Sarah Truman is one of the newest members of Koinonia’s Board of Directors. She currently serves as a Product Director at OEConnection, a provider of technology solutions for manufacturers, insurers, repairers, and car dealerships.
Sarah has more than 20 years of product development experience, having worked for technology companies in electric lighting and automotive industries. Whether as a software engineer or product management professional, Sarah’s career has involved putting together and executing upon strategies defined through deep and expansive knowledge of assigned markets and her organization. This comes from learning many people’s perspectives and pain points. It is this inquisitive and collaborative, problem-solving approach that Sarah plans on using to serve on Koinonia’s Board.
How did you first hear about Koinonia?
I first heard about Koinonia just by driving past its main office in Independence and was recently connected to Koinonia for a Board member position through BVU. BVU had previously helped me join another nonprofit years ago as a Board member through its placement services.
Was there anything about Koinonia that you were particularly drawn to?
When I was searching for a position via BVU, I was really focused on finding an organization that served a vulnerable population and worked towards giving them a comfortable and happy life. I also wanted to come onto the Board of an organization that was mature in its governance processes to be able to focus time on strategic planning and consultation to help the organization achieve its goals.
Your primary focus on the board is going to be quality and safety within the organization. Can you talk a little bit more about that and how your professional experiences play into those focus areas?
The scope of the Quality and Safety Committee’s focus areas is wide. Because I’ve held a lot of different responsibilities over the course of my career and because I’ve worked closely with nearly all cross-functional teams in an organization, I can share my experiences both on the Quality and Safety Committee and Board in general to help problem solve and provide new ideas to consider.
What initiatives are you most excited to be a part of?
Koinonia offers so many good resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. It can be overwhelming for people in the community to know about everything the organization offers and to know how to work with Koinonia versus another local agency or provider. As someone whose role in product management has been to understand pain points, develop solutions, and position them to customers, I’d like to talk through Koinonia’s service offerings and provide ideas on how we can improve people’s experiences in understanding what solutions exist and what choices may be best for them and their loved ones.
From my experience working in software and product management, we focus a lot on the buyer journey and it’s a practice I think would be beneficial for promoting Koinonia’s services. If we have a solution, we ask ourselves, “How do we get the word out to people and let them know we have something? What do we do to help people and get informed to know if that’s the right solution for them?” Once we have those components figured out, then the focus shifts to nurturing that relationship with the client throughout our relationship with them and getting feedback. Ultimately, they can become advocates for the organization and its solutions and share the word about our organization themselves.
The other area that I would be interested in helping with is leveraging the network of people and families that have been recipients of Koinonia’s services, asking them to give back to the organization and spread awareness of Koinonia throughout the community. Establishing brand recognition and expanding a donor base takes time, and the more advocates we have out in the community the better.