Comments welcomed

Jun 28, 2011 by in Uncategorized

Please feel free to share your thoughts on any of the findings or data presented here on Daring to Lead. We welcome your input.

3 Responses to “Comments welcomed”

  1. Marc Baizman

    30. Jun, 2011

    Thank you for another excellent, well-researched report. The findings were right on with what I’ve observed in the sector and paint a clear picture of some actions that need to be taken.

    However, I have to take issue with the fact that you’ve all but ignored the needs of younger nonprofit professionals. In many nonprofits both small and large, senior leadership is still very tightly holding onto the reins, and unwilling or unable to let go. At the Boston Chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, which I co-chair, we believe that young people are not given adequate (or, in the most dire cases, any) mentorship or opportunities to become leaders within the organizations they work for. As a result, young people either start their own organizations, or simply leave the sector entirely, never to return. Our experience is that nonprofits simply don’t invest in their young talent, period.

    We hypothesize this happens for several reasons: nonprofits don’t know how to invest in their employees effectively; or they are so resource constrained that they don’t invest in *any* employee development, thus leading to a “nonprofit leadership skills starvation cycle” so that young people never get the skills they need to advance to a mid-level or senior position, and thus are kept at the bottom of the hierarchy, and are churned through as new graduates join the sector and work for little to no salary, replacing the previous young person before them. This is a grim scenario, to be sure, but I would bet if you took a look, you would see this played out over and over again at nonprofits across the country.

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  2. Marla Cornelius

    08. Jul, 2011

    Marc, thank you so much for your post.

    Because Daring to Lead is a study of executive directorship (versus leadership in general) the report is purposely focused on their perspectives and the experiences that they have in that unique role.

    However, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments that in the sector we often under-invest in other leaders. We share this concern with you and have made several efforts to bring the issues of leadership—across positions and generations—to the forefront. One such effort resulted in our report from a few years back called, Ready to Lead?, which is entirely focused on next generation leaders. Please check it out if you have not already done so (

    In regards to this current report, Daring to Lead, we explored the issue from another angle which is by asking executive’s about their shared leadership practices, how they work with staff, and the degree to which they employ mentorship in their personal management and leadership practices. I think there are some interesting findings in the report that do contribute to the better understanding of leadership development for emerging leaders.

    Stay tuned for one of our upcoming briefs, Inside the Executive Director’s Job, which takes a deeper look at the executive’s role in staff development and will include some specific calls to action that address this topic.

    We share your desire for a robust discussion about these issues and their implications for our work– we very much appreciate your comment.

    Marla Cornelius, CompassPoint

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  3. Karen Ramsey

    12. Jul, 2011

    Bravo! What an excellent resource for those of us who provide leadership development to the nonprofit sector. Specifically, I was delighted to read that coaching is now viewed as a viable, effective support for leaders. I chair the Nonprofit Special Interest Group for the International Coach Federation (which I believe is the largest organization for coaching professionals in the world), and we have members from across the globe who will appreciate the data.

    In addition, I am President & CEO of a nonprofit organization called Lead for Good ( that provides credentialed executive coaches who have strong backgrounds in the nonprofit sector. We also offer mentoring services (including helping organizations implement their own formal mentoring processes) and monthly facilitated roundtables for peer groups who are emerging leaders, currently in chief executive positions, and those serving as board chairs.

    I’d be happy to partner with Marc to find appropriate resources to support both him and his group in Boston!

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