Meet Our Board: Spotlight on Jill

We are delighted to welcome Jill Sheldon to our Whidbey Institute board of directors this spring.

Jill has worked in a variety of leadership and development positions in organizations whose work ranges from women’s rights to environmental law and water rights. She’s currently a coach and consultant with Open Road Coaching and Consulting, and makes her home on Whidbey with her wife Dakota, owner of Solid Stone Boxing Gym, and their four-legged family members—Emma the standard poodle, Kona the rottweiler/lab mix, and Jack the cat.

“I’ve always worked in the non-profit sector,” Jill said, “but I found my passion during grad school at the Leadership Institute of Seattle. I’m interested in individual change and transformation, but also group change and transformation. Learning some fundamental principles of how organizations work, the challenges they face, and the development they experience gave me some much-needed perspective.”

Jill has long been connected to the Institute in some capacity, having first attended a retreat here 15 years ago.  “I was blown away by the spirit of the place,” she said. “I remember how peaceful and connected I felt immediately upon arriving. This was a glorious discovery.” Since then, she’s connected with us as a participant in a Pachamama Alliance offering here, on indigenous ways of looking at social justice, and as a member of the 2013-14 Powers of Leadership cohort.

“I was so excited by the invitation to join the board,” she said. “I’ve been incredibly impressed with everything you’re sharing. It makes me feel proud to be a part this organization that is an engaging, creative presence in the world. You’ve gotten really good at talking about things that are on the cusp of our cultural understanding, and still hard to describe.”

Jill’s consultancy allows her to serve a diverse range of needs, from personal and leadership coaching to organizational development work to facilitation of staff and board retreats. In that work, she’s sometimes faced with a situation where people know what they want and where they’re going, but don’t yet have the language to name it. “Hearing how the Whidbey Institute team talks about the cusp of the new world we’re on has been personally rewarding and professionally helpful,” she said.

Jill has been on the board for just one month, and she’s already excited about Development, Strategy, and Gala Committee participation. “I’m so excited, I want to jump in with both feet,” she said. “With so many wonderful people on board, the work is really inviting.”