Considering a Career Change? Be a Non-Profit CEO!

There is a wide variety of career options within the non-profit sector.

Note: this blog contains an excellent online training opportunity with link toward the end!

Considering your career options! As many of my blog readers know, my consulting practice has two arms – diversity and career development. In terms of career development, I have written about the importance of each individual owning their career, and asking themselves those penetrating questions to explore what they really want to be doing. It is so critical that long term career aligns with one’s passions.

Back in 2011, I published a 3-part blog series about managing careers:

Part 1 (link) introduced the concept and career mapping – including look where you have been and key skills you have developed during the journey.

Part 2 (link) provided several tools for career management, including a simple spreadsheet to evaluate a job’s fit with your career desires and goals.

Part 3 (link) emphasized really understanding yourself and taking ownership of your career journey.

Aligning career and passions – a short case study. So looking back and parts 2 and 3, one of the passions that people may have is helping make the world a better place. For many people, perhaps for you, making a positive impact on the world through your profession may be more important than work location, recognition, and even pay! I once had a mentee who was very unhappy in his high paying IT job at a major company, and later found deep fulfillment as a social worker making half the salary. (This is not to say that all public sector jobs come with a pay cut … but do understand if personal fulfillment or high pay is higher personal priority.)

If making a positive impact on the world is one of your highest career priorities, perhaps a non-profit sector job is for you. They can come in a wide variety of options – advocating for under-served and oppressed minorities, protecting the environment, helping develop our children, working within the arts arena, working within health care and personal well-being …. The options are endless.

Sean Kosofsky, Mind the Gap Consulting, LLC

Enter Sean Kosofsky, non-profit sector professional extraordinaire! One of my business partners who I have known personally for many years, Sean Kosofsky is a true dynamic leader in the non-profit area. His previous job was as Executive Director of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, an organization created by the Clementi family which seeks to prevent bullying through inclusion, assertion of dignity and acceptance as a way to honor the memory of Tyler Clementi: a son, a brother and a friend. A few years ago, I interviewed Sean in this role for a blog about him and the foundation (link.)

Now Sean is a “Nonprofit Fixer.” He’s worked in nonprofits for 25 years and served as executive director for four organizations. He is a coach and consultant for boards, executive directors and activists of all stripes. His experience includes communications, victim-services, civil rights, environment, policy, bullying prevention, lobbying, management and much more.

Sean is passionate about building successful nonprofits. He especially wants to build strong boards and strong nonprofit CEOs. Sean learned how to run non-profits the hard way – by watching it be done wrong. Sean told me, “Being an Executive Director is incredibly rewarding but it is filled with unique challenges. It’s easy to be thrown into the deep end and told to sink or swim. Your bosses are volunteers who don’t even work at the nonprofit.

The training opportunity! So Sean is offering this online Executive Director Boot Camp course to fill a real gap in our sector…proper preparation for anyone interested in running a nonprofit. No fluff. No theory. No ice breakers. We get down to business with concrete tools and solid wisdom needed to succeed. Most executive directors would have killed to have this info before they started.”

You can learn more about the course and sign up at

Exploring Leadership, Talent Development and Innovation with a Local Senior ABB Executive

NOTE: I include several links to past blogs and resources I wrote that support the six leadership points Greg Scheu shared in his session.

C-Suites Perspectives April Speaker Greg Scheu, CEO of ABB North America and global head of the Business Integration and Group Services

C-Suites Perspectives April Speaker Greg Scheu, CEO of ABB North America and global head of the Business Integration and Group Services

In as many as three months, I attended my second “C-Suite Perspectives” breakfast hosted by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. It is really encouraging to hear from senior leaders who are truly enlightened and have a real heart for people and ethical leadership in today’s business world. It’s not all about cost cutting, layoffs, squeezing everything to make every ounce of profit; instead there are senior leaders who understand the larger picture that by leading in a way that develops talent and an organization that focuses on people in the long run leads to optimal business success.

In February, I attended the session with Jay Parker, CEO of Lenovo North America. (Link to my blog about that session.) The April 23rd session featured Greg Scheu, the CEO of ABB (link) North America and the head of Business Integration and Group Services globally. ABB is a global innovative leader in power and automation technologies with annual revenue of $42B and with 150,000 employees in 100 different countries.

Here are the six leadership points shared by Greg from his own career journey:

1. Your personal passions and aspirations need to align with the company in which you work. This will maximize enjoyment from work and career development. (The first blog I wrote – link – when I started my consulting practice is about being passionate about what I do)

2. If you take great care of your customers, they will take great care of you.

3. If you take good care of your people, they will stay. Part of this point is that a good leader needs to realize that he or she cannot do it alone and needs to build and lead empowered teams to sustain success.

4. Life is bigger than work. That also means that members of your team may go through rough periods in their personal lives and a good leader needs to be aware of that and provide support and understanding during those times.

5. Mentoring is key; it is very important to learn from others. (See by blog about mentoring)

6. Being a global leader requires a global mindset. I wrote a paper on leading in the diverse global economy (link) which is available on the Workforce Diversity Network website.

I look forward to more of these inspiring informational sessions from the Raleigh Greater Chamber of Commerce!