Karen Belcher on Leadership: Be Inquisitive, Listen to Understand, Show Humility

Posted on July 5, 2021

The Food Bank of Central New York started in 1985 and now serves 11 counties in Central and Northern New York. Karen Belcher joined the Food Bank in 2001 as controller, overseeing the finances. She succeeded Kathleen Stress as executive director in January 2020, just in time for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Until then, Belcher said the Food Bank served 13-14 million meals annually. The pandemic pushed that to more than 20 million a year.

The Food Bank is a non-profit organization. It buys food and also relies on the generosity of grocers, food manufacturers, and growers. The Food Bank rarely distributes food directly to people. Instead, from a 74,000-square-foot warehouse in the town of Van Buren, the Food Bank distributes to 381 programs – dozens of food pantries, soup kitchens, community organizations and the like.

The Food Bank is known for logistical agility and for frugality in stretching resources. It was a finalist in the CenterState CEO awards for 2021 Business of the Year in the nonprofit category. Belcher leads a staff of 63, who negotiate purchases, gather donations, and distribute food. About 15,000 regular donors help to make that possible on a budget of about $12 million.

So do volunteers: “The desire to help out was so huge this past year that we’ve probably increased to over a thousand-plus volunteers trying to help us at any day that they can,” Belcher said. “Our volunteer opportunities get posted and they’re gone within hours.”

When it comes to leadership, Belcher advises that good leaders are inquisitive, listen to understand, show humility, and are kind.

Read the full article on syracuse.com, here.

Other Member News

Kate Weidman, Deputy Executive Director, AURORA of CNY
July 19, 2024

AURORA of CNY Announces Leadership Changes

Weidman will transition into the role of Executive Director following the retirement of current Executive Director Debra Chaiken, ensuring a seamless succession in leadership.

Credit Score 101
July 17, 2024

Credit Score 101 - Everything You Need to Know

Understanding and managing your credit score is a key step towards achieving financial stability and success. 

Larry Bousquet
July 16, 2024

Crouse Health Board of Directors Welcomes Two New Members

The Crouse Health Board of Directors has appointed two new directors.

SUNY Press Release: SUNY Chancellor King Announces Launch of $6 Million Upstate Biotech Ventures
July 16, 2024

SUNY Chancellor King Announces Launch of $6 Million Upstate Biotech Ventures

Upstate Biotech Ventures will invest in Startups and Small Businesses affiliated with Upstate Medical University to drive research and technology innovation.

Home Buyer Seminar
July 15, 2024

Sidney Federal Credit Union Home Buying Seminar

Join us for an information packed hour, designed to help you navigate the mortgage process with confidence!

Impel Acquires Automotive Customer Engagement Platform Outsell in $100M+ Deal
July 15, 2024

Impel Acquires Automotive Customer Engagement Platform Outsell in $100M+ Deal

Adding Outsell’s data-driven outreach capabilities to Impel AI creates the auto industry’s first end-to-end global AI sales and marketing automation platform.

July 15, 2024

Patenting Biotechnology: CRISPR, Antibodies, Diagnostics, and Protein Based Biomaterials

The basic concepts of intellectual property law will be introduced.

Danyel Akins-Barbara Clark_Solvay Bank New Hires
July 12, 2024

Solvay Bank Announces Two Recent Hires

Solvay Bank, the oldest community bank established in Onondaga County, is pleased to welcome two recent hires to its team: Danyel Akins and Barbara Clark.

Harris Beach
July 12, 2024

Harris Beach and Murtha Cullina Partners Approve New Operating Agreement for Combined Firm

Both firms have approved an Operating Agreement that will govern a new, combined firm to be known as Harris Beach Murtha.