MOPS and leadership development on the mommy track

The folks over at the Bidgespan Group tell us that nonprofits will need to hire 640,000 new senior executives by 2016.  Having recently wrapped up two lengthy quests for organizational leaders — one as counsel and the other as board chair — the idea of all those searches is enough to make my head spin.

Finding candidates who are willing and able to lead has never been tougher. Throw in the expectation of a faith commitment, and the funnel of qualified candidates narrows considerably. Add gender and ethnicity to the mix, and the funnel becomes a straw.

It’s urgent that those of us who can, take action to pump up the prospect pipeline.

That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to serve as chair of the board for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International, a ministry organization that lists developing the leadership potential of young moms as a priority. Our first goal is to bring mothers of preschoolers one step closer to Jesus with every MOPS meeting they attend. Coming in at a close second is our commitment to help MOPS members grow as women of influence in their churches, communities, and the world.

At MOPS, we seek to “graduate” women who are willing and able to one day fill some of the 640,000 empty seats identified by the Bridgespan study — including (or most especially so) leadership slots within faith-based organizations. That young mom’s ascension to the room at the top may be a few years down the road, but we’re giving her opportunities to hone her skills and test her mettle in the present. MOPS is a champion of leadership development via the mommy track.

In the Winter 2012 issue of MomSense magazine, Interim CEO Shelly Radic paints a gorgeous picture of the kind of leaders MOPS seeks to develop. Her words, while aimed at women of a certain age and season of life, are apropos for all who aspire to great things in God’s name. Shelly writes:

Leaders lead by faith — faith in God’s plan, purpose, pace, and presence. They trust God’s kingdom plan and God’s purpose for their lives. Sometimes hardest of all is trusting God’s pace, understanding that God doesn’t view two years of prayer as too long and is never bound by our personal calendars. Leading by faith includes trusting in God’s presence even when we can’t see God at work — bringing together people, resources, and circumstances — everything that’s necessary for God’s will to be done.

Imagine the world with 640,000 such leaders. Then stop by a near-by MOPS meeting and look around. You’ll see a lot of those leaders in the making.


  1. That’s an interesting slant. I’ve got to think about it some. The MOPS group I attended presented it more as a Titus 2:4-5 type thing.

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