board’s approach to active fundraising has been an important component of enhancing its effectiveness and we will continue to cultivate that spirit as we look for additional members to join us. We are focusing on recruiting people of color right now as we only have one current person of color on the board. We would like to have 9-11 members by the end of 2017.

In 2016, when we had grown to a board of 9 members, we drafted our strategic plan for the following three years and that has helped us to grow the organization in many different directions. Our active speaker membership has grown and the number of engagements has increased by 25% each of the last two years. We held our first Member Appreciation Day this year to thank our volunteers and help foster a stronger sense of community. We have also been able to increase our fundraising and grant success, which was basically non-existent in 2014. We have instituted an annual SpeakOUT Day during Pride Month to encourage our membership to give a mid-year gift. And our board members exceeded their donation goals for two years in a row.

We have rebuilt a strong volunteer base and board; however, I see a longer-term challenge as building a wider donor base and finding larger donors who are inspired by our work. We are working on this with expanding our relationships within the community and encouraging our board members to connect with individuals and other organizations that have similar missions and goals. As mentioned, another challenge is recruiting people of color to our board and into our speaker pool. We are building relationships with LGBTQ organizations that serve people of color and offering scholarships for POC to attend our trainings.

I am also active with SpeakOUT as a speaker and that role is what truly keeps me coming back to the board of directors’ meetings even more inspired to sustain this valuable organization. I have had many rewarding experiences in schools, faith communities, and businesses and each time I realize how powerful these personal connections are to opening people’s minds and creating safer spaces for LGBTQ people to live out and proud lives.


Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
SpeakOUT serves the New England area, with about 80% of its clients within the 128 region.

Organization Categories

  1. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy - Lesbian/Gay Rights
  2. Education - Elementary & Secondary Schools
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Speaker Engagements

SpeakOUT provides trained LGBTQ speakers for a variety of speaking engagements: schools, colleges, businesses, communities of faith, organizations and more. Typically, our format is to have two speakers share their personal stories and then they open up a dialogue with the audience to answer any questions they may have. Our motto is "Ask Us Anything" and we encourage our audiences to ask the things they've always wanted to know. We sometimes provide larger panels and we can tailor an engagement to zero in on specific topics and concerns. 
Budget  $35,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Adults College Aged (18-26 years)
Program Short-Term Success  We have been increasing the number of our engagements over the last three years and in 2016 we conducted 124, reaching an estimated 6,000 participants. We'd like to see a more modest increase in the next two years as we grow the active speakers to accommodate the added engagements. As indicated, it is through our clients that we understand the impact we are having and believe that if they continue to solicit our services there is still a need within their environments. We will also monitor the success through the survey feedback we receive. 
Program Long-Term Success  We believe that our clients are the best judge of the success of our program as they are using our services to create safer spaces for LGBTQ people in their own environments. We have a large percentage of return business, especially with our school clients, so we see that as the highest indicator of our success. The school clients report to us that their students get a lot out of the dialogues and often say it's the best part of their health class curriculum. Along with anecdotal feedback that we get from our clients, we do surveys of our attendees throughout the year, especially for new clients so that we can see if we are fulfilling their needs. 
Program Success Monitored By  We track our client feedback by contacting each of them after our engagements. Their feedback can help us determine the effectiveness of individual speakers as well as ensure that we are providing the discussion topics that they are looking for. Our speakers also are asked for feedback so that their observations can also make a difference for future visits. 
Examples of Program Success 

We will let the voices of our clients speak for us: "It has been a great experience for my students every year. The service is reliable and professional, and it brings new perspectives to our community." "SpeakOUT engagements help bring to life what real LGBT people are like. For students who typically form their impressions based on sound-bytes, movies, and TV shows, this is an invaluable educational experience." Also, from a recent engagement with an organization the deals with suicidal callers, one of the trainees said they took away an understanding of "the pain that comes from hiding your true self." Those are the insights that we feel our work accomplishes. As mentioned, in 2016 we reached about 6000 participants and we are on track to exceed that this year. In 2016, we spoke at a library in central Massachusetts and since then we have been receiving many calls from around the state and beyond to send speakers to libraries. Effective programs get noticed and word-of-mouth helps. 


Speaker Trainings

We hold two major speaker trainings in the Boston area per year to prepare LGBTQ speakers and allies to tell their personal stories and to foster a dialogue with our audiences in a variety of venues. We can also offer tailored speaker trainings for individual groups to concentrate on their storytelling abilities. 
Budget  $7,500.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgendered General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Currently, we would like to see more people of color and transgender and non-binary people go through our trainings so that our active speakers will be more diverse. We want to be able to serve communities of color better with more speakers of color available for engagements. We would like to have at least 25% of incoming speakers be people of color, preferably more. The demand for transgender speakers has increased tremendously in the last two years and we want to have many more trans speakers available for this important educational work. We would like to have transgender and non-binary people make up at least 30% of our new speakers. 
Program Long-Term Success  We seek to train approximately 40-60 people per year in the Boston area, and we would like to see at least 50% of those trainees become active speakers. Our growth of trained speakers helps us to conduct more speaking engagements and reach more audiences so we try to have a diverse pool of speakers available at all times. Often the new speakers themselves open up new clients for our work as they may work and have involvement with other sectors of the community that need our services. 
Program Success Monitored By  We track the demographics of our trainings and we track what percentage of our trainees go on to become active speakers. 
Examples of Program Success  For the spring 2017 speaker training we had 22 trainees attend. Of those, 6 were people of color and 7 were transgender/non-binary. These numbers were pretty strong and we hope to continue that success in the fall 2017 class. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms Ellyn Ruthstrom
CEO Term Start May 2014
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Ellyn Ruthstrom has been Executive Director with SpeakOUT since 2014. Previous to joining SpeakOUT, Ellyn was the board president for ten years of the Bisexual Resource Center as well as the Administrative Director for the BRC for three years. She's had a long career within the non-profit world which includes being Editor-in-Chief at Teen Voices magazine, Program Manager for the Hood Children's Literacy Project at Lesley University, and several other editorial positions for non-profit publications and organizations. Ellyn was a member of the Massachusetts Commission for LGBT Youth for two years and she is currently a member of the Human Rights Commission of Melrose, where she has lived for the past four years. 
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The work that SpeakOUT does in the community is such personal work. Our volunteer speakers stand up and share their deeply personal stories of self-discovery, coming out, dealing with fear and violence, coming to terms with change and transitioning, and often loss and rejection. They share of themselves because they know that personal connections can open up ways for others to change their minds, to learn important lessons, and to create safer spaces for LGBTQ people to live openly within. We strive to challenge the prejudice against our community each time we speak out.
As a 45-year organization that has seen tremendous change of attitudes within our state, country, and beyond, the need for our services is still very apparent. My challenge when I first came on as Executive Director in mid-2014, was to reboot a longstanding organization that had a wonderful mission but had gone stagnant due to lack of volunteer power and financial stability. Bringing on talented and passionate board members has helped to rebuild an infrastructure that can now support fundraising, event planning, program development and other important functions.
As a one-person staff, balancing all of my various responsibilities is a huge challenge and we are hoping to create the financial stability that will allow me to hire a part-time administrative support to free up my time for more program development, fundraising, community outreach and other management roles. We are headed in a positive direction. Our engagements have increased by 25% each of the last two years and the income has also increased by 50% each of those two years (not including the bequest income in 2015). Our volunteer crew in invested in our work and we bring on new inspiring speakers twice a year.
At this crucial political moment, many LGBTQ people are looking for ways to make a personal difference and they are attracted to the immediacy and personal connection of our work. It's what draws people to us and what keeps some of our speakers fulfilling engagements for ten, fifteen, and some, for twenty years. That inspires me on a daily basis!

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 60
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 1
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Mr Michael Bookman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Paychex North America
Board Chair Term July 2018 - 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Michael Bookman PayChex North America Voting
Michele Conklin Suffolk University Voting
Meg Duberek Education Resource Strategies Voting
Jessica Fick Education Resource Strategies Voting
George Grattan Bentley University Voting
Jennifer Guneratne Boston University Voting
Jackie Pomposelli Reebok Voting
Alley Stoughton Self-employed Voting
Robert Symanski Town of Brookline Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 1
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 6
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 71%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 50%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The work that SpeakOUT does in the community is such personal work. Our volunteer speakers stand up and share their deeply personal stories of self-discovery, coming out, dealing with fear and violence, coming to terms with change and transitioning, and often loss and rejection. They share of themselves because they know that personal connections can open up ways for others to change their minds, to learn important lessons, and to create safer spaces for LGBTQ people to live openly within. We strive to challenge the prejudice against our community each time we speak out.

As a 45-year organization that has seen tremendous change of attitudes within our state, country, and beyond, the need for our services is still very apparent. My challenge when I first came on as Executive Director in mid-2014, was to reboot a longstanding organization that had a wonderful mission but had gone stagnant due to lack of volunteer power and financial stability. Bringing on talented and passionate board members has helped to rebuild an infrastructure that can now support fundraising, event planning, program development and other important functions.

As a one-person staff, balancing all of my various responsibilities is a huge challenge and we are hoping to create the financial stability that will allow me to hire a part-time administrative support to free up my time for more program development, fundraising, community outreach and other management roles. We are headed in a positive direction. Our engagements have increased by 25% each of the last two years and the income has also increased by 50% each of those two years (not including the bequest income in 2015). Our volunteer crew in invested in our work and we bring on new inspiring speakers twice a year.

At this crucial political moment, many LGBTQ people are looking for ways to make a personal difference and they are attracted to the immediacy and personal connection of our work. It's what draws people to us and what keeps some of our speakers fulfilling engagements for ten, fifteen, and some, for twenty years. That inspires me on a daily basis!

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $59,100.00
Projected Expense $70,020.00
Form 990s

2017 990EZ

2016 990

2015 990

2014 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $41,488 $29,942 $69,360
Total Expenses $64,890 $63,197 $41,564

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- $4,000 $6,000
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $25,703 $6,563 $53,810
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $14,400 $18,050 $9,090
Investment Income, Net of Losses $418 $19 $10
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $959 $666 $450
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $8 $644 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $1,711 $2,789 $12,201
Administration Expense $63,179 $59,148 $18,053
Fundraising Expense -- $1,260 $11,310
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.64 0.47 1.67
Program Expense/Total Expenses 3% 4% 29%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 11% 19%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $76,894 $100,386 $133,842
Current Assets $76,894 $100,386 $133,842
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $76,894 $100,386 $133,842

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 12.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

When I came on as Executive Director in 2014 (first as part-time, then in 2015 full-time), the fundraising structure of the organization had stagnated; there was no grant writing going on and no major donor cultivation. Also, because the part-time staff was sporadic, some of the fee-for-services were not being paid. With the founder's bequest we received in 2014 and 2015, we have been able to use the reserve to offset the deficits for the last three years, which each year is shrinking. 

Since that time the board and I created a strategic plan that has been a template for our growth of fundraising, program and volunteer development, and organizational stability. Having an ED in place to look at the big picture of the organization and to have a consistent work plan has rebooted the organization. We feel optimistic about our current path and by attracting more foundation and major donor support, we feel that we can achieve a budget surplus in 2018.

As a one-person staff, balancing all of my various responsibilities is a huge challenge and we are hoping to create the financial stability that will allow me to hire a part-time administrative support to free up my time for more program development, fundraising, community outreach and other management roles. Our numbers are strong. Our engagements have increased by 25% each of the last two years and the income has also increased by 50% each of those two years (not including the bequest income in 2015).

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

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4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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