The Best Support is Bidirectional

As I go about my day, I wear a hat or two or three.  I’m a Mom, a wife, a non-profit executive, a CEO, a board member, an investor and a few other things.  Across them all, it it all ties back to one thing.  I need the help and support of others to get the job done.  This week, at one of my many meetings, a fellow board member shared a thought that has really stayed with me.  “We need to provide value BEFORE we ask for support.”   As I have continued through my week, that message kept coming back to me. 

This weekend, a carton by Mark Anderson brought it top of mind again.  Support has to be bidirectional and not a one way street.

Support takes many forms: time, investment, donation and talent.  In the non profit world we often view support as a combination of the Time, Treasury, and Talent.  In the for profit world we need the same things, we just look at them in terms of growth capital and human capital.

Support goes both ways…

As Entrepreneurs, we need to show how our innovative new product or service will create value before we make the ask.  (At least if we want to be successful in garnering support.) When we an demonstrate the true potential for value creation, we are much more likely to succeed.

As Community Organizations (non profits serve communities not shareholders) we need to demonstrate that achieving our mission and vision will support the community and that we know what we need to do to execute on our plan and achieve our stated goals.

As Leaders, in what ever place we can be found, we need to make the time and take the time to support our people so that they in turn can support us.

So this week…

So this week, as I go about my days running from meeting to meeting and place to place, I think I’ll focus a bit more on how we can serve and create value first and ask for support second.

As a wise friend reminded me, when you create value, you attract support …  you often don’t even have to ask for it.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker



Joan Koerber-Walker is President and CEO of AZBio, the Arizona BioIndustry Association.  A two time Stevie Award National Finalist and former Fortune 500 executive, she is also the  Chairman of the Board of CorePurpose, Inc. and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation and serves as Executive in Residence for Callaman Ventures.  As the former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association in Washington, D.C. she has worked with hundreds of small businesses and on behalf of thousands.  Chat with her on Twitter as @joankw, @JKWgrowth, @JKWinnovation, @JKWleadership and @CorePurpose or at her blog at

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