Maya Labourdette of Santa Rosa’s Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs) wins one of North Bay Business Journal’s 2017 North Bay CFO Awards.
Professional background: 20 years in finance for nonprofits
Education: Recently completed coursework for master’s of public administration from Sonoma State University, (currently working on final Capstone Project). B.A. in anthropology from University of California, Davis.
What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?
The essential role of a financial leader in the non-profit sector is to be flexible and think creatively in order to help the organization achieve its mission, while always maintaining financial accountability to government funding agencies, individual and business contributors, taxpayers, Board, staff and clients.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?
I have seen an increase in government requirements for accountability measures, data collection, and program and fiscal reporting that has, unfortunately, not always been supported by the available funding
Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past.
The importance of preschool has finally become a mainstream issue, which has created a huge opportunity for 4Cs to advance its mission and emerge as a community leader in early education.
The biggest challenge for 4Cs has been adapting to the cyclical nature of government funding. The programs that 4Cs administers are still not being funded at prerecession levels and therefore the agency must do more with less
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
I would advise emerging financial leaders not to let the myriad of details allow them to lose sight of the big picture (the mission or goals of the organization) and to never compromise their sense of integrity or ethics. What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?
The non-profit sector must fully understand its worth, and unite to advocate for fair and stable funding that supports the full cost of providing services.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
I think the business community will further recognize that high-quality child care and preschool is fundamental to their success. Therefore, we will see more partnerships between business, government and nonprofits to create more equitable early education opportunities for the children and families of Sonoma County.
What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it?
I wish I hadn’t always made “safe” decisions and I wish I took more risks in my life – I’ve learned that fear of the unknown is much more limiting than failure.
What is your most memorable business experience?
The joy I felt returning to 4Cs (Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County), and to the incredible staff who work there, after a year away. I learned that there is nothing more important to me professionally than having my skills, core competencies, and values align to contribute towards making our community a better place.
What is your greatest business success?
Building excellent relationships with internal and external colleagues based on professionalism, collaboration, and trust has been my greatest business success.
What was your toughest business decision?
Decisions made during the Great Recession, which I knew would greatly impact staff and clients but were necessary for the survival of the organization, were by far the toughest
Community Child Care Council of Sonoma Co. (4Cs)
131-A Stony Circle, Suite 300, Santa Rosa 95401