Why Contract with an Outsider?

Sandra Shirk McNeely
Sandra Shirk McNeely

Abbey Group vice-president, Sandra Shirk McNeely, has been busy this spring. Because of her special expertise working with boards and executives, many organizations want to pick her brain to see if there is anything they can do to improve.

Without unity among leaders, the mission of an organization will flounder. Sandra gives organizations a perspective they won’t find on the inside. Board members and executives can be blinded by the status quo. They may have personal agendas. If there’s disagreement among board members, Sandra sees all sides and employs processes that move toward true consensus.

Sandra’s opinion was featured in the January/February 2007 BoardSource, a national publication for board members who face difficult decisions. The article, “Sacred Cows,” dealt with how to cut internally popular, but ineffective, programs.

Sandra is also conducting a development audit for St. Francis Mission, a Jesuit ministry to the Lakota Indians in South Dakota. At American Bin and Conveyor she worked with shareholders to create a succession plan. At Empire Level she helped executives do strategic planning. At Working Against Violence, Inc. she is helping define board and committee level responsibilities so that all work supports the strategic plan.

Abbey Group Director, Douglas Leonard, Ph.D., says that most of what Abbey Group does is to provide outside counsel to support development of nonprofit organizations. “Every feasibility study, every campaign plan, and every report of results requires an outsider’s objectivity combined with an insider’s expertise,” says Leonard.

When you suspect your organization may need an outsider’s objectivity combined with an insider’s expertise, consider calling the Abbey Group—always professional, always discreet.


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