Leadership Insights Podcast

Are you a leader or an aspiring leader who truly cares about your organization, people and culture? Then this podcast is for you! We bring you educational, enlightening interviews with today’s most innovative, inspirational leaders. Each episode is filled with inspiring stories, new perspectives and invaluable tools to help you communicate, innovate and lead even more successfully!
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Jun 27, 2020

“We need to mobilize resources where they're most needed so we can bring up everyone to the same level of thriving.”

Tonia Wellons is a fan of the African proverb "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together."  Except during the COVID crisis, Tonia has moved lightning-fast AND together, by galvanizing dozens of philanthropic organizations to drive unprecedented levels of coordinated resources to the most vulnerable of communities.  She is brilliantly leading the strategic, focused efforts of Washington-area funders to mitigate the disproportional pandemic impact on communities of color.

Tonia is intentional about leading a long-term, deep, systemic transformation in the world, starting with our community. And she is just getting started! 

What you'll learn

  • How Tonia’s perspective as a leader has been influenced by historical, family and geographic factors, bridging generations and geographic boundaries - from ancestors in slavery to rural, community-focused upbringing, to work spanning the globe and social justice arenas.
  • Why reflecting on history-defining events and people - from Doug Wilde to Rodney King to Nelson Mandela to George Floyd – compel her quest for social justice and hopeful perspective that light will emerge from darkness.
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted inequities and disproportional impact on communities of color.
  • Gifts and challenges of collaborating across philanthropic organizations and priority areas.
  • Why Tonia and her colleagues have prioritized COVID giving in areas of: food security, domestic and community violence, legal services, medical care and access, housing and homelessness, education and education and youth.
  • Reasons it’s crucial to support leaders of color whose organizations are consistently underfunded.
  • Tonia’s perspective on how this crisis is different due to current cultural, governance, and democracy failures underpinned by racial inequities.
  • Why police reform needs to become a focus in every jurisdiction.
  • What each of us can do to contribute to the much-needed transformation in our country.
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

About Tonia Wellons

Tonia Wellons is the President & CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the largest public foundation in the Greater Washington region. The Community Foundation's mission is to Build Thriving Communities by galvanizing philanthropy and investing locally to maximize community impact. Our vision is for a more equitable, just, and thriving Greater Washington for all, and especially for those who have been systematically marginalized in our region. Leading an organization with a staff of 30, $335 million in assets under management, and $60 million in annual grants, Tonia oversees the day-to-day business of the organization, serves as chief development officer, and works with the Board of Trustees and staff to determine the strategic priorities of The Community Foundation. Tonia has successfully launched and led programmatic and development efforts for several key initiatives at The Community Foundation, including VoicesDMV, the Resilience Fund, and the Partnership to End Homelessness. She also has purview over all grantmaking, community engagement, and strategic partnerships.

Prior to joining The Community Foundation in July 2016, she served as a political appointee for the Obama Administration as head of global partnerships at the Peace Corps. Tonia was responsible for leading the agency’s relationships with other federal agencies, the private sector, international NGOs, and donors. Most notably, Tonia led bold cause-marketing partnerships at the Peace Corps for Let Girls Learn (an initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama). Tonia previously served as fund manager of a multi-donor initiative focused on financial access and inclusion at the World Bank Group. She also spent a significant part of her career working on USAID-funded capacity development initiatives during the immediate post-apartheid era in South Africa and the broader sub-Sahara region. In 2010, Tonia founded the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund (PGCSIF) in an effort to 'shift the narrative' and build social capital in the County. The Innovation Fund's flagship initiative, Forty Under 40 Prince George's, recognizes top talent in the County, and connects them to political, social, and economic opportunity all the while sharing the important story of amazing people - under the age of 40 - who live and work in Prince George's.

Tonia is a 23-year resident of Prince George's County and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and International Development Policy from the University of Delaware, and a bachelor’s in Political Science from North Carolina A&T State University.

Jan 22, 2018

“Creativity is something we all possess and tapping into it helps us live our best lives.”

Princess Mhoon is truly a wonder-leader: an award-winning choreographer, educator, entrepreneur and scholar all in one! Her artistic brilliance was sought out by the While House and Michele Obama; her work commissioned by the Kennedy Center and she’s been called "A visionary of her generation!" In this dynamic, enlightening interview you’ll hear her amazing story of growing up in Chicago as the daughter of artists and granddaughter of entrepreneurs; how she artfully integrates art and business; her insights for dealing with the the most challenging circumstances and people with grace, respect and power; and so much more!

What you'll learn

  • A wonderful story of how growing up as a daughter of artists in Chicago influenced Princess’s personality, artistic life and professional direction as an adult
  • How her trailblazing, financially savvy grandparents helped develop her entrepreneurial side
  • Artful (pun intended!) ways Princess utilizes and integrates both parts of her experience - artist and entrepreneur – in her life and work
  • Inspiring story of how Princess redefined her identity and self-value after a difficult divorce
  • Obstacles she has faced as a double minority - an African American woman - in business and ways she has learned to overcome them
  • How Princess balances love, respect, grace and assertiveness when dealing with difficult people and situations
  • Her aspiration to find a managing director (do apply within) to run her art organization to focus on being an artistic director
  • Valuable advice to young entrepreneur, women and leaders facing challenges
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

About Princess Mhoon

Princess Mhoon is a choreographer, producer, educator, and scholar recognized in 2015 by HUFFINGTON POST as one of 26 Female Choreographers "You Should Know" and Dance Magazine's 2006 "Top 25 to Watch" in the world for the Women's Choreography Project titled This Woman's Work.  Mhoon is a second generation artist and entrepreneur who has set her sights on enhancing the artistic landscape of the Nation’s Capitol. In 2016 she was invited to participate as one of the region's leading dance leaders by First Lady Michelle Obama during her Celebration of Black Women in Dance; she also served as a panelist for The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans during Women's History Month.

Mhoon is also a 2015 Helen Hayes Award Nominee for Best Choreography in a Musical, a Helen Hayes winner for Best Musical, and one of 37 International artists invited to Lusaka, Zambia for solo performance and master classes at the 2015 Barefeet Theatre Festival for vulnerable youth sponsored by UNICEF. She is also a 2016 class member of Leadership Greater Washington.

With work commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the DC Jazz Festival, Princess Mhoon has been called "A visionary of her generation." She is the Founder and Director of the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute with locations in DC and Maryland. Mhoon has served on faculty at Howard University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and a Master of Arts degree in Public History. Her research focuses on Dance History and the African-American experience in dance. In 2015, she was awarded the Owen Dodson DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI award from her Alma Mater.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, she began her training with Alyo Children's Dance Theatre, Joseph Holmes Dance Studio, and Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. Mhoon Cooper has received numerous awards and scholarships for her excellence in dance, including recognition from the American Dance Festival, Dance Magazine, Howard University, Career Transitions for Dancers, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has performed and toured with the world-renowned Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, The Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble, Nathan Trice Rituals, and Deeply Rooted Productions. She is the founder of DANCING FEET, an integrated arts program that includes classes and workshops for schools and outreach institutions.

The opening of PMDI is the continuation of a life long commitment to the field of dance.


Oct 10, 2017

“Beginning with the end in mind is always the key.”

If you want to meet a modern Renaissance man, you must hear Jim Kenefick’s interview! Somehow he simultaneously embodies a brilliant entrepreneurial mind, save-the-world convictions, relentlessly adventurous spirit and heart-centered mindfulness. Jim is passionate about his company’s capacity to make a difference - through its socially responsible orientation, client services and internal culture. He collects experiences, reads voraciously, ideates continuously and learns unceasingly from everything that crosses his path. It’s such a dynamic, inspiring conversation, you don’t want to miss it! 

What you'll learn

  • How growing up in New England with a "wooden spoon" shaped Jim’s character
  • What life experiences helped him develop emotional IQ through childhood and college
  • How witnessing his father get laid off from his job ignited Jim’s entrepreneurial spirit
  • Why the seventy days he spent in nature with a college friend were among the top five experiences of his life
  • What Jim learned about running a business from his first venture as a college painter
  • How studying diverse authors from Stephen Covey on goals to Miguel Ruiz on authenticity shaped his thinking and being
  • Jim’s philosophy about not taking things personally and dealing with disappointment with grace, patience and surrender
  • What it means to Jim to be a "B Corp" from transparency to diversity to how you treat your employees
  • Great advice for listeners about hiring people with the right attitudes and mindsets
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources 

  • BetterWorld Telecom – Jim’s “Committed to Tech for Good” company
  • Sparrow Mobile – provider Jim referenced that donates service to someone in need every time you purchase one!
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – classic business book by Stephen Covey Jim referenced in his interview
  • The Four Agreements – another must-read by Don Miguel Ruiz we discuss in the interview
  • Jim Rohn – renowned business and sales expert Jim referenced in his interview
  • B Corporation – website that explains the corporate entity designation BetterWorld has chosen that focuses on the triple bottom line

About Jim Kenefick

Focused primarily in the technology, media and telecom sectors, Jim put his strategic investment and entrepreneurial leadership skills to use serving as managing partner, CEO, Director and impact investor.

  • Completed $250+ million worth of transactions for 8 technology companies in past 5 years
  • Led 3 companies from start-ups to revenue growth of $15, $30 and $70 million, and raised more than $750 million in capital to create companies worth over $750 million in market capital
  • Babson College and MIT Program grad
  • Inc. 500/ Inc. 5000 recipient (multiple years)
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist (twice)
  • Extensive board governance and team-building experience
  • EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) and YPO - international leadership positions for social and environmental enterprises

Specialties: CEO, Strategic Corporate Adviser, Board member, Mentor, Coach. Experienced High Growth Leader

Long Standing Licensed Amateur Radio Operator  


Young President’s Organization (YPO): Past Chairman of the YPO Social Enterprise Network (SEN) – Real Leaders Making a Difference. Created YPO’s International Sustainability Awards / Hall of Frame. Former Chair of YPO International Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) network. Past Washington, DC Chapter Chair and longstanding YPO member.


Aug 15, 2017

“Being a trumpet player in an orchestra taught me what moves and inspires people.”

Michael Sapienza was a world-class orchestra musician traveling and performing around the globe when he discovered that his mom had colon cancer. Not even knowing at first where a colon was located, he dived into research and realized that few resources were available to families affected by this terrible disease.

Incredibly, he decided to channel his grief into action, leaving a successful music career to launch a colon cancer foundation! And, as it turned out, many of the skills Michael acquired in his music career – and supporting his family through his mom’s illness - have helped him tune in (pun intended) as a leader. You must listen to this amazing, inspiring interview!

What you'll learn

  • The amazing story of how a professional world-class orchestra musician touring in Europe and globe-wide ended up running a cancer foundation
  • About a call from his parents that ultimately transformed his life and life mission
  • How Michael launched the Colon Cancer Alliance and asked for his first "big" donation (only to find out he should have asked for more)
  • Fascinating parallels Michael draws between being a musician with having business and non-profit management acumen
  • How to message and draw support for something that's hard to talk about - cancer - to a broader audience
  • Clever and informative ways his organization gets the word out about colon cancer (hint: get screened beginning 45-50 or sooner if you have history of colon cancer in your family)
  • How Michael copes with ongoing exposure to death and supporting others through sickness and grief
  • What Michael learned about building trust, "storming" phase of group development and his growing edges through their merger
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

About Michael Sapienza 

Michael Sapienza, Chief Executive Officer of The Colon Cancer Alliance, lost his mother to the disease in May of 2009 and served as President and Founder of The Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation from 2010-2015. He has turned his profound grief into action, inspiring and challenging the colorectal cancer community, family, friends and professional associates to follow his lead and dedicate themselves to this cause and the Colon Cancer Alliance mission.

Michael was an integral member of the team that led the effort to merge the Colon Cancer Alliance, and the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation creating the nation’s largest colon cancer specific nonprofit. Michael is a member of The Ruesch Center for the Cure of GI Cancer’s Advisory board at Georgetown University. In 2014, Michael received three prestigious industry awards; the David Jagelman, MD Award for advocacy in Colorectal Cancer Awareness by the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the Public Service Award from the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Champion Award from Preventing Colorectal Cancer. He regularly appears on TV, and radio programs throughout the United States to promote the importance of increased funding for colorectal cancer research, and early detection.

Michael holds degrees from both Northwestern University and Rice University and currently resides in the District of Columbia.


Jun 12, 2017

“My North Star is helping people who work with me to become even better than when they started.”

Richard Bynum believes there is nothing better than working in a place that’s completely aligned with your values. As a leader he is passionate about supporting and mentoring others to determine their own values (and value) so they can follow their “North Star”. 

As the new President of the PNC Bank Richard brings a fresh perspective to his organization and industry at a critical time in history. In this dynamic, informative interview Richard shares what it’s been like to undergo this transition; his views on a diverse, inclusive workplace; being one of the first African American bank presidents in the banking community and so much more!

What you'll learn

  • How constantly moving as a child influenced Richard's belief in diversity of perspectives
  • Why it's crucial to explain your "why" as a leader and how to help people get engaged with it
  • That Richard's "North Star" as a leader is to help develop other leaders
  • Importance of helping emerging leaders find their own true North, even when it's not aligned with your own
  • Strategies for handling difficult conversations with people we lead
  • How to make sure you have the right support systems mentoring and challenging you along the way
  • How Richard has successfully transitioned into his role with support by his legendary predecessor Mike Harreld
  • Richard's perspective on a diverse, inclusive workplace and being one of the first African American bank presidents in the banking community
  • Importance of making company values tangible and actionable and authentically present in company decision making
  • How Richard equates importance of diversifying organizations similarly to the common wisdom of diversifying an investment portfolio
  • How to get back on-course with our North Star even when we meander off

Links & Resources

  • PNC – the bank Richard leads
  • Simon Sinek video – amazing TED talk by renowned author and thought leader articulating the importance of beginning any endeavor with our “why”
  • Doug Fruehling interview – previous Leadership Insights episode we referenced

About Richard Bynum 

Richard was named regional president of PNC Bank (Greater Washington) in early 2017. Prior to his current role, he was a member of PNC’s retail executive leadership team leading its small business division. Before that he served as the greater Washington Retail Market Executive from 2010-14. He was responsible for consumer & small business sales within the greater Washington area including nearly 200 store locations and more than 1,000 employees. 

Prior to coming to Washington, Richard was the Chief Operating Officer for the small business banking group where led the sales force operating platform for hundreds of small business bankers across the 18 markets where PNC has an active retail presence. He began his career with PNC in 2005 in their Executive Leadership Program. During that time at PNC, Richard played key roles in launching businesses and initiatives focused on revenue growth, strengthening the brand, increasing the engagement of employees and fostering innovation throughout PNC.

Prior to joining PNC, Richard had a 12-year career as a senior manager for the American Red Cross. His last role with the organization was as the managing director for disaster response & emergency communications at the Chicago chapter. During his career, he was an operations director for the Kosovo Refugee Operation as well as the September 11th effort in New York.

Richard has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at the Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Florida State University. He is also a graduate of the Consumers Bankers Association Graduate School of Retail Bank Management.

Richard is currently a member of 100 Black Men of Washington DC. Prior to moving into the area, he served as a board member for the Mattress Factory Art Museum and the Thelma Lovette YMCA branch; both in Pittsburgh, PA as well as Youth Service Project, a small not-for-profit in Chicago, IL. He and his wife, Evelyn, live in Springfield, VA with their two children.


May 8, 2017

“As leaders we have to examine ourselves, our own beliefs, and those structures and systems that perpetuate racial inequity”

Tamara Copeland is a powerhouse of a leader who courageously and tirelessly uses her voice and professional platform to tackle one of the most challenging and charged social issues today - racism!

Tamara’s commitment to racial equity surged when Trayvon Martin was killed. Her son AJ was roughly his age; he could have been Trayvon! In this incredibly powerful, informative conversation Tamara shares her passion for racial equity and offers sage advice for how each of us can become more educated, stronger allies and advocates in this crucial social movement!

What you'll learn

  • Stories about Tamara’s upbringing and traits she inherited from her parents
  • Lessons in compassion and social system functions (and lack thereof!) Tamara learned from her first job as a food stamp technician
  • Why mentoring in social services is so crucial for young professionals to enhance their skills and sense of empathy
  • Why Tamara doesn't like defining her sector as "nonprofit" and how thinking of it as "social profit" better acknowledges its value to society
  • Poignant examples of structural racism and unconscious bias and their impact on individuals and communities, including the philanthropic
  • How tragic deaths of Travon Martin and Freddy Gray – and Tamara’s reflections about her own son - inspired WRAG’s body of work "Putting Racism on the Table"
  • How Meyer Foundation's Nicky Goren helped shape the conversation by quoting John Gardner "first step in leadership is not action, it's understanding"
  • Ways leaders can begin to use our power and voices – in whatever communities we live and lead - to create more inclusive environments and help overcome bias
  • Importance to take time to read, learn, study and try to understand "others" that we may not have had exposure to in our past lives
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

About Tamara Copeland

Tamara joined the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers in September 2006.  In this position, she leads a staff committed to promoting and supporting effective and responsible philanthropy across Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Over the course of this time, Tamara has become one of the key spokespeople for philanthropy with her blog, A Voice from Philanthropy.  Currently, the organization is leading three major initiatives, Our Region, Your Investment focused on ensuring more affordable housing in the region; the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; and a dynamic exploration of race called “Putting Racism on the Table.”  An op ed that she authored on why she feels this is not a post-racial America was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Before this position, she served as the President of Voices for America’s Children for almost 10 years.  Many believe that her vision and leadership were instrumental in transforming what was the National Association of Child Advocates, an association focused solely on supporting state and locally based child advocacy organizations into Voices for America’s Children, a national advocacy organization with member groups in almost every state in the country.

Prior to joining Voices, Tamara was Director of the National Health & Education Consortium. She also worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Bobby Scott as Legislative Director and chief advisor on health, human services and education issues. Before that she was the Director of the Southern Regional Project on Infant Mortality, an initiative of the Southern Governors' Association and the Southern Legislative Conference. She also understands state government, having been Director of the Office of Prevention of the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services and Deputy Director of the Virginia Division for Children.  Tamara serves on several boards and is a member of the 2004 class of Leadership Greater Washington.

She received her B.A. in Sociology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and her M.S.W. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.


Apr 17, 2017

“You can either fight characteristics millennials bring to the workplace or you can harness and direct them”

Sam started her leadership journey early in life when she was elected to be a mayor of a fictional town in a high school program. A testament to her wisdom and brilliance from the start, Sam struggled with and over time learned what it takes to build alliances and support networks, make unpopular decisions and empower others to want to follow.

In this incredibly dynamic, informative episode Sam shares specific tips and strategies on how to lead a high functioning, connected, happy workplace; build a strong culture based on authentic expression of values; and naturally harness the talents, strengths and tendencies of the newest and fastest-growing generation of workers, the millennials!

What you'll learn

  • How Sam's small town upbringing has influenced her personality and perspective
  • How being elected as a mayor of a fictional city in high school shaped her thinking about leadership and her identity as a leader
  • Importance of connecting with like minded and like hearted leaders and ones who are completely different and stretch our thinking
  • Crucial elements of building a happy, connected, high-performance organizational culture
  • Importance of articulating and intentionally living organizational values and empowering employees to take the lead
  • Four questions to assess alignment with organizational values: do you hire for them; fire for them; make decisions based on them; are they expressed in your space?
  • How to avoid "cultural waterboarding" in your organization (and what that means so you definitely don’t do it!)
  • Characteristics of millennials and how to harness and direct them as a leader
  • How to help channel millennials’ intelligence and drive to benefit the company and the individual employees
  • Tips and strategies for helping to grow employees in environments with modest budgets and resources
  • How to help employees fulfill their professional destiny by being honest about their strengths and weaknesses from the beginning
  • What we can learn about firing people from a nun (really, it’s a great story!)
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

  • Social Tables – Sam’s awesome company
  • Motley Fool – Sam’s former company known for its great organizational culture
  • Delivering Happiness – fantastic book about developing value-centered organizational culture by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh
  • The Alliance – book Sam recommended about managing talent
  • Leadership Greater Washington – incredible networking organization for leaders in the D.C. area Sam and I belong to (and yes, you have heard it referenced in another episode or 10 ;)

About Sam Cicotello

Sam Cicotello is an expert in organizational development and corporate culture. She is currently Vice President of People Operations at Social Tables, a DC incubated startup and was previously at The Motley Fool for more than a decade. She speaks frequently on the topics of corporate culture and the importance of happy employees.

Sam’s career began as an intern at The White House in 1996 (where she is grateful not to have had access to the West Wing).  She cut her teeth in business working as a non-profit fundraising consultant with Adams Hussey & Associates where she served several large national clients and developed expertise in marketing, analytics and membership retention.

In 2003, Sam was recruited by The Motley Fool as a marketing manager. During her tenure, she was asked to lead several different teams within the company to maximize collaboration and data-driven results. Given her broad business background, she was ultimately surprised to find herself working on the HR/People team as the Chief Learning Officer. It was in this role that she began to see the deep business value of investing in organizational excellence.

As the CLO, she identified the needs of individuals to develop top talent for the future success of the organization. She was responsible for facilitating learning throughout the company and led the fellowship program to develop dozens of high-potential employees identified as future leaders. While in this role she was able to meet with and learn from some of the most amazing business leaders in the country including Jack Welch, Steve Wynn, Elon Musk, Tony Hsieh, Ari Weinzweig, Jeff Weiner, and John Mackey.

Sam was added to The Motley Fool’s innovative approach to culture development including core values, performance management, compensation, recruiting and onboarding and was fortunate to be surrounded by innovative coworkers that helped her get to “yes” on people ideas.

In 2015, she went to Social Tables to expand her expertise. Over the past two years, she has helped to more than double the size of the business (in both headcount and revenue) and is managing a workforce composed of young and energetic employees (over 90% millennials). She currently manages all aspects of Human Resources.

Sam has been recognized with awards from the Washington Business Journal (Women Who Mean Business) and SmartCEO (Corporate Executive) and has been quoted in The Washington Post, HR Magazine, USA Today, Human Resources IQ, SmartCEO, and the Washington Business Journal.  She has also appeared on CNN and CNBC and presented a much-acclaimed TED talk on Reinventing the Workplace.

Originally from Tennessee, Sam attended Vanderbilt University and now resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two energetic children.


Mar 28, 2017

“We train young people to recognize their power and advocate for themselves.”

Adam Levner mission is to do nothing short of creating a new generation of social advocates and leaders! Growing up feeling excluded from his community Adam has created a movement to inspire, empower and train young people to advocate for themselves and their communities through photography.     

In this dynamic, insightful interview Adam shares incredible stories of how even the youngest leaders have helped transform their communities and strategies for how all of us can become even more effective in creating social, systemic and institutional change!

What you'll learn

  • How Adam transformed a childhood experience of exclusion – and a bit of a Napoleon complex - into a career centered on helping and empowering others
  • What he learned about self-advocacy from forgoing an AmeriCorps opportunity
  • What compelled Adam and his co-founder to launch Critical Exposure
  • How Adam’s students’ very first campaign generated additional $100 million in school funding
  • Strategies for cultivating change agents and civic leaders at any age
  • How stories can be told and shared in a way that help transform communities and movements
  • Short and long-term, locally and nationally focused strategies for advocacy efforts
  • Why it's important for individuals and organizations to collaborate and pool strengths for the greatest social impact
  • How we can sometimes empower others by saying "I don't know the answers"
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

  • Critical Exposure – amazing nonprofit Adam co-founded to cultivate a new generation of civic leaders through photography.
  • Lisa LaFontaine episode referenced in this interview.
  • Article about the Critical Exposure student Adam references whose incredible photojournalistic efforts have been recognized by national media. 

About Adam Levner

Adam co-founded Critical Exposure in 2004. Previously, Adam worked as a fifth grade teacher in Virginia, a community organizer in Prince George's County, MD, an education consultant for the Center for Community Change, and a freelance photographer. Adam attended Tufts University and received a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University. He is member of Leadership Greater Washington and a founding board member of Morganizing for Change. Adam is a frequent presenter on topics related to nonprofit management and gave a TED talk titled, "Stories Aren't Enough: Connecting Youth Voices to Action" at TEDxFoggyBottom. 


Feb 1, 2017

If you want to witness a leader’s passion and authentic expression at its fullest, you must hear Nicole Quiroga’s interview! A daughter of Latino immigrants, Nicole grew up in a warm, affectionate, emotive household and built her career at a company that helps her stay connected to her roots. Her leadership style is a beautiful blend of passion, kindness, creativity and a dash of Latin flare!

In this super dynamic, energizing, candid interview Nicole shares what it can be like for kids from bilingual, bicultural homes to transition to the “real world”; tips for leaders managing multicultural workplaces; guidance for social change organizations on how to partner with the media; and so much more!

What you’ll learn:

  • What it was like for Nicole to grow up in loving, passionate, protective Latino immigrant family
  • How she navigates the line between warmth and affection of her culture and professional boundaries of standard workplaces
  • How Nicole has worked to overcome being "too nice"
  • What it's like to balance emotions and intellect as a leader when you lean more naturally towards emotions
  • Strategies Nicole employs to sharpen her organization, focus and planning skills
  • Who are the leaders she most admires and what she learns from them
  • What Nicole considers her mission and greatest responsibility to the Latino community as the leader of Telemundo
  • Recommendations for hiring and working with the Hispanic market
  • Specific strategies for nonprofits to reach out and gain media support and partnership
  • Moving stories of how Telemundo has impacted causes and organizations serving women

Links & Resources

About Nicole Quiroga 

Nicole Quiroga, a native of Washington DC, is the General Manager of Telemundo WZDC-25 in Washington D.C. and Telemundo WZTD-45 in Richmond, VA.  In her position, Ms. Quiroga predicts market trends, sets budgets and performance expectations, ensures station compliance with FCC requirements and has overall responsibility for maintaining and growing the profitability of both stations.

Ms. Quiroga is a television broadcaster with expertise in media sales, journalism, multi-cultural marketing, and strategic planning.   She is deeply passionate about educating and empowering Washington DC’s Latino community and, over her 15 years at Telemundo, has forged strategic partnerships with community and corporate organizations which allow her to execute outreach campaigns that provide Hispanic families access to critical information and resources.

Ms. Quiroga is highly experienced in the planning, financing and executing of local and national campaigns that focus on the advancement of Latinos in the U.S., to include Hispanic-targeted trade shows, grassroots events and over-the-air initiatives. Her most recent success was the launch of Agenda, a local public affairs television program produced in partnership with ABC7/News Channel 8.

A sales trainer and speaker, Nicole is frequently invited to speak on topics such as selling to the Hispanic market, increasing sales through cross-cultural communications, and harnessing the power of Latinos now and in the future.

Ms. Quiroga mentors young women on their journey to becoming executives in the fields of media, communications and journalism.  She works with the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the Latino Student Fund to provide one-on-one coaching and tutoring sessions to young girls and women between the ages of 12-25.

Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing from the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of the Leadership Greater Washington Executive Program, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Leadership Program and the National Hispana Leadership Institute. She holds leadership positions at the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Student Fund and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy.  In 2014, Ms. Quiroga received Governor Martin O’Malley’s Outstanding Media Award, the Women Who Mean Business Award from the Washington Business Journal and the Public Service Leadership Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.


Nov 15, 2016

This seems to be a particularly ideal time for a story about a single individual’s determination and capacity to transform tragedy into a movement that’s saving millions of lives world-wide!

Robin Smalley is an Emmy-winning journalist who miraculously found her life’s purpose at her best friend’s deathbed. At the lowest point in her life she decided to take a wild leap of faith, move her family to Africa and co-found a nonprofit that is tirelessly (and successfully!) eradicating pediatric AIDS globally. In the last 15 years mothers2mothers has transformed from a tiny startup to an award-winning organization that has saved and enriched 1.5 million lives of HIV-positive moms and babies who are now born healthy thanks to Robin’s extraordinary work!

Robin’s story and spirit are beyond inspiring - I know you’ll get so much from this amazing interview!

What you’ll learn:

  • What Robin learned about adaptability by following her performer parents all over the world and attending 12 schools in 12 years
  • How taking a dreaded science class in college opened a door to Robin's incredibly successful career in television
  • Why it so pays off to truly get to know new people (you’ll enjoy stories we shared about how making a positive impact on others paid off in unexpected ways)
  • What it was like for Robin to win an Emmy (the only time Oprah show ever lost!)
  • How becoming a mom and volunteering at a non-profit on vacations shifted Robin's perspective and career path
  • Why our reluctance to promote and advocate for ourselves holds us back as leaders
  • Why it's ok to be "selfish" and help people just because it makes us feel good
  • How Robin transformed the tragedy of her friend's death into a mission to change lives of millions of women and children world-wide
  • How mothers2mothers transitioned from starting in a car to 900 sites in 8 countries within 3 years
  • How you can join Robin's innovative, super fun campaign that empowers donors to feel great about celebrating birthdays and making a difference
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

  • mothers2mothers – Robin’s amazing organization that’s eradicating pediatric AIDS globally
  • Scott Jackson’s interview – the extraordinary first Leadership Insights guest, amazing human AND connector to Robin (you can tell Scott’s got a fan club here :)
  • Power of Nice – book we referenced in the interview
  • Streetlights – another great nonprofit Robin has supported

About Robin Smalley

After a successful Emmy-winning career as a television producer/director, Robin Smalley co-founded mothers2mothers (m2m), a Cape Town based NGO providing education, empowerment and suppport for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV/AIDS. m2m reaches these women with a unique approach, by employing and professionalizing women from communities living with HIV, called Mentor Mothers. As role models in their townships and villages, Mentor Mothers fight stigma as valued members of health care teams that have traditionally been populated by overworked and overstressed doctors and nurses.

As m2m’s first Executive Director and current Director of m2m U.S., Robin has helped guide the organization through a period of extraordinary growth, from a tiny grassroots start-up to an international organization operating in eight sub-Saharan countries and employing over 1600 HIV-positive women who are providing health and hope to hundreds of thousands of families. m2m has been honored at the White House, has won the Skoll Entrepreneurial Award, the Schwab Entrepreneurial Award, the Global Health Council Best Practices Award, and the Henry Kravis Leadership Award. Robin is married to architect Jeffrey Smalley and has two daughters, Hannah and Sophia.


Nov 1, 2016

“My mission is to be a catalyst for positive, systemic change in the community” – Tom Raffa

Tom Raffa admits he’s is a very unusual CEO. He “winged” his way into accounting to pay for college and has built a firm (and a legacy) that focuses more on impact than on profit.  30+ years later Raffa still contributes 10% (almost $5m last year) in financial and pro-bono services to non-profits and allows *unlimited paid* community service time to any employee!  When health insurance premiums skyrocketed, Tom not only kept benefits the same for employees, he invested heavily in wellness programs to make sure his staff is healthy, happy and engaged.  Tom is an amazing visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist and I know you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I did!

What you’ll learn:

  • How one school counselor's recognition of Tom's talent planted a seed for him to attend college
  • Fascinating story how Tom stumbled into accounting (by "slightly" fibbing on his resume) to be able to pay for college and “winged it” to success
  • How Tom built his accounting firm on principles of helping the community (and the money would follow)
  • How to instill the philanthropic mindset into the culture of an organization
  • What Tom learned from his non-profit clients about mission focus
  • What non profits can learn from businesses and social ventures about self-sufficiency, sustainability and marketing
  • How social ventures he admires are blending the best of both worlds - business and non-profit models - to create greater impact while staying profitable
  • Strategies for organizations to maximize their resources
  • Tom’s philosophy on how organizations can create opportunities for collaboration / eliminate need to compete for resources
  • How to embrace experimentation and even failure as a leader
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

About Tom Raffa

Tom is the Founder and Managing Partner of Raffa, which he established specifically to service the needs of the nonprofit community and social sector. During his more than 35- year career, Tom has provided accounting, auditing, tax services and business consulting to the nonprofit sector, conducting studies on management structure, internal and operational controls, and management information systems. Many Raffa clients have also enlisted Tom’s assistance in assembling compensation and fringe benefits packages, executive compensation and retirement plans, venture capital/fundraising efforts, investment policies, financial projections, indirect cost proposals and matters of governance.

To serve Raffa’s clients more fully, Tom founded three affiliate organizations, Raffa Financial Services, Inc. (RFSI), Raffa Social Capital Advisors (RSCA) and Raffa Wealth Management (RWM). RFSI, formed in 1999, provides insurance and investment products and services, while RWM, formed in 2005, provides investment consulting and financial planning to private foundations and high-wealth individuals who support the nonprofit sector. RSCA was formed in 2016, to accelerate and scale those groups and individuals with solid social enterprises programs that could change the world.

Tom’s professional and volunteer support of nonprofits has garnered him several recent awards, including the 2016 Individual Making a Difference Award from The Nonprofit Village, the Georgetown Entrepreneur of the Year, the Volunteer Achievement Award from the Accountants for the Public Interest and SmartCPA two years running from SmartCEO Magazine. Raffa was recognized as the 19th Top Corporate Philanthropist in the Region in 2012. Tom was recognized for the creation of Companies for Causes and his commitment to improving education outcomes for students by the Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation at the 2014 P.E.A.R.L.S. Awards with the Innovation in Philanthropy Award. In November, Tom will receive the Man of the Year Award from the Italian American Association (Lido Civic Club) for his unwaivering commitment to community.

Through Tom’s commitment to his employees health and wellness, the firm was recently honored with the 2016 SmartCEO's Healthiest Company Award for first-rate programming. Inside Public Accounting (IPA) and Accounting Today magazine continuously name Raffa as one of the “Top 100 Accounting Firms” in the nation. IPA’s Top 100 and IPA’s National Benchmarking Report are the industry’s longest-running and most up-to-date analysis and ranking of the nation’s largest accounting firms. A recent report recognized Raffa as its “Best of the Best,” which honors only 50 firms from across the country for their overall superior performance on more than 70 criteria. Recently, IPA recognized Raffa as the only firm in the country whose leadership embraces its international and multi-cultural staff in an article entitled, “One IPA 100 Firm Defies Diversity Statistics: 11 of 17 Partners Are Women.” This article named Raffa as the only firm in the top 100 that is women-owned making it the largest CPA firm in the US that is women-owned. It is also one of the only a few CPA firms that is a certified B Corporation.

Tom shares his expertise through articles in national publications such as The Nonprofit Quarterly, The Nonprofit Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which cover issues affecting the nonprofit sector. He also has been an instructor and speaker for many nonprofit training programs and conferences and various federal agencies.

Tom is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the District of Columbia and is an active member of AICPA. He is also a founding board member of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and the Alliance for Nonprofit Insurance and has served on the board of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and Sister Cities of Montgomery County. He is a founding member of the board of Social Impact 360 and a recent member to the Park City Community Foundation board. He is also on the Advisory Board of Aspire. Tom is the Vice Chair, the Treasurer and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Tom is also a member of the board of the United Way of the National Capital Area where he serves on the Strategy Committee and the Audit Committee. Tom is the Treasurer and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tom is a graduate of Georgetown University, a member of the Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Program and has served as a mentor at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business for more than 20 years. He often speaks at Georgetown for various classes and seminars and is currently involved with the Entrepreneurship Fellowship.


Sep 19, 2016

“Values drive our actions, responses and decisions; we each have to determine what matters to us and what we are and aren’t wiling to accept.” – Rosie Allen-Herring

Rosie Allen-Herring counts as a blessing to have grown up in a large, education-focused Southern family; surrounded by a loving, encouraging community; and crossing paths with teachers and mentors that have shaped her path and her values. Today she is an inspiration to her staff, peers and community and hearing her stories and insights on family, growth and leadership it’s easy to see why. Don’t miss this amazing interview with an extraordinary leader - Rosie Allen-Herring!

What You'll Learn:

  • How Rosie’s Southern upbringing in a large, loving, education-focused family and community forever shaped her values and path as a leader
  • What Rosie learned from her mom about servant leadership and how she strives to live by these principles in her life and career
  • How losing loved ones has made Rosie reflect and make changes in her life
  • How she perceived being the only African-American leader in numerous corporate experiences
  • How bad bosses - as well as great ones - have influenced her leadership style
  • What female mentors taught her about succeeding in a male-dominated environment and what males mentors contributed to her growth
  • Rosie’s advice for discovering our values and making sure we’re fully aligned with them in our actions and reactions
  • What she’s learned from making mistakes as a leader
  • Rosie’s advice on making peace with mistakes and gaining confidence in yourself
  • What confidence advice she would have given her 25-year-old self
  • Tips for giving feedback and empowering people you're working with
  • And so much more!

About Rosie Allen-Herring

Rosie Allen-Herring is the President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA). She brings to United Way NCA a keen understanding of how to leverage resources and convene public and private entities to create a collective impact in the local community as well as on a national level.

Rosie has more than 25 years of experience in the areas of strategic leadership, public and private partnership development, corporate philanthropy and community investment.

Formerly, Rosie was the Managing Director of the Community Investment and Engagement Division at Fannie Mae.  In that role, she led Fannie Mae’s corporate philanthropic strategy, and oversaw the organization’s social responsibility investments and employee engagement efforts nationwide.

Prior to Managing Director at Fannie Mae, she served as the National Regulatory Compliance Manager, Housing & Community Development. She was also the Senior Deputy Director, Washington, DC Community Business Center.

Rosie developed, implemented and managed key business strategies for the Washington Metropolitan area, resulting in investments of more than $2 billion in the region.

Rosie holds key leadership roles with several business and civic organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, Prince George's Community College Foundation and several additional organizations. She served as a board member for Washington's exploratory Olympic committee, Washington 2024.

She earned a B.A. in Economics from Howard University, an M.B.A. from Strayer University and was an International Fellow of the United States-Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at the University of Cape Town (SA) Graduate School of Business and Duke University Graduate School of Public Policy.

Rosie has been honored by many organizations, including: Washington Business Journal Minority Business Leader (2015); Hope Awardee for Calvary Women's Shelter (2015); Most Influential Business Leader ( 2014 and 2013); Brava Top CEO Award (2014); Washingtonian Magazine’s Most Powerful Women (2013); Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 Leader and Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award (2011).

She has been included on prestigious lists such as “Outstanding Young Women of America,” and “Who’s Who in America.”


Aug 15, 2016
“It’s never about you as a leader, it’s always about the organization and the impact” – Nicky Goren “Do I stay in my comfort zone and enjoy the expertise I created or walk through a new door where I don’t know anything?” is a question Nicky Goren frequently asks herself… and then walks right through the new door. She has consistently left jobs she loved and bosses who nurtured and mentored her in pursuit of new opportunities to make an even bigger difference. As the fearless leader of the Meyer Foundation Nicky is committed to transforming conversations (and mindsets) around some of the most complex and potentially controversial issues – from race to the future of philanthropy!  What You'll Learn:
  • How Nicky's multi-cultural, cross-continental upbringing helped make her the amazing leader she is today
  • Fun intercultural quirks Nicky and I share (although she’s not the one who hasn’t seen Star Wars)
  • How advice from an early mentor – selecting three criteria to choose a job - has guided her career path. Nicky’s three have been: Be passionate about the job, enjoy people you work with and be challenged every day
  • The tremendous impact of caring mentors in her life and her commitment to do the same for others
  • How Nicky is overcoming her struggle to be consistently confident in her voice
  • How focus on Collective Impact automatically focuses non-profits on stronger outcomes and leads to social change
  • Why it’s necessary to bring different, and perhaps untraditional, stakeholders to conversations to tackle issues systemically
  • How the Meyer Foundation is facilitating a conversation about race, ethnicity and why it matters so much 
Links & Resources About Nicky Goren Nicky Goren is president and CEO of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, which pursues and invests in solutions to build an equitable Greater Washington community in which people who are economically vulnerable thrive. Founded in 1944, the Meyer Foundation is a leading supporter of local nonprofit organizations serving the DC region. Each year, the Foundation provides grants totaling more than $7 million to more than 150 organizations working in the interconnected areas of affordable housing, education and workforce development, and financial security. In addition to funding, the Foundation works to build the capacity of partner organizations, serves as a convener and advocate on critical issues, and promotes cross-sector collective action to advance solutions to community challenges. Before being selected to lead the Meyer Foundation in 2014, Nicky served for four years as president of Washington Area Women’s Foundation, which focuses on increasing the economic security of women and girls in the DC region. Prior to joining Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Nicky spent 12 years in senior positions at the Corporation for National and Community Service—the nation’s largest grantmaker supporting service and volunteering. She served as chief of staff from 2006 to 2008 and as acting CEO from 2008 to 2010, overseeing a federal government agency with a staff of 600 and a budget of $1.1 billion. A graduate of Brandeis University and Cornell Law School, Nicky began her career as assistant general counsel in the Congressional Budget Office, and then served as counsel at the newly established Office of Compliance of the U.S. Congress. She currently serves on the Raise DC Leadership Council; on the boards of the American Association of State Service Commissions, District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP), Federal City Council, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Trinity Washington University, and Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers; and is a member of Leadership Greater Washington’s Class of 2013. Nicky lives in the District with her husband and two sons.  
Jul 27, 2016
“My employees' job is to take care of our clients; as a leader my job is to take care of them.” – Kathy Sibert Kathy Sibert firmly believes that when you are no longer excited about something you’re doing, it’s time for a change. In her case that change was life changing - she moved her family back to the U.S. after living all over the globe and gave up a corporate career to lead a then-floundering local non-profit serving the homeless in Arlington, VA. Since then Kathy has used her brilliance, commitment and incredible passion to transform A-SPAN into an award winning organization changing the lives of clients, staff and community members! What You'll Learn:
  • What it was like for Kathy to transition from living and working overseas to running a local non-profit and how the two experiences are connected
  • How Kathy transformed A-SPAN from a money losing, low morale organization into the incredible force for change
  • How her global mindset informs her leadership style
  • Differences in managing and motivating non-profit vs. corporate employees
  • What Kathy learned in the corporate world that can help non-profit leaders succeed
  • Difference between skill vs. cause-specific learning curves and how each can be conquered
  • How do we undertake ending homelessness? (Hint: it's actually by providing homes to the homeless!)
  • How to inspire caring, hope and activism in the community
  • Reasons most people become homeless and what all of us have in common with a person living on the street
  • What Kathy is doing to grow and develop her staff
  • Importance for leaders to learn and gain support from peers
  • How to recognize when it's time for a life and/or career change
Links & Resources About Kathy Sibert Kathleen Sibert has over 25 years of experience in financial management, staff development, strategic planning, marketing and communications. Her global work includes experience in banking, technology, marketing and the nonprofit sector in 29 countries on five continents. She earned her Master’s in Business Administration from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona and her Bachelor of Science from Florida State University. She is currently the President/CEO of A-SPAN, which provides life-sustaining services for Arlington’s street homeless. In her role, Ms. Sibert led a strategic expansion of services, with a focus on ending homelessness through permanent housing. Since Ms. Sibert joined the organization in November 2008, A-SPAN won the contract to operate Arlington’s Emergency Winter Shelter, added the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Programs, and Nursing Services now delivered through a full-time nurse practitioner. She spearheaded Arlington’s inclusion in the national 100,000 Homes Campaign through 100 Homes Arlington, which has provided housing for 100 of the most medically vulnerable people in Arlington. Under her leadership, A-SPAN worked with Arlington’s Department of Human Services and other area homeless service providers to end veteran homelessness in Arlington last December, becoming just the second county in the nation to do so. In October 2015, A-SPAN opened a new, state-of-the-art Homeless Services Center, a first of its kind in the DC Metro area. The Center provides shelter, day and medical services including a five-bed medical respite program, year-round, all under one roof. An Arlington native, Ms. Sibert is the Co-Chair of the Outreach, Education, and Advocacy Committee of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. She received a 2012 Arlington Woman of Vision Award. Under her, A-SPAN was named Nonprofit of the Year for 2011 by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, honorable mention recipient of The Washington Post 2015 Award for Excellence, and Board Leadership Award 2015 winner. Ms. Sibert won the Gelman, Rosenberg, and Freedman 2015 EXCEL Award for leadership achievement in the areas of innovation, motivation, community building, ethical integrity, and strategic leadership.  
Jul 11, 2016
"My disability has made me a stronger, more confident leader " – David Shaffer Imagine graduating third from your Stanford Law class without studying thanks to your gift of photographic memory. Now imagine the ironic twist of fate of going blind at the height of your career - fighting for civil rights of disenfranchised individuals, including those with disabilities - and people suddenly treating you as stupid and incompetent because of your own disability. This is exactly what happened to my guest David Shaffer and his extraordinary story is sure to leave you moved, inspired and perhaps even seeing the world through his eyes! What You'll Learn: 
  • How David's passion and commitment to social justice and civil rights has shaped his career (you must hear about some of the fascinating and famous cases he's led and won!)
  • How he came to terms with the devastation of losing his vision and primary tool for learning (and navigating the world!)
  • How David helped transform D.C. metro into one of the most accessible transit systems in the country (isn’t it great to hear some good news about DC metro!?)
  • Fascinating facts about disabilities, such as 19% of U.S. population has a disability (I had no idea, did you?)
  • What’s really happening for people we see with dark glasses, white canes and other individuals with disabilities
  • Astounding challenges disabled individuals encounter in every day tasks that most of us take for granted - from checking bank account balance online to reading a restaurant menu to…
  • Practical tips and strategies to help support our friends and colleagues with disabilities in the workplace (and beyond)
  • How technology can help disabled individuals regain independence, mobility and “sin back their lives”
  • And so much more! 
Links & Resources About David Shaffer David Shaffer is the Access Policy Officer and was previously the Assistant General Counsel at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). David’s role includes development and implementation of ADA (Americans with Disabilities) Policy. He was previously Partner at Garvey Schubert Barer and Shaffer, Rappaports & Schmidt where he represented clients in civil rights class actions including against FBI, Secret Service and U.S. Customs Service; and represented employers and employees in ground-breaking employment and labor cases.  
Jun 22, 2016
"I learned how to do everything by doing it wrong the first time" -Kristina Bouweiri Kristina Bouweiri calls herself an accidental entrepreneur. Perhaps this is how she started - by marrying into the business, Reston Limousine - but her success was no accident. Kristina has brilliantly grown the tiny 5-car business to the #13 largest limousine company in the U.S.! All this despite personal and business crises, including divorce from the firm’s founder and periods of economic turmoil! What You'll Learn:
  • Kristina’s amazing story of marrying into the limo business and becoming an “accidental entrepreneur”
  • How she grew Reston Limousine from a tiny 5-car business to the 13th largest limousine company in the country
  • How she managed to succeed as a solo owner of Reston Limousine and single caregiver to four kids and ten pets after her divorce
  • What makes Reston Limousine repeatedly the Best Place to Work (compassion, listening and surveying employees on how to make their lives better)
  • How being a life-long learner and networker has changed her life and business
  • What self-care routines got her through the darkest time in her life and business
  • Why Kristina attributes doubling the size of her company to finally learning to delegate
  • What natural traits female leaders should leverage for competitive advantage
  • How business coaching and master-minding has been transformational for her business
  • How board service has helped Kristina build relationships and dramatically grow her business
  • What Kristina is still working on as a person and a leader
Links & Resources About Kristina Bouweiri  Kristina Bouweiri is the sole owner of the Washington DC metropolitan area’s largest luxury transportation provider. Thanks to Kristina’s innovative business strategies over the last two decades, Reston Limousine and Travel Service, Inc. has enjoyed continued growth despite regional and national economic downturns. Starting with the diversification into wedding transportation in 1990, Kristina has expanded the business into new market segments such as government contracts and group transportation. Even as shuttle contracts led to exponential growth for the company, Kristina created new markets on the charter side, such as the company’s signature wine tours in what is now billed as DC’s Wine Country. Kristina also has led the company’s commitment to implementing the latest in technology trends. The leading private transportation provider in Washington DC when it comes to technology, Reston Limousine utilizes cameras on its bus fleet, GPS in all vehicles and TrafficLand software to monitor DC area traffic patterns. Kristina also has been an early adopter of social media, from blogging to social sharing sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, Instagram and more. Through LinkedIn, Kristina leveraged her international network to launch the company’s global services, which provides worldwide transportation through a vetted affiliate network. An active business community leader, Kristina is a board member of influential civic organizations and business publications such as the DC Chamber of Commerce, SmartCEO magazine, Inova Loudoun Hospital Foundation, and  Enterprising Women magazine, among others. She also is a member of the Dean’s Council of the George Mason School of Business, where she helped launch a Women’s in Business Initiative program to support students, alumnae and other businesswomen. The Washington Business Journal named Kristina one of the 50 most powerful and influential women in Washington and she has been featured in numerous media and trade publications such as The Washington Post, Washington SmartCEO and Enterprising Women. As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Bouweiri has been committed to supporting other women entrepreneurs. She is the founder of the monthly networking luncheon Sterling Women and the annual Virginia Women’s Business Conference – two programs that have helped hundreds of women entrepreneurs and executives achieve their professional goals. She also is an international speaker on topics ranging from business strategy to the use of social media in growing your business, including at the Global Summit of Women in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Her recent awards include George Mason University Outstanding Leadership Award, Heroine of Washington, Washington Business Journal Power 100, and National Operator of the Year. See below for a complete list of her achievements. ACHIEVEMENTS
  • 2015 Outstanding Leadership Award, George Mason University School of Business
  • 2015 Heroines of Washington (Professional Services)/March of Dimes
  • 2015 Power 100 (Connector)/Washington Business Journal
  • 2015 Top Women-Owned Businesses in DC/Washington Business Journal
  • 2015 Top Executive Transportation Services in DC/Washington Business Journal
  • 2015 Legacy Entrepreneur of the Year/EPNET
  • 2014 National Operator of the Year/LCT Magazine
  • 2014 Most Admired CEO/Washington Business Journal
  • 2014 Washington SmartCEO Future 50
  • 2013 Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, International Women Entrepreneurs Challenge Award
  • 2013 Washington SmartCEO Future 50
  • 2009-1013 Washington SmartCEO Top 100 CEOs
  • 2012 DC Chamber of Commerce, Business Leader of the Year
  • 2011 NOVA EXEC, Top 20 InNOVAtors:
  • 2011 Loudoun County Good Scout Award (first woman to receive the award)
  • 2010 Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist
Jun 7, 2016
“Love is a verb. It’s not what we say, it’s what we do that matters.” – Mark Bergel Few business conversations center on love, but love is exactly what drives Dr. Mark Bergel every moment of every day.  His mission is “simply” to end poverty. It may seem like a lofty goal but when you hear this amazing interview, you’ll know that if anyone can end poverty, it’s Mark and his extraordinary team! In 2001, Mark, then teaching at American University, volunteered along with his students to deliver food to families living in need in the D.C region. He found himself in homes with no beds, no dressers and no living room furniture at all. As a result, Mark pMark with stuffed animalsrofoundly changed his life along with the lives of thousands of children and adults living in need. With no seed money, but a strong conviction that we could do better for those living in poverty, he converted his living room into a nonprofit office and founded A Wider Circle. Today the organization is housed in a 25,000 square-foot facility and is planning to expand! To date, A Wider Circle has served more than 125,000 individuals, with more than 10,000 volunteers coming each year to support the effort. What You'll Learn
  • Optimized-IMG_3353What is the difference between living a small and a big life (I know, it got deep!)
  • What inspired Mark to leave his job in academia and give up the life he was planning in Sedona to tirelessly pursue his mission to end poverty
  • What drives mark to work 14-16 hours a day 365 a year and wake up energized after 4 hours of sleep (kids, don't try this at home!)
  • How to create an organizational culture centered on love and find staff who both have the heart and the skills to get the job done
  • How to leverage others’ talents to balance out your strengths and weaknesses as a leader
  • What is enlightened selfishness?
  • Why Mark's believes that we can end poverty in 20 years and how we can do it
  • How to do seemingly impossible (beyond ending poverty) - get others to care and to instill a sense of possibility in skeptical people
  • How do we get others to engage in your cause
  • This and so much more you’ll learn in this incredible conversation with Mark!
Links & Resources
  • A Wider Circle the amazing organization that will end poverty.  If you live outside of the D.C. area please Google “poverty / community service / volunteering to find an organization that needs you in your region
About Mark Bergel Dr. Bergel founded A Wider Circle in 2001 and has emerged as a leader in the movement to end poverty. He is a nationally acclaimed speaker in the fields of poverty, health, and social connection and has been featured on national television and radio programs. Mark earned a B.A. from Northwestern University and went on to receive both Masters and Doctoral degrees from American University. In 2014, Mark was selected as a CNN Hero, bringing much-needed attention to the movement to end poverty in our nation. The result of this honor has been to bring many more people from across the country to our efforts - and to help us answer the call to help our neighbors in need. Mark has also been voted one of People Magazine and Major League Baseball's "All Stars Among Us" and he has received the Dr. Augustus White III Award for Civic Engagement and Service, the Andrea Jolly President's Award, the Essence of Leadership Award at the Greater DC Cares Business and Nonprofit Philanthropy Summit, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region's Linowes Leadership Award.  
May 18, 2016
“Unless you know where you're from you don't have that anchor as a leader, you really can't move forward” – Lidia Soto-Harmon Lidia has spent a great deal of her life in the “hyphen” of being a Cuban-American: that is between her Cuban roots and American life as an adult. Her Cuban missionary parents moved from Tennessee to El Salvador to Ecuador back to the U.S. during Lidia’s formative years, deeply instilling in her love of family, service and travel. In this incredibly open, authentic, heart-warming interview Lidia shares wonderful stories of her family – from her uncle’s MacGyver-like ingenuity forced by scarcity of communist Cuba to her father’s magic touch with people (that Lidia clearly inherited) to the moving recent trip with her children back to Cuba. Lidia also talks about the importance of sharing your struggles and not just successes as a leader; how she "translates" her international background and earlier career successes to making impact locally with the Girl Scouts; her struggles with balance and making time for self-care; and some fun stories about her family’s fascination with everything Alexander Hamilton (and not just the musical!) What You'll Learn
  • About Lidia’s amazing journey as the daughter of Cuban missionary parents from TN to El Salvador and Ecuador back to the U.S.
  • Why Lidia considers the question "where are you from?" a complicated one
  • How living in Latin America and witnessing extreme poverty and injustice influenced Lidia's path as a leader
  • Ways leaders can systemically impact community and have a ripple effect at multiple levels of change
  • Some heartwarming personal stories of young women Lidia has mentored and what she has learned from them (and her children) in return
  • What Lidia most struggles with at this point of her life and career
  • The challenges and gifts of being an “empty nester”
  • Why Lidia’s personal mission in elevators is to make people laugh at least ones
  • Secrets of the Woo (Winning Over Others) she learned from her father
  • What Lidia and her family find fascinating and inspiring about Alexander Hamilton
 Links & ResourcesIMG_3735 About Lidia Soto Harmon Lidia Soto Harmon became the CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital in 2010 after serving six years as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. The Girl Scout Council is the area’s preeminent leadership organization for girls, serving 90,000 girl and adult members (girls in grades K-12). Lidia has developed an annual conference, Encuentro de Chicas Latinas de las Girl Scouts, which reaches young Latina girls, inspiring leadership and academic success. She also developed the DC Step Showcase to celebrate the rich history of African-Americans. Today, the annual event is enjoyed by Girl Scouts throughout the region. Prior to joining the Council, Lidia served as Senior Vice President of Community Development for First Book, a national children’s literacy organization dedicated to getting new books into the hands of children from low-income families. She served as the Deputy Director of the President’s Interagency Council on Women, chaired by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, at the U.S. Department of State, where she represented the United States at various United Nations’ conferences including the annual Commission on the Status of Women. Lidia was the Senior Director of the Fannie Mae Foundation’s Targeted Outreach Department, designing the first corporate nationwide multilingual strategy to reach new immigrants to promote homeownership in the United States in the late 1990s. She was a 2000 Fellow for the National Hispana Leadership Institute and participated with her NHLI Class in the Executive Seminar at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Lidia was named one of Nation’s Top 90 Women, Mentoring Leaders by Women of Wealth Magazine 2011, Notimujer of the Week, by CNN en Español for her work to reach young Latinas, and a Woman Who Means Business by the Washington Business Journal in 2012. She received the Regional Mujer Award (Woman of the Year) by the National Hispana Leadership Institute in 2012, and the Woman of Vision Award from the Junior League of Northern Virginia 2012. In 2013, Lidia was named one of DC’s most influential leaders in the Power Issue of Capitol File Magazine and she received the Wayne T. Anderson Award for Distinguished Public Service from George Mason University in 2014. Lidia is Vice Chair of the Migration Policy Institute, serves on the board of directors for the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and chairs the Governance Committee for the Meyer Foundation. She was honored to throw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals Major League baseball game in 2014, in honor of Girl Scout Weekend in the Greater Washington Region. Lidia grew up in Latin America and the United States. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University and B.A. from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. She is married and has two bilingual adult children.  
May 7, 2016
"It's hard to take a hit for your decisions, but this is the path I've chosen as a leader and a journalist - to make Washington a better place to live " – Doug Fruehling It’s not every day that you get to interview a leading journalist in Washington DC and especially not to have such a frank, authentic conversation caught on tape! In this revealing, insightful interview Doug Fruehling, the editor of the Washington Business Journal, opens up about what it’s like to be a leader who doesn’t always feel like he has all the answers. Doug admits he periodically struggles with self-doubt, shyness, decision-making and confidence, but yet chooses to make bold, sometimes unpopular decisions anyway and stick with his principles! What You'll Learn
  • How living in Japan as a child informed Doug's perspective on the world and leadership
  • Importance of learning from diverse people we meet through all walks of life
  • How Doug’s deals with criticism, including for his bold decision to exclude football team’s name “Redskins” from print in the Washington Business Journal
  • Importance of being an authentic, sincere and honest leader with staff and readers (or other constituents if you’re not a journalist)
  • Greatest challenges of leading a news room and being a journalist today
  • How to bring heart and humanity to interactions with others and balance journalistic truth and empathy
  • How to keep employees positive and motivated when they have to do so much more with much less
  • What Mid-West farmers and DC CEOs have in common
  • What it’s been like for Doug to be a gay man in the professional world and constantly decide how to navigate questions about his personal life
  • Super fun responses to my WBJ-style questions about Doug's guilty pleasures, favorite pet and what he'd do if he weren't the editor of the WBJ! 
Links & Resources About Doug Fruehling Doug has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Business Journal since 2009. He oversees all editorial content and leads a 20-person newsroom at the WBJ, which produces daily online news coverage of the local D.C. business scene and a weekly print publication. Prior to the WBJ, Doug was the managing editor of Roll Call and before that the managing editor of the WBJ (yes, it’s his second time around!) He began his career at Peoria Journal Star that you’ll hear about in the interview. Doug has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Ohio University and went to high school in Japan. Doug is quite involved in the DC community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Leadership Greater Washington.  
Apr 19, 2016
“It’s all about being genuine, doing what you say you'll do and treating people with humanity no matter what” – Glen O’Gilvie “Failure is not an option and neither is complaining.” This - and how to do more with less - is what Glen O’Gilvie learned from his Jamaican immigrant parents. So when he became an “accidental” leader at a young age, Glen had to figure out how to gain credibility and trust, lead people of all ages and backgrounds and make a transformational impact on the organizations and communities he has served. In this dynamic interview Glen shares his personal story and insights on empowering people (even when you let them go); transforming organizations; current trends in strengths and growing edges of nonprofit leaders and how to address the gaps; and the importance of ongoing reflection and coaching as a leader. What You'll Learn
  • What Glen has learned about life, positive attitude and doing more with less from his Jamaican immigrant parents
  • How Glen's first few no-go jobs and an unexpectedly engaging one shaped his career path
  • How to overcome barriers of being a young (and/or accidental) leader
  • Strategies and capacities necessary to transform a struggling organization
  • What it means to hire slow and fire fast
  • What it takes to leave employees empowered even when letting them go (it has to do with Glen’s 3 Rs – Redirect, Retrain and Release)
  • Current trends in non-profit leadership challenges and how to get the right support
  • How coaching and ongoing reflection can support executives to even greater growth and development. I know what you’re thinking but I promise, I didn’t plant this conversation despite my obvious bias on the topic – it was all Glen!
Links & Resources About Glen O’Gilvie Glen O’Gilvie, CAE was named chief executive officer of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement on June 5, 2008. A leader with more than 15 years of experience in the Metropolitan Washington nonprofit sector, Glen is passionate about addressing the issues affecting communities throughout the region. Before joining the Center, Glen served as president and CEO of Earth Conservation Corps. During his tenure from 2004 to 2008, he strengthened the organization’s programmatic infrastructure and forged partnerships with nonprofits, public officials, foundations and corporations throughout the region to advance the organization’s work. He developed structured environmental workforce development, leadership and service programs for disconnected youth in Washington, D.C., and built staff, board and organizational capacity with a focus on long-term sustainability. Prior to Earth Conservation Corps, Glen worked as a program officer for the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. While at the Community Foundation, he was responsible for growing the organization’s youth development grant program, which builds the capacity of nonprofit organizations throughout the region. Previously, Glen served as the national coordinator for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial’s RFK Fellows program. While there, he strengthened and developed youth training and leadership program model that placed young people within nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., and California to support their innovative efforts. Glen holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology; a master’s of education in guidance and counseling and has completed various nonprofit management and leadership training and certification programs. He resides in Prince George’s County, Maryland, with his wife and two children.  
Apr 3, 2016
Tony Cancelosi is an unusual leader in the non-profit field. He made – what some might consider - a huge leap from corporate to entrepreneurial to nonprofit worlds, all with tremendous success. As it turns out there are many similarities in leading these different types of organizations including the importance of financial management, being clear about the organization’s mission and goals, building the organization’s and leader’s reputation in the community and listening and empowering staff. Tony’s recommended “leadership” book may surprise some at first glance since it’s now one of his little granddaughter’s favorites as well. Listen to this episode (or see the show notes) for the name of the book and other tools, tips and resources from Tony Cancelosi, the President and CEO of the Columbia Lighthouse for the blind. What You'll Learn
  • The differences and similarities of leading a commercial vs. a non profit organization
  • Importance of financial and business focus in non profits
  • Why listening, humility and empowering others is important as a leader
  • Focusing on your market as a non profit just as if you were a business
  • Building your reputation in the community and ways to achieve that
Links & Resources About Tony Cancelosi  Tony Cancelosi, K.M. was appointed president and CEO of Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB) in September 2005. Under his leadership, CLB is refocusing its priorities to better serve the needs of the residents living in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia who are blind or visually impaired. To accomplish this goal, Mr. Cancelosi is expanding CLB’s strategic partnerships within the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and forging alliances with other blindness and disability organizations, both regionally and nationally. Mr. Cancelosi represents CLB on the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board and the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board. As CLB increases the depth and outreach of its local programs, Mr. Cancelosi is working to identify and cultivate new sources of private and government funding, reduce administrative expenses, and bring an increased level of fiscal accountability to the organization. Prior to joining the nonprofit organization, he was President of ICL, an international software company, and the CEO of several for-profit technology companies including iBrite, Inc., eStara, and Source Digital. He also served as COO for Kee Systems (now Sylvan Learning). Early in his career, Mr. Cancelosi worked in sales for Control Data Corporation. His nonprofit experience includes involvement with the International Center for the Disabled, National Kidney Foundation, and the Special Olympics. He is the former chairman of ServiceSource and is now a trustee of the ServiceSource foundation. In addition to serving on CLB’s Board of Directors, Mr. Cancelosi serves on the boards of directors of the DC Police Foundation, Providence Health Foundation, and VISTA Technology Services, Inc. and is president emeritus of the Association for Corporate Growth. He is a member of the Wharton Club, Leadership of Greater Washington Class of 2007, the Potomac Officers Club, and the Rotary Club. Recently, Mr. Cancelosi became a Knight of Malta as well as graduated from the FBI’s Citizen’s Academy. Mr. Cancelosi remains a partner at Human Capital Advisors. In 2010, Mr. Cancelosi wrote a book called Santa’s Secret, and all book sales benefit Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. Mr. Cancelosi completed the Executive Finance Program at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia and received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from St. Joseph’s University, also in Philadelphia.  
Apr 3, 2016
“There is nothing better than getting things done on behalf of the people that you serve and making their lives better”  - Doug Duncan The Washington Post called Doug Duncan the best County Executive in Montgomery County history.  But then what was splashed all over the media was Doug withdrawing from the Maryland governor race due to severe depression. What followed Doug calls “two years of living in hell.” In this frank, revealing interview you’ll hear about Doug’s struggle with depression – from denial of its existence to coming to terms and asking for help to making it his mission to help others suffering from this debilitating mental illness. We also discuss how Doug’s family, faith, leadership philosophy and passion for public service have shaped his life and journey as a leader. What You'll Learn
  • How Doug Duncan transformed a mental health crisis that forced him out of the MD Governor race into an even bigger opportunity to serve the public
  • What might be the early signs of depression vs. high stress (and see the link below for more symptoms of depression)
  • How Doug overcomes shyness by focusing on his passion for public service
  • Why it’s crucial for leaders to be transparent and tell the truth even under the toughest of circumstances
  • Differences between leadership as a politician vs. of a non-profit like LGW
  • What is Doug’s “Secret Handshake” club and who should join
  • The importance of sharing your vision as a leader
  • Tips and strategies to combat “loneliness at the top” and make friends at any stage of life
  • How Leadership Greater Washington and other professional organizations can help leaders connect and grow
Links & Resources About Doug Duncan Doug Duncan has been a leader in the Greater Washington Region for over thirty years and today serves as President & CEO of Leadership Greater Washington, where he brings together regional leaders and regional challenges to foster positive community impact.  LGW is a thirty year organization with over fifteen hundred members who have gone through its Signature Program and who are among the top decision makers in the region. Mr. Duncan is best known for having served three terms as Montgomery County Executive, the top elected official in Maryland’s largest jurisdiction. The Washington Post has called him the best County Executive in Montgomery County history.  In his highly successful 12 years in office, he developed, coordinated and implemented a wide array of initiatives on the local, regional and state levels, in partnership with multiple constituencies including residents, civic groups, unions, non-profits, the business and education communities, and other elected officials. He led Montgomery County through its transformation from a suburban bedroom community into a thriving urban center recognized for visionary land planning, its global technology industry, and vast open spaces and parks. The results of Doug Duncan’s landmark initiatives have been hailed nationally as models for other communities across the country. He successfully revitalized downtown Silver Spring, now a national model for urban redevelopment.  He led the effort to fund and construct the Music Center at Strathmore, rated as one of the best concert halls in the country. And during an extraordinarily dangerous time in our region’s history, Mr. Duncan, along with Police Chief Charles Moose, helped lead this community through the DC area sniper shootings, where he earned the title of Chaplain for the region. In his career, Mr. Duncan also co-founded a continuous advisory services firm for state and local governments, was Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Maryland College Park, was a National Account Manager for AT&T, and served as Mayor of Rockville, his hometown. Among numerous awards, Mr. Duncan has been named to the Washington Business Journal Power 100 and as a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine.  
Feb 18, 2016
“If we’re not able to tell our story we’re not able to connect with other people who will truly benefit from it.” – Scott Jackson, CEO, Global Impact and the Leadership Insights Podcast first guest
Imagine – you are 10 years old in the South during the Civil Rights Movement and your white mother leaves an abusive marriage and marries a black man. It’s illegal and your new family is shunned by both the white and the black communities. Compelled to save the family and make a better life, the three of you flee to Canada and then Washington State. Your biological father finds you and forces you to return, but at 12-years-of-age you escape, making a harrowing journey across the country, alone, back to your mother and step father… This is how our guest Scott Jackson’s journey begins and he shares his incredible story and extraordinary leadership insights in the very first episode of the Leadership Insights Podcast! What You’ll Learn
  • Why it’s crucial for leaders to be vulnerable and both share their stories and know the stories of those they lead
  • What kinds of strategies Scott uses at Global Impact to attain a 95% satisfaction rate on employee surveys, unheard of in his industry (or many others)
  • How to create a culture where staff is empowered, supported and visible
  • How to balance one’s ego with your mission to serve and develop others
  • How to stay authentic, curious and humble
  • The importance of continuous reflection and being a student of leadership
  • And so much more!
Links & Resources About Scott Jackson Scott Jackson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Impact. A global development, fundraising and marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Mr. Jackson provides leadership, direction and oversight for all aspects of the organization, which has raised $1.7 billion since inception to help the world’s most vulnerable people. Before joining Global Impact, Mr. Jackson served as Vice President for External Relations at PATH where he worked with a team to manage more than $300 million in donations. While there, his strategic responsibilities included developing and strengthening relationships with partners and donors, overseeing unrestricted funding and advocacy-related funding initiatives, and maximizing the visibility of PATH’s work. Previously, Mr. Jackson was Senior Vice President at World Vision US where he directed external relations, key partnerships, community relations and strategic initiatives. While there he worked with a team that managed a fundraising portfolio of more than $1 billion. From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Jackson served as President and Managing Director of APCO Seattle, a worldwide public affairs and strategic communications consulting firm. In 1989, he founded TRADEC (Trade and Development Consortium), one of the first marketing and communications firms in North America to specialize in international trade promotion, technology transfer and market access. TRADEC was later acquired by APCO Worldwide. Mr. Jackson serves on several national boards and advisory councils including PATH MACEPA, Global Washington, the International Center for Research on Women, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. He was a founding nonprofit member of the management committee of the  ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History. Mr. Jackson received an MBA from the University of Edinburgh School of International Business, where he attended as a Rotary International Ambassador Scholar. He also holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Puget Sound. Mr. Jackson received a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Puget Sound, and maintains his CFRE certification through the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  
Feb 15, 2016

Brian Hawkins was told he wasn't smart enough to work as a hospital payroll technician. Urged by a mindset instilled by his family “You can do, you must do and you will do" and driven to change the medical system that treated his grandfather poorly Brian persisted to eventually to become the Director of the DC Veteran Affairs Medical Center. You’ll hear just how much Brian’s parents (and children) have taught him about leadership all throughout this interview. Brian believes that only by engaging employees is it possible to provide the excellent care the patients and their families deserve. The Hawk Eye program he initiated at DCVAMC empowers employees at all levels to actively observe customer service and immediately advocate for the patient if the service is sub-par. Employees also report their observations to Brian and his team and thanks to this program, numerous changes have been made at DCVAMC to better service the patients. One change resulting from this effort was a complete $900k redesign of the hospital atrium to make female veterans and employees more comfortable. Brian’s interview is filled with stories, examples and tips for creating engagement, diversity and excellence in any organization! What You'll Learn

  • Tips and strategies to create a culture of excellence and diversity in any organization
  • How employee engagement (or lack thereof) drastically impacts customer service
  • Why it’s important to cultivate a strong organizational culture that that transcends whoever occupies the leader chair
  • How Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy described in Team of Rivals has shaped Brian’s leadership approach
  • Ways in which Brian’s perspective as a leader was shaped by his parents and being a parent
  • Why it’s better to not reference the holidays as a new podcaster if you’re planning to launch the said podcast in the New year – yes, this interview was recorded Christmas week as will become quite evident when you listen ;)
  • This and so much more you’ll enjoy hearing about in this episode of Leadership Insights!

Links & Resources

About Brian Hawkins Brian A. Hawkins was appointed Medical Center Director, Washington DC VA Medical Center September 25, 2011. With more than 2,200 employees, over 90,000 Veterans enrolled for care and a budget of more than $450 million dollars, Mr. Hawkins leads one of the largest and highly visible medical centers in the nation. In addition to the main hospital, Mr. Hawkins is responsible for the Community Resource and Referral Center for Homeless and At-risk Veterans (CRRC) and five community based outpatient clinics in Washington, DC; Fort Belvoir, Virginia; and Greenbelt, Camp Springs and Charlotte Hall, Maryland. Brian began his career at Chicago's Hines VA Medical Center as a Clerk/Typist. His career demonstrates continuous advancement through leadership positions which include; Medical Center Director at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer of the VA Maryland Healthcare System and Associate Director and Site Manager for the Perry Point VA Medical Center. He has also held positions of authority at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Atlanta VA Medical Center and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Brian holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Health Administration from Governors State University. His unique leadership style was recognized by Veterans Health Administration (VHA) naming him 2012 "Communications Visionary of the Year". He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Senior Executives Association, and the American Pilot and Aircraft Owners Association and has been an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. A Veteran himself, Mr. Hawkins served eight years in the Illinois Army National Guard.