501 Commons: Weldon Ihrig
501 Commons‘ mission is to boost the capacity of nonprofit organizations to thrive over the long-term and effectively serve the community.
NONPROFIT TALENT: Leveraging university leadership experience in nonprofit consulting
Weldon Ihrig has over 40 years of experience in public university leadership positions, including finance, business processes, human resources, facilities and strategic planning, most recently serving as Executive Vice President of the University of Washington. Other senior roles included Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration for the Oregon State University system and VP of Finance at The Ohio State University.
Since his retirement, Weldon has used his experience to support nonprofits as a board member of the Downtown Seattle Association, the Seattle Chamber Music Society and the Oregon Bach Festival. He enjoys assessing leaders and boards in discovering ways to modernize how they do business using the skills and knowledge of their people.
For Weldon, “The most valuable [transferable] skill was knowing how to listen carefully and asking probing questions in a non-judgmental manner. In addition, it was helpful to consider the issues from their perspective and then bring in my experiences to develop solutions that relate to the clients’ goals.”
“The other skill that serves me well is that there are ’no mistakes.’ When actions don’t go as expected we treat it as ‘an unexpected outcome’ and adjust to deal with it. This approach gets everyone relaxed and focused on solving issues instead of placing blame.”
Consulting roles that require creativity and figuring out the solutions together are most satisfying for Weldon. He says, “Such engagements result in an outcome different from that expected at the start of the engagement. When there is positive synergy between the client and consultant teams, the results reflect that positive teamwork.”