I’m a social entrepreneur, storyteller, do-gooder, and high-energy optimist devoted to helping your leaders become the best they can be so your organization can be the best it can be!
Hi! Some consultants "talk" about the work that needs to be done to build a thriving organization, but I've "done" the work. I've been deep in the messiest of trenches, raising millions of dollars on a shoestring budget, unifying disengaged board members, and catapulting startup nonprofits into national brands.
Over the last 20 years, I have founded or helped build 4 high-impact nonprofits and 4 foundations, 3 of which have a national footprint, and faced just about every type of problem, challenge, and drama imaginable along the way. I've also written 6 books and sit on 6 boards.
These experiences, combined with my background in finance, marketing, and philanthropy, give me a unique perspective into the soul of starting, building, and managing thriving nonprofits.
My passion is to share my experience, successes, and blunders to help organizations like yours achieve their dreams, but with a lot more efficiency and a lot fewer headaches.
So let's roll up our sleeves, work hard, have fun, and do this!
"Spend More Time Thinking About What You Can Do To Fulfill
Your Mission Rather Than Just Talking About It!"
OPTIONS TRADER TURNED SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
In the late 80s, I was a stock options trader on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. At age 30, after writing and selling a pioneering software program that managed traders’ risk, I had all the toys and freedom I ever dreamed of and was on top of the world—so I thought.
Then, after a near-death experience (a MAJOR wake-up call!), I decided to exchange my selfish lifestyle for a meaningful life of helping others.
I left trading and the high-life, then redirected all my business experience as I went on to start or help build a number of well-known nonprofits including The Hunger Coalition, Natural High, Environmental News Network, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, Kids First Foundation, Sundt Memorial Foundation, SCTA Foundation, and Higher Ground, an organization widely regarded as one of America’s most innovative sports therapy programs that rehabilitates men and women wounded in recent conflicts.
My aspiration is to improve the landscape of social change around the globe. I've written 6 books, facilitate retreats and strategic planning sessions, and speak to thousands of nonprofit leaders at conferences each year—all to help industry leaders build GOLD STANDARD nonprofits by doing what is right, not what’s convenient or easy.
I was born and raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Yep, I'm a Cheesehead and proud of being from a state where people don’t just have neighbors, they act neighborly. It was like growing up in a Norman Rockwell painting . . . a place and time where homes were left unlocked, people pulled over when you had a flat tire, doctors made house calls, kids played safely past dark, and families packed up their cars on summer weekends and headed to their log cabins on one of the state’s 12,000 lakes.
It was a culture of modesty and community: Helpful. Kind. Caring. Friendly. Hard-working. “Those good ole Midwest values,” some like to say. And it’s these values I wish more people would adopt in life and business today . . . oh, and yes, I miss Friday Fish Frys, the color and smell of autumn leaves, and Badger football (I'm an alum).
I've been living in Sun Valley, Idaho, on and off for the past 25 years and recently became an empty nester (Yippie!). I enjoy hiking, skiing, mountain biking, fly fishing, tennis, baking, backgammon, and just being outside inhaling life in the fresh mountain air and warm sunshine . . . and, of course, nibbling on farm fresh cheddar cheese.
The nonprofit world is a human endeavor.
Your capacity to succeed is directly related to
the quality of staff and board members you bring on
and the CULTURE you build and nurture.
Choose and Build Wisely!