NAO’s 2012 Annual Meeting was a lively gathering in a beautiful vineyard setting at the Eola Viticulture Center in Salem. Ninety-five members, sponsors, and guests joined us on October 12 to celebrate NAO’s achievements of the past year and to highlight our strategic direction for 2013.

Our new Executive Director Jim White opened the meeting by sharing his global perspective about the work of nonprofits. Prior to joining NAO, Jim’s work with Mercy Corps included on-the-ground international relief efforts in countries where the work of organizations like NAO is outlawed. Jim’s comments focused on how privileged we are to live in a civil society where nonprofits can not only do their good works, but where they can convene and advocate for their constituents, for themselves, and for the sector itself. NAO seeks to support each nonprofit in accomplishing these activities and to give voice to the sector.

Board Committee Chairs presented the business agenda and introduced the new Board of Directors.

Two prominent Oregon leaders inspired the audience with thought- provoking and motivational presentations. Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler reinforced the impact of the nonprofit sector stressing that nonprofits provide essential services neither the public sector nor the private sector can provide. All three sectors must work together to make Oregon a strong, vibrant place to live. Treasurer Wheeler introduced keynote speaker Nichole Maher, newly appointed President and CEO of the Northwest Health Foundation.

Nichole described the challenges and successes of creating opportunity for young and emerging leaders at NAYA—an organization that grew from a staff of five and a budget of $200,000 to over 100 employees and a $10 million annual budget under her tenure. Table discussions allowed attendees to share ideas about what their organizations are doing, or could do, to encourage more diverse involvement and facilitate emerging leadership. We gained valuable insight that will help our organizations become more inclusive and able to support, mentor, and coach individuals into leadership positions.

The nonprofit sector is fortunate that exceptional individuals like Ted and Nichole have committed themselves to the sector. With their guidance, the sector should flourish.

View photos from the October 12, 2012 Annual Meeting.

We thank our Annual Meeting sponsors for underwriting our event: Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, Miller Nash LLP, The Standard, and John Gear Law Office, LLC. Special thanks to Whitney Lyons Photography, Portland Center for the Media Arts, and Grand Avenue Floral.