Part of the west wing at NOLS headquarters is home to the Operations Department. For those of you who have had the pleasure of visiting this area, you will agree that it is a serene part of the building. Although typically mellow, twice a year our quiet little plant-filled sanctuary fills with the sweet sounds of Spanish and the aroma of coffee and delicious food. The school directors must be in town!
Although it sounds like a fiesta, the directors are tirelessly busy and hard at work during their week in Lander, Wyoming. Budget meetings, team building, and discussion of best practices are all on the agenda. They spend time mingling with staff, and are even set up with a homework assignment— reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni.
Meet Our Team of Directors
Janeen Hutchins (Alaska), Mark Jordan (Australasia), Carolina G. Cortés (Mexico), Chris Agnew (Pacific Northwest), Raúl Castro (Patagonia), Lindsay Nohl (Southwest), Abby Warner (Teton Valley), and Gary Cukjati (Rocky Mountain). Deborah Nunnink is the NOLS Director of Operations and holds down the fort at headquarters, managing and traveling between locations throughout the year, while preparing for a whirlwind week when the director team is in Lander.
This solid team accomplishes a lot during one week. Sharing ideas, seeking new practices, and team building activities encourage healthy collaboration within the school. It is refreshing to see the motivation amongst these individuals who care to coordinate and remain open to new perspectives.
As the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability intern, I was fortunate to have the experience of sharing a space with NOLS directors from around the world. While their energy and expertise was inspiring, sitting between Carolina and Raúl as they casually conversed in Spanish was an added bonus. Although the group is dispersed now and finalizing their budgets, they will return once again in the fall for another exciting week in the west wing.