Stepping back from the day-to-day demands of leading Save the Children is an opportunity Carolyn Miles doesn’t get very often. “We are all incredibly immersed in our work here,” says Miles, who serves as president and CEO of a global organization that reaches more than 143 million children in the United States and abroad with programs focused on improving nutrition, health, and education.
That chance to gain a broader perspective did come, however, through a week spent at the HBS Executive Education course Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM). Since attending in 2008, Miles estimates that at least nine other members of Save the Children’s worldwide senior management team have taken part in social enterprise executive education programs.
“It’s given us a shared view of the nonprofit landscape we’re operating in today, particularly when it comes to the potential for partnerships with the private sector,” says Miles. “You absolutely need to have that wider view, but the practical tools and strategy to execute a vision are equally important. SPNM provides both sides of the equation.”
That collective background is particularly important as Save the Children sets its strategic course for the next 15 years around goals that include ending the death of children under age 5 of preventable causes; ensuring all children have access to high-quality education with good learning outcomes; and creating a global environment where children can live free of violence.
“We will never accomplish these three things on our own,” says Miles, again citing the key role of cross-sector collaboration. “For that reason, the tools acquired at SPNM have become all the more valuable as our organization lays the very practical, strategic groundwork to execute on our vision of a fairer world for children.”