What She Does Have Is a Particular Set of Skills: Bonnie Look

29 Apr, 2024

What She Does Have Is a Particular Set of Skills: Bonnie Look

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April 29, 2024

Written by Rhonnel Sotelo, Chief Executive Officer 

Building a talented, cohesive team and unleashing them with the flexibility and freedom to own and lead their work is one of the Rogers Family Foundation’s core values. Throughout the remainder of our timeline, we will share our appreciations and reflections on the distinct qualities, accomplishments, and contributions of each Rogers Family Foundation team member. This piece celebrates Bonnie Look, who joined the Foundation in 2017.

When thinking of the Rogers Family Foundation team’s evolution over the past decade, I’m reminded more and more of one of my all-time favorite football teams, the 1970s Netherlands Men’s National Team: adaptable, creative, fluid. Their method of “total football’ required trust, intelligence, technical ability, and communication.

So too does being part of a successful grantmaking organization. On a Rogers team loaded with people capable of excelling and thriving in multiple roles, Bonnie Look stands at the vanguard. Over the past 15 years and across two organizations, no colleague has grown so much nor built a toolbox of more diverse and exquisite skills as Bonnie. Her domain extends far and wide: from grants management and Salesforce administration to strategic communications and skilled capacity building in support of grantees. To each occasion, she brings an authenticity in the way she engages and cares about her team. Nothing says love, creativity, and attention to detail more than Bonnie with her pens and colorful post-its.    

When we met back in 2008, Bonnie did not know that I had been waiting for her. From our very first day together, she demonstrated an exceptional capacity for organized, first-class project management. What has been revelatory over the years is her strategic thinking, collaborative problem solving, and deep commitment to putting grantees first through a trust-based, human perspective. Bonnie is an incredible problem solver and systems thinker… always quick to offer her time and skillset to support partners in working through pressing organizational challenges,” said Seth Hubbert, former Executive Director for Tech Exchange. “She brings a collaborative, optimistic attitude to her work and is adept at organizational design to build greater capacity and sustainability.”

Bonnie regularly and enthusiastically tests the boundaries of her abilities, as evidenced by her co-founding, development, and leadership of the Rogers Family Foundation’s strategic communications team and the execution of its vision.  Bonnie’s always thinking three steps ahead. Her ability to balance both short-term priorities and long-term vision is unmatched,” declares former Rogers Program Associate, Kate Ray, now with the Heising-Simons Foundation. “It was an honor to work with and learn from Bonnie on the strategic communications team. Bonnie will find ways to infuse her creativity into projects, making even the most mundane tasks feel exciting and engaging for those involved. She pushed my thinking, encouraged me to take on new responsibilities, and supported my development.”

Bonnie has evolved into an incredible leader – she listens to learn, keeps her teams focused on mission and values, and inspires real-time camaraderie with joy and celebration. “Some have called Bonnie a ‘Swiss Army knife’ or real live MacGyver,” says long-time colleague Dana Wellhausen. now the Grants Management VP at Fremont Group, “I see her as a super thoughtful, observant, and brilliant person who takes the time to consider an issue from multiple angles. She knows that good problem solving and quality ideas lay on the other side of deep, divergent thinking.” Among her RFF colleagues, peers in the field, and the Foundation’s grantees, she is renowned for asking key questions that unlock innovation, leading to the development of bold, creative processes and actions that yield impressive results.

 As our Director for Strategic Operations & Communications, Bonnie’s drive to acquire and hone a vast skill set and her joy of perfecting her craft have been a pleasure to witness. Her team marvels at her approach to learning as a collective exercise and possesses a deep gratitude for her enthusiasm in spreading her knowledge to others. Her influence and impact on people, projects, and systems have reverberated throughout the Rogers community and propelled grantees in their work toward positive outcomes for Oakland’s schools, students, and families.