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Hello and welcome to
tony-martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95% of your aptly named host. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be hit with excess dough, sis if you shared the boneheaded idea that you missed today’s show. Big impact. Let’s learn the best ideas from the brightest leaders in social change. Vivian Hexter is co author of the book Big Impact, and she shares lessons and reflections from the author’s interviews for their book that originally aired April 27th. 2018 on tony Steak to the Legacy Fallacy were sponsored by wegner-C.P.As. Guiding you beyond the numbers wegner-C.P.As dot com But Cougar Mountain Software Denali Fund is there complete accounting solution made for nonprofits tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant. Martin for a free 60 day trial and by turned to communications, PR and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission. Turn hyphen to DOT CEO. Here’s a big impact.
It feels so good to be back in the studio and to have a guest in the studio. She’s Vivian Hexter. She’s sitting here life. It’s unbelievable. She’s right here during extra, she’s co author with Linda Hartley of the book Big Impact insights and strategies from America’s non profit leaders. She’s a principal also with Linda Hartley of H two growth Strategies. I’m gonna ask her if she does anything without Linda Hartley if they’re married or they’re married to each other’s brothers or something. I don’t know. Um, also talking about this company name. I think you blew it, but we’ll get to that. Um, So what do Vivian and Linda do in H two growth strategies? They advise nonprofits and foundations in strategies, effective marketing and increasing revenues both earned and contributed. She also coaches executives. She was CEO of Gilda’s Club Worldwide. You know them? The red doors. Everybody knows them. They are at H two growth strategies dot com, and she is at the Hexter. Welcome, Vivian Dexter.
Thank you, tony. It’s great to be here
for pleasure. Pleasure to have you in the studio. Um, this book You, uh you interviewed lots of people. We did Hominy, Hominy, non profit leaders. Did you seek out
near it Turned out to be nearly 50
50. Okay, but the cover only has 21 pictures that the top 21 of the 50
those air the 21 who are featured
those eyes that how it works. Okay, those are the ones I read about that featured okay through. But then you had quotes from another 39. That’s that’s right. Okay. Over how many years you you talk to these people.
So the process from start to finish took us about two years. The process of interviewing and then writing and editing and publishing the
book. Now, how do we know that you’ve got the best 50 non profit minds? How did you select out of the thousands that are available? Really?
Well, I have to say it’s a highly highly subjective
list. Your friends Well, ones that would meet you on your timetable.
In some cases, we knew the leaders before we approach them, but that was a really not very many of them did we know? So we really wanted to get a kind of a sampling of folks from the different, if you will, the verticals in the nonprofit sector. Because if you look for books on leadership, you find hundreds of corporate books, but not very many non profit books. And when we looked for non profit books on leadership, we found one for Christian leaders. One for Jewish leaders, one for museum directors. Ah, but not one for leaders who who work in any number of health, the environment. Education. So we really trying to get a broad sample of missions on dhe segments?
Okay, So you thought through this project we did it is not just slapdash, no. Okay. Thrown together. All right, so the book is worthwhile. All right. I’m gonna make sure we got the brightest minds here. We’re gonna be talking for an hour. I don’t want to be. When we talk about advice from lackluster, lackluster leaders, we wouldn’t
We wouldn’t dream of having
poor performers. No, no, no, no. Okay. Okay. Um, now, you you mentioned before we went on air. You’re back in your neighborhood. This is the West seventies. Very comfortable to you.
Yes. Yes. I love for 15 years.
A life experiences, right? Yes. Within a few blocks of
Yes. Yes, Like a trip down memory lane.
All right. You said, uh, you said married. You say born. No, You weren’t born here. No married?
No, no. Married when I was single. Then I was married for the first time. And then I was divorced,
all within a few blocks of
all within a few blocks
with studio in West 72nd Street. All right, cool. Any place is Ah. Look familiar. The bank on the corner, Chase Bank. Oh, that’s where you had to divide your accounts. It’s where you go in there and get them to separate your mind. A nice That’s a That’s a lovely memory. Okay. Any other? Any good places?
Oh, there’s some wonderful shops on Columbus Avenue
top shoes. Still here? Oh, yes. Here’s
the shop. I used to shop a tip top there. Good. Good place to share an
excellent shoe store. What are, uh, by the way? Yes, I have a couple of shoes. The shoes of the roots I’m wearing today. The rain boots I’m wearing today. Tiptop shoes. Shout out to them. Uh, all right, so that’s free. Free media for them. All right. Um, let’s go back to your book. So you break it down into like, you have. You have a lot of interviews, Um, and you break it down into subjects, and then you and you and Linda comment on, you know, like leadership and getting your house in order and being persistent. It’s okay. So, uh, I I’m certainly gonna give you a chance to talk. About what? What’s tops for you. Like what stands out for you, But I come first. Absolutely. It’s your show. Thank you. Usually, I have to say that, you know, I have to remind guests I appreciate you’re acknowledging that without prompting leadership, I’d like to talk about the leadership leadership section. Huh. Um, you get some advice from, Ah, A few people have been on the show. Actually, Henry Timms has, uh, has been on. So I’m working on getting him back as he has a new book, you know, Does new power? Yes. Fine. Wegner. Figure out what new power is. Yes, and hear how you can embrace it. Own it. So we’re working on getting Henry Timms. Of course he’s the, uh I don’t have a CEO. Whatever. Executive director of 92nd Street y So he says he must, You know, build your your your e I your emotional intelligence as a part of leadership. Talk a little about being that humanist.
Yeah. So? So you asked me What? What? What stood out for us? Or you said
you were gonna let me about it comes if you if you can blend them together. That’s very talented,
right? So, in fact, the
don’t bother asking you later.
The emotional intelligence of the leaders we spoke to was really, really striking. Tow us, Really striking. So and Henry Timms, I mean, almost to a person. And even if they admitted to not having been so emotionally intelligent when they were younger, they really, really focused on becoming that. And they clearly were. They admitted when they were wrong, they were able to turn tragedy into something greater. They they were working on diversity equity and inclusion, even if it was uncomfortable. If they were white males, for example, eso So they really they really exhibit kind of the the into to a great degree, the characteristics that you would want in a person you worked for?
Yeah. Admitting you’re wrong. Yes. A bunch of people have touched on that. Yes, uh, being having uncomfortable conversations, um, sharing with staff when you’re not confident in something. Yes. You know, anything you want to flush out about why that makes you a good leader.
Well, I think it’s it makes you a good leader in the in the 21st century. I don’t think it probably did in the past when leadership was about command and control and right. So but But in the 21st century, where, um,
we’re here now? Yeah. This current?
Yeah, where information is so readily available to everyone. It’s really important to be honest and vulnerable with your staff because they’re They’re probably gonna find out anyway if you
Yeah. No, I’m sorry. I raised my She’s just so, like I wantto say the s o r. Scared her by raising my hand. Um, yeah. People think that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. I think it’s actually sign of strength. It’s a sign of confidence that you are willing to be vulnerable in front of staff and audience, whatever.
Right? But that’s because you’re a modern man.
Thank you. All right, well, on that, we gotta go for a break. You believe that? All right, hold that thought. We’re gonna come back to that that immediate thought.
It’s time for a break. We have used the service’s of wegner-C.P.As for many years. Their service is excellent. The auditors provide clear directions and timetables. They’re professional and thorough, but also easy to work with. They answer questions promptly. End quote. That’s an HR professional in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Do you need that kind of C p a. Would that be helpful for you wegner-C.P.As dot com Now back to big impact.
Now, let’s go back to Vivian Hexter. Um all right, So what was the last thing you said? Uh, it was a very poignant sentence. You said
I said, You’re That’s because you’re a modern man.
Was it? Yes, that’s right. That’s right. Thank you for refreshing my recollection. Yes. Okay. We’ll come back to that point a few times. Um, yeah. No, but I think vulnerability is a very good sign of confidence and and strong leadership. I mean, in front of an audience or your staff or whatever. You know, it’s a sign of strength and confidence, I think.
Yeah, right, Right. And I think so, too. And so do the leaders in the book. I would say not everybody believes that right? In an hour analysis. This is one of the things that really is a sign of emotional intelligence and of being a great leader for the modern, for the modern, non profit, and I would argue corporate era.
Okay, Excellent. And, uh, self awareness, too. I guess that’s all Rats wrapped up really? In every Yeah, right. Yes, I D’oh! D’oh! Okay, um, see what l see. If it’s ah, exploring, there’s some, uh, there’s some thoughts about exploring life and work. You you make some points about, um, be an explorer. There’s some advice in the book about not following the path that others follow right out of college. You know, follow your own path. But But you and Linda also have some commentary on being an explorer in life and work.
Yes. So I think a lot of a number of our leaders said you should really make sure that when you’re in your twenties, you get out of the environment in which you grew up and go somewhere else. So if you are not able to go overseas, go to another state. If you live in the north, go to the south. If you live in the South, go to the North because the experience of living with and working in another culture really is a huge benefit to developing that self awareness, the cultural awareness that is so important to being a leader in the global.
How does this help you? I’m not. I’m not opposed to the idea. Although I’d rather see more people from the south coming north than me from the north going south. But, uh, no. How is this? How would this help me, um, expand my my leadership capacity.
So when one of the traits of leadership is to be able to put yourself in the other shoes at least I I think so. And if you take if you take yourself out of the environment that you’re most comfortable in that you grew up in and put yourself elsewhere physically, right, you’re gonna be with people, even in the U. S. If you move from the South to the north who are different from you, who think differently, dressed differently, have different pastimes. And certainly if you go abroad, you’re going to be in a completely other culture. So I worked for eight years for F s intercultural program,
American Field Service High School.
Yes. So I have a real bias on this one. I’ll admit that I that I think that the people who are best able to deal with others and persuade them inspire them. Lead them Lead change with them are those who have really gotten out of their comfort zones When they were early in their careers and gone elsewhere to live and work.
So they know how that feels. They could be uncomfortable. So so that encouraging others to do it in your work. Let’s test something that we haven’t done. Let’s try something different. I want we’re gonna explore a program that we have done etcetera. You know what? That vulnerable vulnerability. You know what that feels like?
Yes. Yes. Because you lived correct. You live that incredible discomfort of being a stranger in a foreign land.
Someone else who’s been a guest on this show that you Ah, you profile on dhe interview is are you finger? We love our Yes, I do, too. CEO of Do something dot or ge took over from Nancy Lublin and then non Now also, of course, they’ve spun off T m I. And she’s Is she the CEO of tea? Mm. No, no, she’s only do something.
No, no, she’s radio
of C m iles
CEO and Chief old person.
Old person. Okay. Okay. Of both. Yeah, um so she, she admonishes, may be too strong. I don’t know. She encourages mentor ship Finding a mentor. Yes, finding a mentor when you’re getting started and being a mentor when you’re in the CEO ranks, or as you’re working your way up, what’s the value to the leader? Let go because we’re looking at from leadership perspective. What’s the value of mentoring?
The value is number one. You’re reminded where you came from. And if you’re supervising younger employees, which you almost certainly are, that it helps you to be helping someone who’s trying to get a job somewhere. It helps you to remember what it was like
mom or empathy.
And ah, and it also honestly, to be a mentor feels good. It’s it’s Ah, it’s a way of passing the torch, not passing the torch. Exactly. It’s a way of, um, paying it forward if you will. On and really making sure that the next generation of leaders has the same has has the benefit of your wisdom while you’re still alive.
Yeah, Yeah. All right. How about for people who are younger, what’s the value of having a mentor?
So it really you know, parents often tell their kids what not to do because they did it, and we’re sorry to do it. So you have to be a little careful, I think, because you want to help young people avoid some of the mistakes that you made when you were early in your career. Recognizing that they’re gonna have to make some themselves, you can’t prevent them from making some. But if you can point the way and if you can help them build their networks, which we all know, the networks are just critic
critical for growing up. So if you want, if you want to continue in your career, you need tohave. Ah, robust professional network.
Yes, yes, and a strong and powerful mentor who has lots of relationships from having been in the field for a long time. And if that person is generous and willing to share some of those relationships with you and introduce you to people, that’s one of the greatest values in mentor ship.
Should you pursue a mentor? So now I’m looking at it from the person younger in there, non profit career, Uh, who’s in your organization or now you should really go outside. It’s kind of hard to open up to somebody because they’d be senior to you, right? That’s that. Seems little counterproductive.
Yeah, I think it You really have to. If you want an authentic mentor relationship, you have to look outside
the organization. Um, any What would you like to say? Now that has your chance. Um, now it’s all here, so your chance spotlight is on you, but leadership? Anything. Ah, you wanna You wanna add about leadership? That didn’t strike me?
Um, no. I think what I want to do is talk a little bit about what happened after we did the interviews. Right? Because we had all of this material, right? And from having talked to nearly 50 people. And
is it 50 or nearly 50? Now you’re You’re hedging,
knows 47 but nearly 50 sounds, you know, more rounder, right? Yeah,
but originally reset 50. No, it’s not 50. It’s 46 47 47 years. Structure. Precision. Absolutely. Your zeal. Read 21 profiles in the book, which is which are excellent. And then you’ll get you’ll get quotes from an additional, uh how many? 18 2020 28 people. That would be 40 maybe 49 2026 people. All right, let’s keep it straight on non profit radio. Yeah, absolutely. Don’t let the folks confuse you. No. Nor the guest, either. Okay,
Uh, so the so we had all this material, this wonderful material, and we and we knew the book was about leadership because that’s what we set out, that the questions that we asked really were about leadership. But we thought, Oh, go. Oh, boy, The book has to be about something Maur than just leadership. And so what we discovered is that the book is really about the good news and social change. It’s about the how to make a lasting positive social change because many of the leaders we spoke with are actually doing that every day, making positive social change, often without a lot of fanfare, because it’s the nonprofit sector and no one has the money, the advertising budget that a Coca Cola or Pepsi has. And so So we wanted to do a couple things. We wanted people to recognize that in a time when there’s lots of not so good stuff happening, that there actually is a lot
of a lot of good stuff
happening. We wanted more people to know about that. Good stuff. Ah, and we wanted people to be ableto learn from the steps that these leaders outlined for us that became the principles of seven principles that bracket the book. We wanted people to be able to learn from that to make change in their own communities. Let you know. I mean, if they’re working in their own communities, it could be their states, their countries. But the idea is that there’s practical knowledge to be gained here as well as sort of principles. And what have you
Yeah. No. And yeah, I like the details. I mean, that’s why you know, I like, you know, like find a mentor. Mentor? Yes. No. Up your game in. Ah, in emotional intelligence, etcetera. Yeah. All right. Um, can we Ah, I’d like to Ah, getting your house in order in your own organization upto up to where it should be. Right? Principle number two. Yeah, why don’t you Why don’t you overview that and why? It’s important to walk the walk and, um and then, you know, I’ll ask you I ask you something that stuck out for me.
sure. So what? What are leaders told us? And we we really pretty much knew this already. So it was great to have all these leaders saying It is that if your organization is really functional and a good place to work in all the dimensions of what that means, then it’s going to be much easier for you, for your organization to be innovative and to have employees who stay in the organization rather than move on so quickly. Eso you’ll get good organization, you’ll get good institutional memory, and it’ll just be easier to make the change that that you wish to make that to achieve your mission, it’ll be easier and more effective. Ah, so and again, you know, getting your own house in order. It means a lot of things, right, So we have a sort of a selective list. You could list many, many, many things that a leader should do to make sure that his or her house is in order. But some of them include, and this is this is kind of ah ah, A stereotype Recruit talented, passionate employees. Ah, and then retain them. Ah, make sure you have a number two even if that person is not the obvious successor to you. Ah, those kinds of things, right? So in the kind of the human resource is, um, sphere, right? We thought these were really, really important. Make sure that that you’re working on diversity equity and inclusion. This is a, uh, something that all of our leaders are focused on now.
And as a routine part of there. There there, work. It’s not a campaign, no campaign for divers. No, it’s just ongoing, always evolving. It’s always part of their hiring and retaining.
Yes, this is It is another thing that really struck us about about what the leaders were saying is that they had you had to start somewhere when if you were working on diversity equity and inclusion and usually you have to start at the top. You know, the CEO would be the one to be the catalyst for it. But then you you could never stop. Uh, you and you had to keep addressing it from different angles and different levels of the organization, and that was something of a surprise to us.
One of the people suggest hiring people that are smarter than you and including for your board. And he says, I don’t remember who it is, But he says everybody around him is smarter than him and again, including board. Um, again, you know, that’s that goes back to vulnerability. I mean, obviously, these things overlap, but, you know, getting talented people who fill gaps, that of knowledge that you were in the institution don’t have.
Yes, it takes a lot of humility. Yeah. T be able to really do that. You know, everybody says to say it, but it is much harder to do. In practice, you really have to be vulnerable and humble to be able to admit that you don’t have all the skills, and you certainly don’t have a lock on the intelligence. Ah, and that seems to be It seemed to us to us to be a theme.
You mentioned the hiring and, um, terror. This one I do know came from Terra Berry, CEO of National Court appointed special advocates. And it was interesting. Very poignant that she herself was a foster child. I did some training for a casa in, uh, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, someplace many years ago. Plan giving training. Um, she likes the idea of having a series of interviews to demonstrate a candidate’s commitment.
We thought that was brilliant.
You’re dragging them through? Yeah, yeah. You don’t keep showing up. If you have the patience for this, you can tolerate our work.
Yes, yes. I thought that was really, really interesting. It’s part of the higher slowly fire quickly. Right. But it takes higher slowly to a whole new level, right where you should You keep creating excuses for the person to come back. Of course, its course. You planned it out right? But they come and they talk to one person, and then they come back and they get a tour, and then they come back and they talk to another person. Then they come back and talk to a volunteer. Or And the idea is that if they and particularly the young person, that if they have the patience to stay with you through a process that takes a couple of months, right,
so interesting. Yeah, there are a few a few months
that this that this could really, um, weed out some of the young people who just need a job and don’t have any interest in your mission. and really have no interest in the nonprofit sector.
Yeah, they’ll just they’ll just drop it. I can’t tolerate that. It’s six along. Okay, um, somebody talks about, and it may have been you and Linda autonomy in decision making, giving employees autonomy, authority to make decisions.
So that’s another s o. You know, Now you’ve got the talented, passionate employees, right? And you want to keep them. Ah, and one of the best ways to keep them is to give them autonomy and shale. Pollack house Sharansky, who runs a bank Street College of education. Ah was most articulate. I thought about this idea. Um, he talks about having been a, um, assistant principal in a high school in Queens. Doesn’t really matter. Um, and his boss was really, really clear with him about where they were meeting point a where they want, where he wanted him to get to meeting point B, but giving him great latitude in how to get from point A to point B with point B again being very clearly defined with measurable with metric since and so on. And I think if you think about bright people, they tend not all of them but they tend to want to try things they don’t want to be told what to do all the time. Ah, they really want to have the space to make decisions themselves. And this is what this is. What is meant by having having autonomy in this in this sense, and it’s a really again. It’s a really, really great thing to aspire to. It’s harder to do.
Yeah, you have to have a lot of faith in the people you have employed. You have hired, uh, you have to be willing to delegate and give degrees of freedom
and not micromanage
right and and accept failure because everybody is not gonna make it to point B. You know, they’re gonna get derailed sometimes. Um, all those things I mean those right, those are all difficult. But But you tell me essential for growth, right? For the organization, growth individuals,
Absolutely. And the idea being that you’re not, it’s not like you’re not going to check in with them between points and be right, you know, so that the things we’re really going awry, you’re gonna know it pretty early on. Ah, but yes. The idea is that autonomy is a critical part of growing up as as an employee and executive.
It’s, um it’s Tom. Tom Dent, a CEO of Ah, Hugh Mentum. Who who says Take work seriously? Not yourself. Right. More humility. More vulnerability?
Well, yes. And allowing laughter. Laughter not in the workplace. Yeah, laughter in the workplace. And maybe not just laughter around you, but sometimes laughter at you. You know, you make a silly statement or, you know, think about it. Really takes a lot of emotional intelligence to be able to allow people to laugh with you slash at you.
It’s hard to imagine that in an office.
I I’ve actually been in on it.
That’s why I’m not an employee anymore. Wrong. I pick the wrong places. I would be a terrible employee. Now. I’m so autonomous that I would shoot myself in the interview just in an interview stage. I would, um, but yeah. No, I I’m thinking of the two CEOs. Yeah, there was No. Yeah. Now they would not have tolerated that, but it does with the nineties to, um Yeah, I mean, just yeah, don’t just just just be personable. I mean, just be a person nobody expects in this culture. We don’t We don’t expect perfection from our from our leaders.
No. Well, maybe some people. D’oh! Ah, But what? We’re arguing that you that you don’t need to and that you shouldn’t.
We need to take a break. Cougar Mountain Software designed from the bottom up. Four Non profits. What does that mean for you? It’s got what nonprofits need. Like fund accounting grant and donor management. Exceptional customer support. Fraud prevention. They have a free 60 day trial on the listener landing page at now. It’s time for Tony’s Take Two. The Legacy fallacy. I’ve been seeing this for years. Uh, plan giving promotional materials that talk about the potential donors legacy will help you plan your legacy. Uh, think about your legacy legacy giving on it. It got to the my, uh, front of my consciousness because I just did a webinar recently, and one of the questions lead with the premise that, you know, I know we have to talk about legacy giving, but and then he went on to ask, ask the rest of the question Um and I, uh I disagreed with his premise that you have to talk about legacy giving, and I disagree with the whole idea that legacy should be an important part of your plan giving promotion. I’ve had thousands of conversations with people in their sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties, and very, very rarely I can’t even remember. But I’m gonna I’m just assuming it’s come up once or twice, but it’s extraordinarily rare. Folks are just not thinking of themselves as leaving a legacy, creating a legacy. If your donors are, uh, George Soros or Donald Trump, they probably think of legacy. The average doner, the average plan gift donor. I hardly ever hear it. I can’t remember a time that I did, but I’m being generous. Um, it is not essential to talk about legacy giving, and I don’t think it’s right. I think it’s a mistake. That’s not what your donors are thinking about themselves as a legacy. They just think of themselves as donors as supporting your cause. In their estate plan. There’s more on the video and the video. You know where the video is. It’s called the Legacy fallacy, and it’s at tony-martignetti dot com, and that is tony Stick to let us continue with Vivian Hexter and big impact.
Thank you, Vivian Dexter for obliging me. Ah, well, I do that. Thank everybody. Vivian. Of course. Co author of the book with Linda Hartley. Big impact. Um, there are consultancy is H two growth strategies dot com. Um, yeah. So I have someone I want to ask you about. That I think you blew it. The company name age to grow. It should be a TSH to grow. You should stop hte and then you get the water. Get the H two grand. I get the h two Hexter and Hartley. I get that h to grow. We should be h to grow And then we feed your roots We water your leaves. I don’t You know you could It’s to grow.
Oh, wow. What? We’ll have to We’ll have to look and see
take and should be h to grow
Yeah, you’d be surprised by how difficult it is. Or maybe you wouldn’t be to get a girl that’s not taken
tony-martignetti dot com was not to Ah, wasn’t is not very popular. Now I got to compete with the martignetti liquor dynasty up in the Boston Massachusetts era. Uh, you said you You told me earlier. You vacation on Cape Time? God, Do you know the martignetti liquor dynasty? A liquor stores, maybe. All right, there. They’re up there. You direct their supermarkets of liquor. Maybe Maybe our listeners. A lot of the settlers in Somerville, Mass. May know them, but these air supermarkets not just look corner stores. And but I got tony-martignetti dot com. I don’t know. Maybe they don’t have any Tony’s I don’t know. Um, I couldn’t get martignetti dot com They have that, uh, liquor barons. Okay. Um, I was also gonna owe Gilda’s club. Yeah, the red doors. Yeah. Yeah. You were CEO of Guilt for years.
I waas and ah, it’s a wonderful organization. It’s now part of the wellness community. It merged with the wellness community after I left. At the time, we had maybe
drive it into the ground, did it then? That’s why they merge. Know that there were There were inference. You made the inference available. I want us. I want to feel
Yeah. Okay, go for it. So there were about 30 Gilda’s clubs throughout North America and I had to visit everyone. Ah, and we I inherited an organization where the founder and principal funder was us was beginning to, um, not want to be the sole supporter of the organization any longer, okay? And so we had to build the board, and I have a board that would really contribute in fundraise a significant amount. And we, um we doubled the revenue in the time I was there. We developed? Yeah, it was It was a good It’s a wonderful organization, you know? It provides emotional and social support for people with cancer, Their families and friends.
Yes. Oh, families and friends, too. I was just for the cancer patient survivor. No, not true. Okay, um let’s see, uh, what would you like to talk about? I have other topics. I want good, But what what strikes you about all these 47 interviews? What? What moves you the most?
It was inspiring to talk to these leaders.
Inspiration? That’s one of things I want to talk about. All right.
It’s really, really inspiring. I mean, Thio be able. You know, we asked some fairly intimate questions like, What’s the What’s the worst and best thing that’s ever happened to you in your life? And what did
you mean? What’s your definition of happiness. Yes. You know, all these interviews face to face,
many of them were face to face. Any
of them were my phone probably tried to do face. We tried to do it face to
face. Yes, but even even on the phone, right. These and and in many in most instances, in some instances, wth e leaders had asked to see the questions beforehand. But in some instances, they had not seen them. So they were really kind of, um uh, we got there sort of their raw, fresh first response to some of these questions and it really the way that many of them have turned tragedy into achievement into empathy into mission. It’s really you mentioned Tara Perry at the National Casa. Ah, and you know Leon Botstein at Bard College, whose daughter was killed when she was seven years old, crossing the street to get to the bus. Ah, and he, you know, that was early on in his time at Bard. And, uh, he said, you know, his first impulse was to throw himself out the window, but what he did was he built, barred into really ah force to be reckoned with and and highly innovative place. You know, they were the first to teach in prisons, or among the first Ah, they were They haven’t this early college, which they now have not just in the U. S. But around the world where kids can earn associate degrees in there. Four years of high school. Ah, and so is highly innovative place. Um And he So I one has to believe, right, that he took that tragedy and sort of turned that took that anger, energy, whatever, and put it into building barred into the institution that it is
for Children. I mean, well, not for for for college students, but you know that his child never got to be
Yes, yes. Oh, yes. So So it’s really was really inspiring to to hear this, to hear that wisdom and to hear how willing these, uh, leaders were to share with us. So that was another thing that surprised us. We knew a few of them before, but most of them we didn’t know and ah, and we only had I would say, of all the people we asked, we only had one or two turndowns, and that was a very you know, like high level, Incredibly busy. So
let’s not focus on the one or two.
No, no, no, no. But my point is that
going to share
willing to share And I think partially again because people don’t ask non profit leaders a lot about their strategies and their insight. They ask corporate leaders, right, not non profit leaders. So to be able to talk about what was important to them and how they got into where they are and what they see for the future was really, um, really felt good to them. Ah, and and we’re hopeful that the people who read the book will want to learn more about some of these organizations and possibly support
them At least let it certainly learned and get inspired by the book. Get the book, for Pete’s sake. It sze called big impact. Um, just get the thing, you know, we can’t We can’t cover it all in an hour. Um, now No, she she endorses. No, certainly not. Um, persistence. Another another ah. Topic you get you to talk about, um somebody says somebody says, Oh, this is ah, Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. You cannot win every battle, but Lou’s forward. What you talking about,
what he’s saying? For So, for example, so a freedom to marry Waas, one of the key organizations in winning legalization of gay marriage, equality. And Evan worked on this for 32 years from the time he wrote his law school thesis about it. And I have to say he Evan is brilliant. Ah, and he described to us some of the strategies that freedom to marry and its coalition used to win gay marriage. And when he talks about losing forward, want an example of that is going to the South and having an having activity campaigns in the South, even though he knew they knew it would be much more difficult to get people in the South to really before gay marriage. But they knew they had to engage with the people in the South. They had to engage all over the country. And, um, the same is true, you know, in certain cultures, arm or conservative, like the Latino culture. Ah, and they engage. They had they had campaigns with Latinos, they had campaigns with African Americans, and they just kept pushing forward, even though again they knew that they weren’t gonna win everybody’s. They weren’t gonna win all hearts and minds, right? Onley only enough to make it happen.
So there’s the inspiration. He worked on this for over 30 years of his law school thesis. Yes, Excuse me. And, um, you know, there’s there’s someone who’s been on the show. Paul Lo Big wrote a book called The Impossible Will Take a little while. You know, you have to stay with this somebody someone of one of the people you you interview says that a profound change takes time. That might have been you. And Linda said that a profound change takes time. Um, but you know, that’s part of the inspiration that, to me that which feeding that is the, uh, the vision that the leader brings to the organization and and the incremental steps toward that vision, whether it’s eliminating poverty, you know, in ah, in metropolitan Boston, you know, whatever it is that that commitment division and then and bringing people together who said who loved who support that vision and are willing to work at it for 30 years
and celebrate the small victories right and and really be good at doing that. Celebrate the small victories and making sure that your people are taking care of themselves so that they don’t get burnt out.
Life balance. Yeah, One of your I think it’s I have a bill. Bill Uhlfelder talks about life balance and says, If you’re if you’re waiting to get kind of connected your family over vacations and sabbaticals, you know, you’re you’re losing your family. Yes. Balance, right? Yes. It’s essential for persistence.
Well, it is. It is. So this is one where our leaders were sort of all over the map. Okay? Most of them were striving for work. Life balance, right, Most of them. And then a few were unapologetically workaholic. And one said, um, there’s no such thing as work, life, balance. There’s just life, and work is a part of it. That was Larry Kramer at the William
and Flora Hewlett Foundation. No, life is a part of it. All right, That’s fair. That’s yes. That’s a decent Balan,
right? I objective. Yes. Yeah, I think I think Larry works pretty hard.
Okay. Um all right, well, yeah. Um, it’s something. It’s a life practice.
Absolutely. I’m I’m sort of joking. Yes, we. We believe that work life balance is essential, particularly when you’re working on seemingly intractable problems that will take a while to solve.
Impossible will take a little while. All right,
Time for our last break. Do you ever wonder why some nonprofits are always mentioned in the news? It’s because they worked to build relationships with journalists. Who matter to them. Turn to communications can help you do that. Their former journalists. They specialize in helping nonprofits build meaningful media relationships that lead to great coverage there at turn hyphen to dot CEO. We’ve got butt loads more time for big impact
animated and then bring it back down. What a talent on what? A talent. It’s just unfortunate that one took prompting. Um, okay, so yes, we’re striving for balance. It’s a life’s practice. Don’t give it up. I mean, don’t just don’t just, ah, surrender and say my family’s gotta wait. No, My loved ones have to rate my friends, even friends go to your go to a college reunion now and then. High school reunion now and then connect. Yes. Okay. Anything. What? You want to say that Yes, like you’re exhausted. It It’s just essential right?
It’s it’s essential, but both Linda and I believe strongly in it.
I was just at a college reunion last weekend. Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon. Uh oh. Fraternity. A bunch of guys got together. So it’s on my mind on my mind. And plus I’m always admonishing. I probably am. I’m not just encouraging are probably I’m admonishing. That’s I think that’s the right word. Listeners through the show and videos like sometimes wag my finger in a video. Um, take time for yourself. You know, if you want to give your in a giving profession if you want to give effectively, I think you have to take yes. And taking is being selfish and taking time for yourself and your family, and sometimes even just for yourself, like quiet solitude kind of time. If you want to give, I believe you have to take
yes, yes, and all too often I think in nonprofits, the feeling of there’s great. Believe it, feeling of intensity about having to accomplish the mission. So it’s hard to to do that to take the time that is essential
you got. And you gotta make the time, right? Yeah, Zach is gonna find it. I can never find the time. Yeah, well, time is not gonna tap you on the shoulder and say, here I am. You found me. You gotta affirmatively make the time. Yes, yes. Don’t keep trying to find it. No, not gonna. It’s not gonna make itself apparent to, you
know. And it’ll be uncomfortable at first to take the time.
Yeah, right. The first time you may
be the first half doesn’t
I’m abandoning ship. Yeah. How are they gonna get along without Yeah? Well, you need to have the humility to recognize that they can write. All right. See how this all fits together. Just get the book, for God’s sake, it so it all fits together. Um, okay. Uh, you mentioned Larry Kramer Hewlett Foundation, did you not? Yes. Is it? He says relationships matter in this in this persistence and, um, drive toward mission. You know, relationships talk about relationships.
So what Larry is saying, it actually is that for him, life is all about relationships. It’s more than just the mission, right? You know, it is the mission, but to him, it’s it’s That’s what That’s what it’s about. And I think it’s particularly important in the nonprofit world because so many of the missions of the organizations that we work in are have social missions right there about either caring for people or teaching people to care for themselves. Or and so it’s really, really important to be able to relate well to people because there’s also the fact that in the nonprofit sector you can’t play. P pent can’t pay people top dollar Ah, and so there have to there have to be other benefits toe working inside a non profit. And one of those is having caring relationships with the people you work with
and also organizational relationships. Partnering type Liz Yes, lash out that
because these days, right? So number one funders like partnerships increasingly. And you know, we have lots and lots of non profits in this country over a 1,000,000 of them, and maybe a few too many on the ah lot of the missions of those organizations are complimentary on, and so I think it’s really incumbent on organizations to make strategic partnerships a priority. It’s it’s it’s It’s critical not only because funding is limited, because funders like partnerships, but because you get more done for less money.
Yeah. There’s a synergy. Yes. Uh, we’ve had guests on talking about how to find the right partners. Get your board by in the board. The board process of formal partnerships and things. Um, yes. All right. So explore those, you know, Think about those, um, So I’m gonna turn back to you. Let’s talk about something that interests you in the book that we haven’t talked about yet. Great. You know, gets all your book. She’s she’s I feel I feel bad for the guests to bring notes or but she’s in that Vivian doesn’t know what she’s been clutching her book, but they never get a chance to read the notes. They bring them, they feel security. I tell them they won’t have time. They hold the notes anyway. And then, um, they never get a chance to look at them because, you know, because we’re having a conversation. What did you find? You. You peruse your table of contents? Yes, I did.
I did. So I I want to go back to Evan Wolfson because I really think that if you read the interview with Evan Wolfson that that interview is kind of a lesson in how to make social change evidence. The on Lee, one of the 47 leaders who has accomplished his mission completely and disbanded his organization.
That’s that’s telling that never happens. Usually, organizations expand to find a new mission.
So Evan now is, ah, high level advisor to other countries around the world that where people are trying to get gay marriage legalized, and he also consults to some. I think now he’s consulting to immigration organizations in this country to try to help them. Ah, but he no longer has an organization himself, and I think his, um the the understanding, how freedom to marry and it’s coalitions achieved. The mission is it’s really instructive. It’s really a It’s like a primer in how to make positive social change. Because he did, he did all of it. They got He got really clear about the goal. That’s one of the principles and learned how to articulate it persuasively and and specifically, at a certain point, learned that if you made it about, um, the legal aspect of of gay marriage in the public eye, it was not gonna be as effective as if you talked about giving people um, make having people be ableto love who they wanted to love. At a certain point in the campaign, they really switched the way they talked about gay marriage, and that was really critical to it becoming possible. Uh, and then another principle is build. So you have to campaign on many fronts you have, and you have to build broad based coalition.
Let’s talk about the many fronts. That’s a section of the book. Yeah,
so the the idea is that you really this is sort of the partnership idea is part of part of this, that you can’t do it alone and that if you’re not striving to influence the private sector and government, which are the two dominant sectors in our economy, then you’re really not going to make lasting social change. And so you have to work with those sectors. You have to learn how to talk to those sectors on, and, um, and you have to be working on lots of different levels all at once, because otherwise it’s not gonna happen. And that includes, um, working with faith based organizations, which some people, some organizations, know how to do, and others don’t but and again. Leon Botstein at Bard makes a really, really interesting point about this. He says that somehow a lot of us, particularly on the coast, I guess have sort of decided that, um, faith based organizations are not important anymore that, you know, because of the increasing secularization of our society that we don’t need to worry about them. But the truth is that they’re very particularly in the middle of the
country. So that may be true in some parts of very powerful on a vast board,
right? Very, very powerful. And we And if you really want to make social change in your community, you’re gonna have to work with those organizations because they’re often the ones that are already working on it, right? They have. They have the soup kitchen. They have the, um, the homeless shelter. You know, they’re they’re already actively engaged in making change or taking care of the people in their communities. And so you really have to reach out to them.
And they’re in the community there. Yes, there the communities, they know the local leaders, whether they’re the official leaders of the unofficial leaders, if you want to work in it, Yeah. If you wanna make real change and work in the grassroots, you need to know who the unofficial leaders are. Direct in the community. Yes. And your faith based the the organization’s Know that stuff? Yes. There, there, they’ve been They’ve been there for decades and generations. Yes. Okay. Um, yeah. So you Ah, you’re sort of where we just have a couple minutes left together. What? What struck you about some of the questions you got answers. You got to the question. You asked everybody. How do you define happiness?
So, you know, it’s Ah, that’s a highly personal question, right? I mean, in the sense in the sense that it’s different for everyone and some of our leaders, because their lives are so frenetic, all they want is peace and quiet. To them, that’s happiness. But that’s regal. Yeah, yeah. Um, and then for some, it’s being with their families and, you know, spending time with the people they love. Ah, and you know, interestingly when we had not a lot of them said, um, you know, happiness is sitting at my desk for 12 hours a day for
a lot of money or
a lot of No, no, that not this group. Not this girl. Now and again. That’s part of the emotional intelligence, right? Isn’t understanding what really makes life worth living, which is relationships and meaningful work and all of those things.
Okay, um, let’s see. What do you love about the work you’re doing?
Well, I’ve always been mission driven tony out. You know, I got an MBA, and I tried to work in the corporate world, but I wasn’t happy. And Senator, Lord and Taylor, I was there in that fire lord, and then I was that I was at best foods as a product manager. Didn’t work. No. No. And so what really makes me happy is, um, is helping to make positive change in the world. I mean, that’s and helping the underdog. I’ve always wanted to help the underdog.
You gotta leave it there. All right. She’s Vivian Dexter. Get the book, For God’s sake. It’s called big Impact insights and strategies from America’s Big Impact Insights and Stories. Who wrote strategies. I needed an intern to blame for this insights and stories from America’s non profit leaders. If I had an intern, they’d be fired. If you want to recommend anybody, Let me know.
Next week it Zombie loyalists with Peter Shankman. If you missed any part of today’s show, I beseech you, find it on tony-martignetti dot com were sponsored by wegner-C.P.As Guiding you beyond the numbers. Wegner-C.P.As dot com by Cougar Mountain Software Denali Fund Is there complete accounting solution made for nonprofits tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant Mountain for a free 60 day trial and by turned to communications, PR and content for nonprofits, your story is their mission. Turn hyphen to dot CEO Creative
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