Back page: My week Geraldine Peacock begins her third age

FRIDAY

As I 'deplane' in Toronto at the start of my Third Age (the Age of Enlightenment?), I realise that the English and North Americans speak the same language differently. Reminded myself to watch how this played out in our synergy, or not, in the 'beyond profit' world.

SATURDAY

Awake in the new 'condo' to see a panoramic golden sunrise. Two letters arrive. The first, from a group wanting to discuss governance and public benefit. The government has just changed, but these Ottawa folk show that, in Canada, it can bring opportunities, not just problems.

The other, from the immigration department, tells me I am unlikely to be a 'landed immigrant' because I have Parkinson's Disease. I have only just got over the US calling me an alien and grouping me with drug addicts for health classification.

How can they use this term?

SUNDAY

I prepare a Guide Dogs for the Blind Association case study for Harvard next week, thinking about differences between the US and UK governance.

Trustees in the UK have personal liability and little public power - the US has high personal power and little public liability. You say tomato....

MONDAY

Canada has a group of young champions from all sectors who handle issues of racial integration and social philanthropy as though they are a natural part of everybody's social tool box. And so they are. Meeting them reminds me that anything is possible if we look at the stars, as well as the cracks in the pavement.

TUESDAY

Flying to Boston - to speak at Harvard - leads me to think of beans and to reinforce in my own mind how important it is for charity financial directors not just to count these, but to be fully involved in strategy and future planning.

WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY

Checking into my room, I think about my topic for the class.

Harvard uses the Guide Dogs case study on change management to demonstrate to business leaders that it is possible to achieve things in different ways - if values are important. It's refreshing, and a first for Harvard to do it this way round - a voluntary sector management example for private sector enlightenment.

Class goes well - 200 people enthusiastic about new ways to do things and realising that to be a non-profit making organisation that manages to survive, you need to make a profit.

Geraldine Peacock serves on several trustee boards and is an adviser to the Commission on Unclaimed Assets.

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