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Tom Iselin - Best Board Retreat Facilitator - Nonprofit - 1a




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Tom Iselin - Testimonials (#42) - "America's Best and Most Popular Retreat Facilitator."
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Tom Iselin - Testimonials (#41) - "America's Best and Most Popular Retreat Facilitator."
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Tom Iselin - Testimonials (#39) - "America's Best and Most Popular Retreat Facilitator."
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Thank you for your extraordinary facilitation of the Annenberg Foundation’s Alchemy workshop ‘First Things First ‘Boot Camp.’ The training was well-organized, practical and high-impact. In a word, it sizzled!  You are an extremely gifted communicator and facilitator. It takes a special talent, let alone extraordinary stamina, to keep an audience engaged and hanging on every word especially in the context of a multi-day event—you achieved that and then some. Annenberg Alchemy is considered to be among the preeminent professional development opportunities available to nonprofit leaders. You surpassed our expectations, and we couldn’t be more pleased to include you among Alchemy’s cadre of world-class instructors . . . and we'llhappily be inviting you back.”

– Leonard Aube, Executive Director, The Annenberg Foundation

“Tom Iselin is a national nonprofit treasure.  The First Things First Boot Camp armed us with tools to make us rock solid so we can reach more, serve more, and inspire more for years to come.”

– Eyvette Jones-Johnson, Founder & Executive Director, Urban Possibilities

“What can I say about you, Tom, but you rock! Love your energy, style, creativity, delivery, and your ability to inform, persuade, and entertain. I’m now more hopeful and optimistic that Make a Film Foundation will be on the road to becoming a ‘gold standard nonprofit’ thanks to you.”

 – Debi Hughes, Producer, Make a Film Foundation

Tom has brought our foundation to life! In less than a year's time, he completely rebuilt or foundation from the ground up. He also retooled our fundraising capabilities to the highest level of precision. By the end of the year, we increased our fundraising by over 75%. Because of Tom, we are positioned us to succeed and reach heights we never thought possible!  

 – Linda Milan, Executive Director, SCTA Foundation


I don’t know how you were able to bring together both a fun and powerful retreat so smoothly, but it was much appreciated. It was the best of its kind that I have ever been to. It’s was a pleasure being with someone who is such an expert in the field. Thank again.

– Dennis Dunham, PhD, Executive Director, Office of Global Affairs


Your expertise was priceless. I appreciate you as a person, not only for the guidance you’ve given the Foundation, but for the everyday work you do to make lives better for everyone around you. Thank you being such a kind soul—I’m a better leader but also a better person for having worked with you!  

– Jill Green, Development Director, College of Northern Oklahoma


I’m extremely grateful you facilitate our strategic planning session! I have no doubt that hiring was one of the best decisions I’ve made for the organization. You’ve motivated and inspired us to look forward to implementing a new direction with clear priorities and aligned energy.

– Leah Silen, Executive Director, NumFOCUS



 – Santo Polito, M.D., Board Chair, Glendale Memorial Health Foundation


“The best nonprofit workshop/seminar I’ve ever attended!”

 – Bill Ott, CFO, Pacific Coast Essentials (board member, Glendale Memorial Health Foundation)

“Mr. Iselin, to me, holds the bar high for honesty, integrity, authenticity, and, action - introduced to me by a highly respected U.S. Navy Admiral (ret.); I've experienced Tom's generosity, energy, and, spirit, first-hand; and, am a full believer that he cuts straight through fluff, guff, and, puffery, to impactful outcomes.”

– Christopher Fantozzi


“I greatly enjoyed the JVC Board retreat!! It surpassed all of my expectations! You are a gifted speaker to be sure. You made it fun, informative, funny, and inspiring! Great style! Thank you, Tom!”

Joe, Spinato, Board Member, JCVB


“A slice of Amazing! Tom Iselin is a dynamic speaker who has transformed my experience of the word ‘workshop.’ His retreat is a combination of expertise, experience, performance, humor, sharing and inter-activity that gives nonprofit organizations essential tools that will help them become sustainable, effective, and quality organizations. The best ever!

– Tamika Lamison, Founder/Executive Director, Make a Film Foundation

“Tom was inspirational, motivating, endless energy and very thoughtful in addressing our board. Nothing came off as canned or cookie cutter, it was very genuine to our organization (Tom did his homework). Tom kept our board engaged and wanting more. We all left the session more focused than ever before on the mission and culture we are striving to create for BGCSV. Tom is one of the very best I’ve seen and would recommend him to any organization looking to take the steps to become great.” – Jaime Chavez, Board Chair, Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley  “Tom was the shot of adrenaline our Board needed to create a sense of urgency and purpose around FULFILLING our mission! With his high energy and result-focused messaging, our Board of Directors was able to focus, prioritize, & drive momentum for our organization. We are fortunate to have many great experts in our circle of influence and Tom is certainly one of our best!” – Robert Santana, CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast “What an honor and privilege it was to be able to spend the better part of the day with Tom. It was one of the best days I’ve spent in the last 40 years learning about fundraising! I know that those on our foundation board who were present will take what you said and move it forward with energy and enthusiasm and impart what they learned to those who were not able to attend. I thank you again for energizing us, motivating us and for enabling us to see that there is a logical way to proceed to reduce the “fear of asking.” Thank you for an excellent day! I look forward to having you back again soon.” – Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Chancellor, College of the Canyons “The First Things First Boot Camp was one of the best workshops I have ever attended! Tom Iselin is easily the most dynamic, articulate and thoughtful facilitator I’ve seen. This rapid-fire intensive workshop was remarkably complete with detail, action plans and easy to follow guidance. I highly recommend it to nonprofit professionals and lay leaders—both newcomers and experienced.”  – Jeffrey Shapiro HD PhD, Executive Director, Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts at MacArthur Park Los Angeles “Tom’s leadership and the execution of the First Things First Boot Camp program were awesome. I was struck by how Tom made the quest for excellence exciting and fun, and how he took all the fear out of pushing for top performance. I know that many people are afraid to try things that move them way out of their comfort zone, and these skills represent a new way of thinking for many in attendance. I loved Tom’s energy, enthusiasm, humor and supportive nature, and how he combined the delivery with learning and truthfulness. Thank you for helping me be an impactful Chairman. And thanks so much for the impact you are having on the nonprofit community!”  – Tom Turpin, Board Chair, Cloud and Fire Ministries  “The Boot Camp was amazing! It was easy to understand, concise—and most important—chock-full of good advice and best practices. Each day was packed with valuable, in-depth information that will allow us to take our nonprofit organization to another level. The course information was logical and cohesive start to finish.  Tom was innovative and energetic and presented information in a fresh, dynamic way that I have never experienced before.  I was so motivated by his engaging teaching techniques.” – Karen Lawrence, Board Chair, Center for Lupus Care “If you think you are working strategically and yet exhausted, approaching burn out, and not seeing the results you deserve, then you MUST make First Things First ‘Boot Camp’ with Tom Iselin a priority. He gives you clear, easy to use tools to turn your organization into a Gold Standard nonprofit.” – Jennifer Sanderson, Executive Director, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment “Thank you so very much for an exciting two days at Boot Camp. It was one of the most creative ways of sharing workshop material I’ve ever seen. You are truly amazing and your energy and passion is contagious!”  – Carol Mollett, Executive Director, Town and Gown of USC “You selected a great facilitator in Tom, whose book, First Things First, we view as a work of art!  These two days provided us with invaluable guidance and perhaps, more importantly, self-evaluation on how we can become a ‘gold standard nonprofit’.  In fact, we’re going to borrow this same theme for our board retreat in early May—full credit to you.  We look forward to being your next Gold Standard.” – Steve Tao, President, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment ​ “Tom is a great speaker, motivator, and educator. He delivers a great deal of practical information with infectious enthusiasm. Every nonprofit would benefit from his expertise.” – Lee Gonzales, Board Member, Kids’ Community Dental Clinic “Boot Camp was awesome!” Tom was energetic and informative. The impact gave us the confidence we need to really engage our staff, board, and volunteers.” – Andre Farr, Board Chair, City Youth Exposure “Great energy! Fun activities! Got us to think about what’s really important and make action plans and commit. Good discussions that moved us in the right direction with culture and accountability.” – Laura Beyer, Board Member, Boys and Girls Clubs – Silicon Valley “Boot Camp was high energy. Tom walks the walk. I now have a ‘wisdom’ toolbox. I’m inspired to be a champion of change for our board. You are great. You care and are open, and that is rare.” – Carol Riza, Executive Director, Bridge of Faith “Boot Camp was worth the time. Tom keeps things moving through his inspiring speaking and motivating experiences and insights. He provided a clear and concise roadmap for success.” – Peter Georges, Young Warriors, Board Chair “I learn more about fundraising here than any other seminar I’ve attended. Tom is a terrific presenter. I like the lists of tactics following each presentation and the opportunity to discuss them in team and group settings.” – Gloria Shell Mitchell, Founder & Executive Director, Joy Youth Services “Tom is a powerhouse, inspirational speaker. He gets you to THINK about what’s really going on at your nonprofit!” – Leslie Adler, Executive Director, Culver City Education Foundation  “This was a value-driven workshop where the value exceeded my expectations.” – Bill Miranda, Board Member, Single Mother’s Outreach “Priceless! This board workshop was very inspiring personally, professionally, and for the whole board.” – Lindsay Schlick, Board Member, Single Mother’s Outreach “This workshop was the perfect stepping stone to help me grow as an executive director.  It enabled me to feel confident in my role of a young organization by providing the essential knowledge and tools for proper development. Tom is a great speaker and the workshop touches on the key points all nonprofits should know.” – Layah Willis, Executive Director, City Youth Exposure “This workshop gave each nonprofit the key areas they need to know to create a gold standard nonprofit, and provided the tools to reach that high level of performance.” – Marty Trupiano, Board Chair, Harvest Home “The information was relevant, the energy was high, and I look forward to looking back 12 months from now when we have matured into a ‘gold standard nonprofit.’ Tom has heart and a great teaching style.” – Zina Washington, Executive Director, Help Me Help You “This Boot Camp is ‘must have’ training for any new nonprofit leaders. I learned in two days what would have taken a year to learn.” – Richard Askew, Board Chair, Los Angeles Communities Advocating for Unity Social Justice & Action “Great ‘how to’ information compared to most other theory type presentations. Engaging and practical.” – Cindy Pease, Executive Director, Pacific Ballet Dance Theater “Boot Camp was lively, interactive, engaging, and humorous, with a great balance of short-term practical tactics and long-term principles and strategies.” – Rick Eaton, Executive Director, Sierra Service Project “This workshop provided dozens of “a-ha” moments for us with specific ideas, strategies, and solutions that will propel our organization.” – Kaile Shilling, Director, Violence Prevention Coalition “Tom had amazing energy that made the workshop fun and enlightening. I learned valuable insights that I will take back to my board and team. This motivated me and lit a fire. I can’t wait to begin implementing everything.  – Bita Masjedi, Program Director, Raise a Child “I have never attended a workshop that captured my total interest like this one! The information was invaluable.” – Anonymous “One of the best workshops I have ever attended. Delivery was inspiring and the information was first class.” – Shanon White, Founder & CEO, One Woman Can “Very practical. The experience was eye-opening. Tom spoke well and the information he provided was ‘golden.’ Very resourceful and fun.” – Latasha Parks, Foundation for Second Chance “I loved this workshop! Tom was compassionate and engaging in work and action. The Boot Camp concepts, many new to me, will help our organization immensely.” – Julia Chambers, Executive Director, Gull Wings Children’s Museum “Good workshop. Informative, good presentation. You are energetic and made all the ‘work’ easy. I’m reenergized to keep on keeping on.” – Batima Conerly, Founder & Executive Director, Essence of Light  “Very informative! Many of the principles you outline are appropriate to the “for profit” world. I will be applying the tactics you outlined about Accountability and Board Relations a lot.” – David Scaglione, Division Manager, UPS “Hands down the best board retreat I ever attended!” – Megan Landon, Broker, LP Insurance  “Very useful. Practical takeaways that we can easily and quickly apply to see results.” – Zeina Barkawi, HR-Staffing, Bank of America “Fun and engaging! I feel energized and ready to take our board to the next level.” – Wendy Firestone, Fund Development Manager, BBBSN  “Very engaging workshop. I learned many pearls that will have immediate and practical application. I highly recommend this workshop for other nonprofits.” – Marueen Zupon, Co-owner, Roundtable Pizza  “The workshop was phenomenal! The board is very excited and energized about our future. Thank you for making it such a great day.” – Liza Maupin, CEO, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, of Northern Nevada “Tom is high energy (understatement)! The workshop moved quickly and the information was actionable, not a bunch of theory.”  – Linda Moynan, Chief Development Officer, Reality Changers "Very motivating! I left Tom’s workshop with a list of concrete goals and a specific list of tactical ToDos.”  – Fenella Speece, President, Wee Companions Small Animal Adoption, Inc. ​ "Well worth your time! Tom’s workshop is dynamic, high-energy, and very practical.”  – David Engel, Founder, Stay Cool for Grandkids   "Tom’s Let’s Have Coffee! Workshop gave me goosebumps! So many tremendous fundraising principles, worksheets, slides . . . and I can’t wait to read my copy of Cloudburst.”  – Gail Myers, Director of Project Management, Qualcomm "Engaging and motivating! He tackled key topics that can greatly impact an organization’s performance, yet are often not talked about.”  – Bettina Halversen, Director of Foundation Relations, Project Concern International "Fantastic! I learned many practical principles and ideas that we can apply immediately.”  – Kathryn Seebold, CEO, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) "Thoughtful. Energetic. Relevant.”  – Larry Haynes, Executive Director, Mercy House "Invaluable! Tom’s energy truly infused my motivation to apply myself at my foundation. I actually learned HOW to engage and apply myself . . . useful skills for me in all facets of life and business.”  – Sejal Naathu, Board Member, Tarsadia Foundation "Every nonprofit leader needs this training! It’s the single best investment you can make in the future health and growth of your organization!”  – Shoshon Tama-Sweet, Director of Global Impact, These Numbers Have Faces "Several AH-HA moments with tools to implement right away. Perfect for a start-up like us. Thank you!”  – Paulomi Patel, Director of Strategy and Development, Milapp USA "Tom is enthusiastic, engaging, knowledgeable, and quickly and concisely puts good practices into perspective.”  – Zack Marsh, Community Relations Manager, Variety of Pittsburgh “Very energizing and eye-opening! Learned a ton! Great job! – Carlos Leet, Board Member, Boys and Girls Clubs – Silicon Valley "Tom is a master at cutting through the chatter to get to real world solutions and strategies on how to build a “Get it Done!” organization.  – Jim Haggerty, Vice President, Variety of the Desert “You are so incredibly smart about these things and what I love is that you simplify some basic tenets and you do not overcomplicate things. Congrats!”  – Lisa Cleri Reale, Owner, Lisa Cleri Reale & Associates “I just bought both of your books. I just heard one of your webinars on one-on-one relationship fundraising, and thought it was the best webinar on fundraising I had heard!”  – Margo Heekin, Consultant, Conservation Land Trust ​ “I love Tom’s energy . . . have this workshop next year!  I love that he was personable, but also vulnerable.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “The experience with Tom was transformative! His energy, care, wisdom, experience, and understanding are pivotal to the high degree of training I learned at the workshop. It has been an immensely exciting process.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “Tom was fantastic. I appreciated his humor and informative style. He made the quest of excellence fun and exciting and took the fear out of it.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “Tom’s experience shows. He easily and comfortably managed our board and staff and made the retreat a ‘treat’ for all who participated. It was truly meaningful and worthwhile.”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “Tom is a ‘must have’ at your board retreat! He’s worth every single penny because his advice and experience is worth millions!”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “Tom did a terrific job keeping the group grounded to establish realistic goals that are achievable. The most constructive and worthwhile retreat I’ve ever attended.”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form  “Tom is an experienced facilitator who holds attention. Thank you. Very beneficial.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “Phenomenal. Tom is a brilliant communicator. He was very personable and made things accessible. The Boot Camp was motivating, inspiring, action oriented, detailed, and concise – and no time wasted.”   – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “Tom is truly awesome. He energized me to go back to my organization and get us on the right track. He also made me realize that my second board and organization lacks what’s necessary to make it a ‘gold standard’ organization.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “A huge thank you for your amazing, eye-opening, honest advice and guidance today.  It put all of us on notice that we have a lot of work and soul-searching to do… and it’s all good!  Besides being a brilliant and effective teacher, you have a kind and good heart which is all very much appreciated”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “There was a lot of value in the concepts, as well as tactics outlined. I appreciated that the workshop went beyond theory and provided specific plans of action to implement change. Tom was amazing as a presenter! I would highly recommend this workshop to any nonprofit no matter how long they’ve been in business.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “You were awesome! I like the fast-past presentation style. You engaged the participants and kept things interesting.” – Anonymous “I learned the value and importance of developing a healthy executive-board relationship. I also learned why it’s important to develop the following: systems of organization, one-on-one fundraising, systems of accountability, and the importance of public speaking. I had no idea the impact and benefit these ‘cornerstones’ can have. Now I do.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “The light went on. I learn how important it was to build a ‘unifying culture,’ it’s easy to overlook, but it’s the underpinning of everything! I also learned that even well-established can change and become ‘gold standard organizations.’ I was terrific reminder of the importance of accountability!”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “Tom’s experience is priceless! He also has a laser like ability to see the big picture of any organization and covey what needs to be done in a customized way to help in a specific manner. Two thumbs up!”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “Tom has a unique talent in getting to the meat of the issues and explaining and distilling key concepts that are easy to digest. His passion and confidence is inspired us all.”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “Tom has an amazing ability to speak with understanding and expertise to the best benefit of the organization. What a pleasure the day was . . . 8 hours flew by!”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “Invaluable! I actually learn how to facilitate change. The Boot Camp showed us what fundamental building blocks we need to put in place and how to put them in place. We now have the knowhow for continued improvement—eating the elephant bite by bite.”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “The time flew by! I now have the tools, knowledge, and plans to effectively launch my nonprofit and be confident in leveraging the uniqueness most effectively while organizing, gaining support, and planning our programs. Highly recommended!”  – Anonymous, Response from workshop evaluation form “Tom is a pro who forced our board and ED to confront tough issues in a constructive manner that ultimately lead to fixing what was broken and healing past hurts. Amazing!”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “Tom is a passionate, knowledgeable, and experienced advocate of nonprofits. He is committed to helping them achieve higher standards of performance and operations, and he is a great motivator and compelling speaker. Hire him!”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form ​ “Tom’s energy, insights and passion will help motivate, educate, and inspire anyone who is involved to any degree with a nonprofit.”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “Tom is very likable and approachable. He was able to clearly present each item, was extremely knowledgeable without being judgmental, and so helpful in guiding us through a very difficult transition process. He was very generous with his time and experience, and made the environment safe for people to share their deep feelings about the organization.”  – Anonymous, Response from board retreat evaluation form “I am so grateful for all that you have done for me.  You have inspired me in so many ways to reach for the best within myself.  You have always steered me in the right direction with amazing advice.  I can't wait to get out there and give clients the great service I only know how to give. I love making someone’s day by doing what I can to make their life better. Thank you!”      – LauraLynn Reichart, Mentee “Tom is incredibly generous with his wealth of knowledge and experience in the nonprofit and social entrepreneur sectors. He really made us feel like we were working with him as a team and not a temporary consultant. My board still talks about how much they enjoyed Tom’s book and how much we have learned from his workshop. Overall, I found Tom’s wisdom validating, game changing and helpful.”  – Sophie Lewis, Coordinator, Phase 1 “Tom’s energetic, engaging, and create a safe environment for expressing thoughts and opinions. I highly recommend him to any nonprofit.”  – Andie Burke, Director of Operations, Your Great Event I just want to say I am truly blessed for all your mentorship and guidance over the past few years! I truly don’t think I’d be where I am today without your help and encouragement! The Tony Robbins segment absolutely changed my perspective on life and mindset! Although I still have room for so much growth. Tom, THANK YOU for taking time out of your busy days to work with my and guide me! Once again, have a blessed Easter weekend.  – Kayla Johnson, Former Executive Mentee There are Hundred More on File!

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