Being mission-focused but adaptable in execution creates best outcomes

Megan Fischer | Roger Williams Park Conservancy executive director

An influential mentor early in my nonprofit career instilled in her team the importance of holding tight to the mission but remaining flexible in the execution. That lesson has stuck with me and has had a powerful influence on my philosophy as a leader.

I strive to maintain an unflinching focus on mission, consistently using it as a gauge to guide key decisions. However, it’s also essential to stay nimble, responsive, and open to new and unexpected opportunities – to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit as you determine how to uphold and deliver on the mission.

This thinking serves me well as the first executive director of the newly formed Roger Williams Park Conservancy. Created as part of the Rhode Island Foundation’s Campaign for Roger Williams Park, the conservancy stewards and sustains this significant 430-acre space in collaboration with Providence.

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We’re in the midst of articulating our mission and vision, and defining our role as part of our first strategic planning process, which is critical for determining organizational objectives and priorities. We’re seeking input from stakeholders to steer us in the right direction as we envision and enhance the park’s capacity to serve as a vital community hub, and to ensure it remains responsive to the needs of the community.

A clear mission will set the course, with a solid strategic plan to serve as a roadmap – and a good dose of versatility will allow us to navigate and adapt to twists and turns along the way.