Forbes Nonprofit Council members come from a wide range of backgrounds. And with their wide range of experiences, they have a lot to share with fellow members of the community. To help them share with an even greater audience, we’re profiling Forbes Nonprofit Council members here on the blog. This week: Lisa S. H. Boero.
Lisa S. H. Boero is the chief legal officer of Security Health Plan of Wisconsin Inc. She is a corporate attorney and the author of various books, including the Nerdy Girls Mystery Series. As well, Boero is the host of the Marshfield TV program, Writers & Readers of Central Wisconsin, focusing on interviews with local authors.
How did your career as a nonprofit executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
I started my work with the Marshfield Clinic Health System (the parent of Security Health Plan) in 2007 when I took a leap of faith and jumped into a completely new life. My husband and I decided to leave everything behind and move from our comfortable urban existence in St. Louis, Missouri to the small, frozen town of Marshfield, Wisconsin. For me, the move not only involved starting over in my private life but transitioning to a nonprofit, in-house practice from a for-profit firm environment, where the billable hour and the book of business was king. Even though many people told my husband and I that we were crazy, it was the best move we could have made. It laid the groundwork for my current position at an innovative and member-centric health plan and even started me on my other career as a novelist (because you have to do something during the long Wisconsin winters). If I could give one piece of advice based on my experience, it would be that you have to be willing to believe in yourself and take a leap of faith once in a while. It is the key to success.
How do you keep yourself passionate and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
I remember that the work I am doing is not just the standard “corporate” legal work. My decisions have a significant impact on real people with real problems. We are all accountable for making the world a better fairer place, even in health insurance. Obviously, I feel the same way about my books. I want to be remembered as someone who brought a little bit of fun to a reader’s life.
What do you see as the future of nonprofits?
We are in a world that will need us now more than ever. In terms of health insurance, I believe that nonprofit community health plans are in a position to provide the best service to our members because we are about the member, not the margins.
What is your best nonprofit leadership or strategy tip for businesses?
At the end of the day, you cannot lose sight of the mission, the vision and the values of the organization. We tend to go through our days fighting one fire after another. You have to step back on a regular basis and remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. If you don’t fulfill your mission, don’t create the vision, or live up to your values, you are not a success.