Committing to Our Core Values

By Sandi Hansen

“If we can get to the place where we show up as our genuine selves, and let each other see who we really are, the awe-inspiring ripple effect will change the world.” -Terrie M. Williams

I learned from a very young age that I was terrible at being anyone other than myself. As I grew and developed, I found freedom in truly being authentically me in all situations. After spending almost two decades in my line of work of major giving, I’ve realized that my main core value of authenticity has been behind the scenes – guiding my actions, decisions and ultimately my success.

Understanding and articulating my personal core values has led me to a more purpose-driven life. What do I mean when I say, “core values”? Core values are a simple way for me to think about my code of behavior – a personal set of standards that allow me to say yes, and more importantly, signal me when to say no.

Service is how I show love to others. I’m naturally helpful towards others and over time I’ve learned to hone my servant leader skills. Curiosity and humor are both my elixir to life. There have been few challenges in my life that weren’t fixed through staying curious or at the very least having the ability to laugh at myself.

Being able to acknowledge and verbalize my values has helped me remain focused on the things that are most important to me. They help me decide how I want to spend my time and who I want to spend that time with.

I joined LCF in October 2023 as a Senior Director of Major and Strategic Giving. All that really means is that I’m a professional dot connector. I help connect people I care about with the organizations and missions that they care about. What’s even more exciting in my role is having the opportunity to help others discover their personal values and connect them with people and organizations that have the same shared values.

Now why do collective values for an organization matter?

When I was looking to join the team at LCF last fall, I immediately combed the website for the Foundation’s values:

Integrity, Belonging, Leadership, Collaboration and Stewardship

I believe working for an organization with a shared sense of values helps to collectively align our focus and create an even larger impact. I’ve seen how being transparent in our core values has allowed donors to see themselves as part of our LCF family.

Our staff recently participated in a core value exercise where we had the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and each other. We were each presented with a list of core values and spent time identifying those that resonated most with us. We also shared how the work we do day-to-day fits into our collective core values as an organization. Giving time and space for folks to be vulnerable, transparent, and curious in the process creates a safer, more secure work environment.

If you haven’t taken the time to think about your core values, I encourage you to follow a similar exercise. When you are clear about what you believe, your thoughts, actions and words will start to align with those beliefs as well. It is in this place of alignment that we can connect with ourselves and each other to leave our biggest mark on the world.