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Ep 15 - Nonprofit Leadership

“I love having you be a part of the mastermind and other experts also. It's such a gift for the nonprofit to talk to funders or someone from a foundation on our team. How often do you get to candidly with someone from a foundation without worrying about how they will perceive you? And to be able to help you better position your organization for success. That's what I was hoping to create.” - Mike Gellman

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Mike Gellman, the founder of High Five Career Coaching, specializes in collaborating with nonprofit executives and leaders for them to reach their full potential. In this conversation, Mike and May Harris, Esq., MA, explore the essential qualities needed for effective nonprofit leadership and discuss the available resources to support these executives. They also weigh the merits and drawbacks of transitioning from the corporate sector to nonprofit work, delving into the intriguing idea of how nonprofits, often considered competitors, can form beneficial alliances.


[1:19] Mike explains how he became involved in the nonprofit sector and why he founded High Five Career Coaching, which serves nonprofits
[5:10] Mike reflects that nonprofits have the same types of problems to deal with as corporate entities. It is just a matter of scale.
[9:50] Discussion regarding the nonprofit mastermind and advisory boards
[15:55] What should an executive working in a corporate job consider before moving to a nonprofit, and what are the advantages of taking a nonprofit position
[24:00] Mike discusses nonprofits dovetailing with each other and sharing resources, deciding they are not in competition but can help each other


  • Nonprofits face significant challenges in determining their desired direction, employee motivation, and securing funding streams.
  • ​Having an advisory group is advantageous for a director as it provides a secure space to discuss matters they might be hesitant to share with their board. ​
  • Transitioning from a corporate role to a nonprofit position requires acknowledging that nonprofit salaries are generally lower than those in the corporate sector, and the resources available may differ from those found in the corporate world. In such a move, executives might take on a more hands-on role in various tasks. However, the upside is there is less bureaucracy, and it can be a great career accelerator with less oversight and the ability to accomplish much.