Highlights and Key Points from Recent Interviews of The Nonprofit Exchange
Part 2 2019
Hugh Ballou and Russell Dennis, co-hosts of The Nonprofit Exchange
provide highlights from interviews over the past few months.
Russ and Hugh distill some of the key points and sound bites from these wonderful interviews with people making a difference in nonprofit leadership.
Co-Hosts, Hugh Ballou and Russell Dennis share highlights from the past six months of episodes of The Nonprofit Exchange.
Read the Transcript
Hugh Ballou: This is Hugh and Russ. This is the semi-annual review. Every now and then, Russ and I review some of the past episodes. It’s been about four or five months. We try to do this about two or three times a year so it’s not too long a show. We want to capture the essence of some of the important shows that we’ve had and relay those to you. We’ve had some really fine guests with some really fine learning experiences for me. Russ, what’s your memory of the last few months?
Russell Dennis: We’ve had people who have talked about excellence on both the personal and professional level in all sorts of ways, and how to build your organization by building yourself, becoming a better leader, and building great systems. That’s what we talk about here on a steady diet here on The Nonprofit Exchange. We’ve had some really brilliant people who come in and share that with us.
The first, since our last recap, was Rocio Perez, with Inventiva Consulting. She is here in the Denver area. She and I had just attended a Global Mind Education event, where she is heavily involved. She launched her book on becoming an unstoppable leader. She was here to share some of her thoughts with us on that.
Hugh: We’ve had some wise people. You can’t always measure wise in terms of years. I find that we’ve had some younger folks who have had wisdom beyond their years.
Russell: Rocio is definitely one of them. She had a successful book launch, Unstoppable: The Seven Steps to Becoming a More Intentional Leader. She shared five of those with us. To get a sense of what those all involve, there are seven of them.
Hugh: #1 was getting to know yourself.
Russell: Getting to know yourself, yes. That was the first one. There are all sorts of ways to do that. How do we get comfortable with ourselves and what is showing up? What are some tools to better understand ourselves? She built a course around that that is available on helping people flesh out what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The second thing she talked about as far as what makes a leader unstoppable is to always learn. It’s continuous learning. It’s being clear on what it is you know and don’t know. That is quite a thing for leaders to recognize is that continuous learning, reinventing yourself, always looking for better ways to do what you do.
Hugh: This is SynerVision Leadership Foundation. I find that a lot of people don’t understand leadership as well as Rocio does. She is quite a fireball, an energy field. The book is on Amazon. I think the intentionality of what she knows and teaches was pretty remarkable.
Then we had Jarrod Haning. What do you remember about Jarrod? That was a fascinating interview.
Russell: Jarrod talked about looking at how your work and getting more with less time. He presented the proposition that the less work you do, the more money you make. He had a remarkable system for helping do that. He was here to share that with us. That was also in June. I went on to that system. I took an assessment that he walked me through. This system of his shows you what your strong areas and weak areas are on a very deep level so that you can become more effective at knowing where your bottlenecks are and clear them out. He had a special for nonprofits at that point in time. He did offer to have me take that assessment. It was fascinating where some of my weak spots and strong spots were. Having leaders work to their strengths is critical, and having other people in your organization work to their strengths is critical, too. This is a marvelous podcast for learning about some of the things you may have overlooked in terms of strengths and weaknesses for yourself and your organization.
Hugh: He and I were resonating in our musicianship. He is a violist in the orchestra part-time. He is a speaker as well. He talked about overcoming his stage fright. He wanted to be perfect; it was a barrier to him being good. He had to conquer that stage fright. One day, he walked out and said, “I’m going to go for it.” I can relate to that. One day, I just decided, “There are all these people staring at me. I have to read my notes. Nope, not going to.” I threw them away. Best I ever did. I just looked at people, and I presented like I knew what I was doing.
Anyway, his website is MindsetPerformance.co. Mindscan, is that him?
Russell: Mindscan, yes. He calls it a Mindscan, this assessment you go through. Absolutely remarkable. I still have mine somewhere. I don’t know exactly where I filed it, but it was fascinating. When he builds a coaching/mentorship program for you, it’s built around that scan, so no two clients of his are exactly alike. What you work on is remarkable.
Hugh: He did have intentionality, like Rocio. Doing less, it sounds like snake oil. Do less, get more done. He talks about his three pillars that allowed him to go from the hustle of working 40 hours a week, $50,000 a year to a lifestyle of sustainability to 20 hours a week, $100,000 a year. You have to listen to the interview. It’s a compelling interview. He is very knowledgeable with his methodology and intentional. It’s not about waiting for things to come to you. It’s about productivity.
Russell: Productivity is actually getting more done in less time with the tools that you have on hand. There is a profit in not just monetary terms, but in other areas of your life. There is a profit factor by being able to leverage your time better, having everybody work to their strengths. That is a piece of what we talk about in our events and training. It’s working to those core strengths and finding partners to collaborate to fill those other gaps. It’s a remarkable training program. You’d do well to listen to this episode. It sounds so counterintuitive on the surface that a lot of people find it tough to digest. Give it more than one listen. Absorb all the other concepts we covered.
Hugh: You might want to take notes because there are sound bites. You can also see his TedX speech on his website.
Then we went to Suzanne Smith. We are into July now, I believe. Suzanne was delightful. Still is, of course.
Russell: Yes, Suzanne worked a lot of years overseas in Africa and in third world countries. She is primarily a marketing person. What she was talking about was having accountability for community organizations. We were discussing very small NGOs that were supported in Africa and other parts of the world where people don’t have access to technology. It was about creating systems that empower you to come up with the right information, something that is so simple anyone can use it, for these very small NGOs, most of whom don’t have access to technology that you and I take for granted and tell a compelling story and show the value that they are giving donors.
Hugh: It shows that you don’t have to have a lot of fancy equipment or sophisticated computers in order to do bookkeeping. It’s a slam-dunk easy methodology that enables her clients to keep track of where they are and be accountable to their funding partners.
Russell: It is. It’s difficult for small grassroots organizations because they don’t have the staff to track everything. By having a simple system that people who are doing work on the ground can use and actually capture information that they can measure creates that accountability. That is a point of frustration for a lot of donors with small organizations. This is really important stuff to capture. It’s great to capture. Her system for training trainers and passing that information on to the end users is great.
Hugh: We want to know where the money is going. We want to know where the money went. We tend to lose track of some of that. It hurts our income because funders don’t know the value of what we’ve done because we can’t track where the dollars went. Her umbrella was about if you want to feed more hungry people, you need to be able to have accountability in your systems and be able to have financial literacy. We tend to shy away from that, some of us who are creative. It seems difficult and boring. She was not really an accountant by nature, but she worked with an accountant to develop this system and wanted to make it transparent, accountable, easy, doable, and practical.
What we’ve seen so far with the three we’ve talked about is they reframed an old paradigm where people get stuck. They suggested, Okay, there is another way to look at it. I asked her about overhead. What is the thing about overhead? She said, Somebody has to keep the lights on. We are talking about overhead like it’s a bad thing. We want to keep it within parameters. We augment the work that we do with volunteers so it’s not like a one-person show. We are saving people in Tibet, she said, but we need a lot of people to do it. It takes a lot of other people to do other things. The salaries are overhead, but the salary is really service to the community. There is this thing of overhead that sometimes is good that we are not spending 90% of the money on ourselves, but it’s thrown out of proportion. What did you remember out of that?
Russell: A big part of Suzanne’s frustration in keeping that system together is she wasn’t an accountant, but when she went to donors, she couldn’t give them the best numbers or measure the impact. When you talk in terms of the work nonprofits do, there is what we call social profit. It goes beyond the money. It’s showing how effective the folks who are delivering the service are. It’s a total value preposition. The package is about the value people bring. By having that simplified system as far as the numbers go, it freed people up to talk about the mission, people who are getting the services so they can focus on the social aspects, but have enough numerical data to meld into the story to show that impact. It is critical to be able to show both. Those are the things she had in mind when putting the system together.
Hugh: I don’t know anybody who has a bigger library than Russell Dennis. You are always reading. When we talk about a book, you pull it out of your back pocket, it looks like. Some of the books, you highlighted a few, and I highlighted a few. You highlighted The Guide to Proposal Writing.
Russell: From the Foundation Center, yes. They have the best database on programs running. They cover private foundations, businesses. They talk about everything in there. What is funded? Who is funding it? Where the geographic focus is. They have a lot of training on writing proposals and grant strategy. This guide to fundraising they wrote has been around for a long time. I have read some other books and gone through some other courses, but this particular book is the best one I’ve found on grant writing yet. Their clients are primarily private foundations. There is a systematic process for going through and capturing all the pieces that go into a proposal and writing with impact, making your message clear, everything from the need to how you will measure results. It is a phenomenal book. They talk about strategy, how to go about searching. They have their online database that they’d like for you to use. That is the most robust database out there. They have a great product. If you’re serious about grant writing, you want this book on your bookshelf so you can refer to it again and again and again.
Hugh: I highlighted a book called Extraordinary Relationships by my leadership coach, Roberta Gilbert. It’s on the work of Murray Bowen. It’s about knowing yourself as a leader. We set up problems as a leader. We show up anxious and create anxiety within the community. We are not aware of what we bring to the community. This premise is that we show up in any group situation just like we showed up in our family of origin. That was a fascinating reframing.
Russell: She took work that was done by Murray Bowen, who came out with The Bowen Concepts and brought it to life to show how these family dynamics play into the roles that we find ourselves filling in every situation.
Hugh: Roberta is a regular contributor to The Nonprofit Performance 360 Magazine. One of her articles is organizations are just like big families. We do show up. We can’t change other people; we can change ourselves. Other people respond to us. They want to push back to the way it was. They want to change back to the way we were. We need to forge a new culture. We model a new culture, and people respond to that. We can’t change other people, I’ll repeat. We can change ourselves.
You also reviewed one called The Nonprofit Budget Builder Tool Kit by Mark Mullen.
Russell: This is a nuts and bolts book. We talk about strategy here at SynerVision. Being able to get that strategy on legs is to know how much you’re going to bring in, how much you need, how much it costs, what people need to invest. In my years working with the MickMack tribal nation, one of the most stressful times of year is when we were putting budgets together. We had to justify the needs, and the needs were usually increasing. We had to quantify and qualify what we had done and look at estimates of what it was going to cost to bring up our programs to the level we needed them to be brought up to. This is something that takes a non-accountant and shows them step by step how to put a budget together and how to come up with some of these numbers so that you can match the investment required with your strategy. It’s a great book because it walks you step by step through that process, which for a lot of people is intimidating if they don’t have an accounting background.
Hugh: The budget. What do you find are the deficits that this book speaks to?
Russell: In terms of how to look at your revenue and classify it, what type of revenue it is, I’m talking more in terms of how the revenue functions. There are four basic categories. There is pure profit. Some of the programs have mission-based revenue, that is profit. You have other types of revenue that some programs are partially self-supporting. There is a combination of mission-based revenue, grants, donations, and other things. You have programs that are not self-sustaining and need to be completely subsidized by some of your revenues. By looking at revenue in these blocks, you have a better way of estimating what is going to come in. You look at costs as well as how people spend their time. It’s very comprehensive and breaks things down into many pieces. The key is to make sure you account for things a lot of people frequently overlook. That is the part of budgeting that can take you off the rails quickly if you overlook some potential cost items or revenue. If you overlook some things, it can throw your numbers or plan completely off.
Hugh: I remember that. I talked about the wisdom that comes from Napoleon Hill. I remember sitting in lessons with Jim Rohn. If you had three books, you’ll be set: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and the Bible. There is a collection of wisdom from the ages. I took a spin off of Napoleon Hill. There is a book recently published called Napoleon Hill on the Air. It is his radio interviews. It puts a lot of things together for me. They are short, pithy. He is asked a question, and he talks about the principles. He hammers the principles of the ages. Those are universal principles. There is some neat quotes in there. Some that come to mind are, “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, never a result of selfishness.” He said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement. Not a hope, not a wish, but a keen, pulsating desire which transcends everything.” Sometimes we have a fear of failing. He says, “We worry about failing. Every adversity, every failure, every heartache comes with it a seed of an equal or greater benefit.” It’s just full of really good sound bites like that.
There was one more. You and I lifted up three. There was one more about being fundable, Asking Rights by Tom Ralser.
Russell: the fundamental question is why should I give you money? He had written another book prior to that called ROI for Nonprofits. This one was more expansive. By applying the principles, he started looking at things that made them more fundable. As he was working with more clients, getting more results, he developed a 20-question matrix. If you hadn’t come to the point where you could answer all 20 questions in the affirmative, he didn’t take your money. He said you had more work to do. He would tell you where your weak areas were, and you would go work on those. At that point, you are ready to work with his firm at a deep level to create a whole answer to that question: why should I give you money? The book talks about earning the right and showing that value and demonstrating that value that your organization delivers. It’s quite a book, just like all of the others that we talked about.
Napoleon Hill probably talked to more of the greatest minds in time than any other human being that ever lived. He brought a lot of nuggets. The mastermind I was at came out of his interviews with Andrew Carnegie. Asking Rights is important. It’s a good book to read if you want to get an understanding of how to talk about the value that your nonprofit delivers to other people.
Hugh: We had an archive recording next week. It’s another great one by Penny Zenker. “The Tug of War with Time: How to Gain Control of Your Life.” I just recommend people listen to this. She has free giveaways on her website. She has practical observations and methodologies. If you follow what she says, you will be caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. I know I put things that were important off, and now they become urgent. I spend a lot of time doing things that are critical and urgent, but not important, or less important than what I should be doing if I had worked ahead. Penny is a friend of ours, and we know her well. That was a transformational interview for me.
Russell: I love this idea of getting control of your time. A lot of people talk about time management. Penny goes beyond that with mindset and priorities. What is important? How do you keep yourself focused on working on what is important? It’s more about managing ourselves than the actual time. By managing ourselves and how we structure things, we actually get more of our time back. She has got wonderful tools. Since that interview, I know she came up with an app that she was using. She gave it to me to test; I didn’t get around to it. She has an app that coincides with that productivity. Go to her website, PennyZenker360.com, and you will find the book The Productivity Zone and some information on this app she developed to help you organize your work.
Hugh: The following week. What do you remember about Erin Loman Jeck?
Russell: Erin is talking about changing the world by telling your story. She is a speaker, trainer, and coach. She has done a lot of Ted Talks. The power of story can transform how your organization works. Her work is around helping nonprofits and organizations organize their stories in compelling ways that relate to donors and funders so that you can actually tell it the right way. More people will be prone to open up their pocketbooks. Not because you are better at what you are doing, but you are better at explaining to them the value and impact that is being made. The big difference in what an organization can raise is strictly based on how well they can communicate what they are doing.
Hugh: Then we went to Chyla Graham, another very young but talented person. She said she really liked nonprofits when she was young. It was an interesting story here about her being a fit. “I got interested in nonprofits in high school. I worked as a telegiver. Anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it is someone who is calling, ‘Hi, I am calling you on behalf of SynerVision Leadership Foundation. I’d like to raise $300.’ I lasted all of three shifts before my supervisor said this wasn’t a good fit. And she was right.” It’s interesting that she had a paradigm shift. She talks about that in the interview.
Russell: It’s speaking about money with confidence is what she was talking about. There is nothing scarier for a lot of people around fundraising. If there is one place people get choked up, it’s at the ask. Being able to understand how the money works, where it goes, what you do with it, it’s having that confidence that you’re handling this money in a way that delivers impact, and having those systems in place so that people are comfortable with numbers. That is her wheelhouse. She works with people who aren’t comfortable with numbers and helps them get a sense of how those can help you, and managing them in a way that is going to generate massive impact. It’s getting comfortable in those conversations around money. That is something our friend David Gruder talks about a lot, too. If there is a disconnect in money and asking for it, if we have some discomfort around that, that can impact our ability to ask for it.
Hugh: Yes. Steven Maranville was next.
Russell: He talked a lot about creating organizations that learn and adapt. It’s building systems. That was a very good interview. He made a lot of strong points. “Strategic Leadership and corporate governance: Creating Nonprofit Organizations that Learn and Adapt.” He had some great gifts for us, too.
Hugh: Ivy Slater. She is a bundle of wisdom, too. Delightful human being. I believe she is in New York somewhere. She speaks differently than we do here in the South.
Russell: It’s about getting results. She talked about getting high-impact results. She started a printing business. She drove that to seven figures. That wasn’t her main strength, so she started working with entrepreneurs to help them get better results and get their messaging out there. She coaches at a high level now. That was what she came to talk about is how do you measure the kind of results that you’re getting? How do you achieve good results by measuring things, and measuring the right things? It’s talking about growing. She talked about some of the common barriers to nonprofits. It boils down to business systems. That is what she was talking about for a good portion of the interview: having the right systems and using the right language in order to make sure that people can look at their results. What is the language that is important to your audience? A lot of good ideas are simple. That is what she talked about a great deal.
Hugh: She talked about great leaders being visionaries. I like the quote; I don’t know who to give attribution to. “Leaders live in the future. Followers sometimes live in the past.”
Russell: That goes back to the rearview mirror versus windshield view of your organization or your business. You will see a lot more looking out the windshield. Ivy talked about ways to do that.
Hugh: We are talking about scaling up. The next week was Laruen Cohen. Lauren is an attorney who is good at helping people set up organizations and build solid foundations with the right articles, bylaws, non-compete agreements, and contracts that you need to have in place, and write the narrative so you can apply and get your tax-exempt status. She helps you get some of the foundational pieces in place. We tend to want to fill out a form and take a template off the website. No, she helps you think about your corporate record book. If someone comes knocking at your door for an audit, they will ask you for that. There are a lot of moving parts that people either don’t know or overlook. What do you remember about Lauren?
Russell: She talked about seven areas that have to be right on target in order for you to scale up. The first item is funding and capitalization. If you don’t have enough money, everything falls apart. You have to know how much money you have. That is a critical ingredient.
Then she talks about strategy, the business planning, the vision, even an exit strategy, things like transition planning. What will happen if something happens to the leader? You have to have solid succession in there, too, as part of building a strategy.
The third piece is branding and marketing. Who are you? People have to know who you are as an organization. That speaks to brand. What is the promise you offer to folks as an organization?
Fourth is legal and compliance. If you don’t have your paperwork in order, you have guys like my old employers knocking at your door. Either that or people from the state. You definitely want to keep all of the legal and compliance in order to keep your organization healthy.
Financials and taxes, that is the other piece. You have to look at them as a nonprofit. There is tax considerations even as a nonprofit. A lot of people donate and look for tax benefit. You have to be in compliance with taxes, especially if you own a business, whether that is mission-based revenue or unrelated business income. Track your financials. Knowing where every penny is going is critical.
You have to have security for your operations. Protect your information. Protect your facilities. Protect your clients. There is a security piece to make sure it can grow with your organization.
The last piece is risk management. It’s insurance, licenses, certifications. Making sure you have your T’s crossed and I’s dotted there. Without solid foundation in those seven things, you can’t grow your organization. Those are all critical pieces.
She has a check-up on her website you can go through and see where you are.
Hugh: It’s ScaleUpCheckUpQuiz.online.
The next two weeks were two of our sponsors. Bill Gilmer is WordSprint. He prints our magazine and does mailings for a bunch of nonprofits. He had 2.5 million mailings that he has in his research back pocket. He knows what works and what doesn’t work. It’s 30/30/30/10. 30% is the right message, 30% is the right person, the third 30 is the right frequency, and the 10 is the right appearance. You don’t want it to look too fancy because it will look like you are wasting money. That’s what he calls top-of-mind marketing.
Russell: It is. It’s a way to stay connected with people. He has many years of analytics and everything that goes with that. He knows what works for organizations of all types and sizes. A lot of people will start thinking, Well, why would I do direct mail? Isn’t print dead? No, print is alive and well. There are still a lot of boomers and great marketing materials out there. Another thing he does, he doesn’t do just direct mail. He actually prints our magazine. If you’ve seen that publication, you know how great that is. It’s all about making sure that your materials have that good look and feel as well as the right content, and the people who want it have it in their hands.
Hugh: Absolutely. You’re right. He has two decades of research. It takes consistency over one or two years, but he said the donor amounts always go up because people know what you’re doing. We are telling them what we have done with their money, so they will give us more money.
The following week, we had Greg Sanders and Adam Bricker from EZCard. People can download the SynerVision EZCard by texting LDR to 64600. It’s a virtual card. You don’t have to download an app. You can see all these great interviews on your handheld device. It is the most amazing thing I’ve seen. We are helping them spread the word about it. They are helping us create our cards for our live events and marketing and fundraising. It’s a fundraising tool. What is your experience? They talked about how to connect digitally. We don’t have all the right tools. What we found on EZCard is it puts all the tools in your hand. That was amazing to me. What do you think?
Russell: I think it’s a phenomenal all-in-one mobile website. People can grab all sorts of information about what you’re doing, your team, upcoming events. Everything is there at your fingertips. It’s a way to register for upcoming events. You always are up to date on what’s coming up or what’s happening. It’s a phenomenal way to get your word out on your business and let people know what you’re doing as well as to connect with other people. You have access to these podcasts and other resources. It’s as close as your cell phone, instantaneous. It’s got a great way for you to maintain a mailing list for people to connect with you. It’s simple. The easier you make it for people to connect with you, the more people will do so.
Hugh: Next was Rivly Breus, another young person with amazing wisdom. She is the founder of Erzule Paul Foundation. Erzule Paul was her grandmother. She lives in Salt Lake City, I think. Her focus is on those refugees and migrant workers who are poverty-stricken in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She had extensive background in volunteering in nonprofit work. The work she had done was directly related to those who were poverty-stricken. That was her calling, so she needed to do something that was going to impact the world. She has done a very fine focus. Somewhere in the interview, she said that she was given 1,000 trees, and she got them over there, and she gets people to plant them. She also talks about the lack of government structure is what really sets up the high level of poverty. There is a lot of things that I didn’t know about in countries like Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She does have a regular funding strategy.
She keeps people motivated. She keeps herself motivated. There is an emotional rollercoaster in nonprofit work. It’s about staying centered and focused and motivated. She has a scholarly background in public health, and she had taken grant writing classes. She put a whole collection of her experience in play. She talks about some specific funders in there. Have your ears open if you are looking for some new funding sources. She has given away a few secrets. None of us know about that rollercoaster, do we?
Russell: When you are working in communities where poverty is very high, it is stressful for the people actually doing the work because there is a sense of commitment that comes with that. People are counting on me. If I am not effective at my job, there may be people who don’t eat. When you are at that level, it can create a lot of stress. She talked a lot about self-care and the importance of that and making connections. Just a brilliant young lady. When you are talking about some of the poorest of poor, with Haiti and the Dominican Republic, you have tropical storms, you have severe earthquakes like the one a number of years ago. It’s tough for a country to recover from something that is that devastating to the basic infrastructure. She has her work cut out for her, and she is a champion, out there helping those. She is a great person to have in your corner. Especially if you are in a place where you are starting to feel burned out and tired, and you’re not sure what to do next, it will be inspiring. You will grab some ideas of things you can try to help alleviate some of that poverty.
Hugh: And manage yourself. We don’t always have somebody to talk to, to get us out of the tree. Don’t jump! Don’t jump! We don’t give enough credit to the difficulty level in running an organization that feeds people, clothes people, helps them do things they can’t do for themselves. I was quite impressed with Rivly.
The next one was on Community Options. This one had a lot of downloads on the podcast right out of the chute and a lot of visits to the website. Robert is very focused. He founded this thing called Community Options. It does very specific things. He travels a lot. He had a career working for other nonprofits.
What I got out of this, and it doesn’t matter what they do, but it matters how he created a system with a high-functioning board and staff. I can’t remember how many staff he had, but it was large. He’s good at managing the board. One thing that stood out in this interview was do boards know how to distinguish between governance and operations. You may have come in late on this one because you had another glitch, but what do you remember from this?
Russell: I had a couple glitches. Mercifully, none today. The thing that was remarkable about Robert Stack was talking about how you grow an organization with those systems. The budget is actually huge. The key thing that he was talking about was collaboration. He actually talked about things you never hear in terms of nonprofits: mergers, acquiring other organizations when it makes sense and there is a synergy that fits. That is a lot of how he went about scaling his organization. It’s national. It’s open wide. Keeping leadership focused on strategy is how he continues to grow it instead of getting stuck down in the minutiae of operations. Letting leaders do what they do and having systems in there for personal development and growth. They are always growing new leaders. It shows because the organization is always growing. There was one other organization.
Hugh: He has 5,500 staff. He talked about his board, how he vets the board members. $240 million budget. He started from the get-go.
Last week, what every nonprofit needs to incorporate business structures now. Young fellow out there where you live, Joseph Imbriano. What do you remember?
Russell: Joseph cut his teeth. He used to work for organizations of all types. He was actually in China. What he did was a lot of troubleshooting. He’d go in and find an organization in a crisis with challenges. He was a troubleshooter. He said, Why not look at some of these things and put systems in place so that we are proactive and not running into all of these problems? We are creating strategies and systems we need to keep us from getting into hot water in the first place.
Hugh: He talks about relationship a lot. It’s about relationship. He looks younger than he really is, I think.
Russell: He is a member of my mastermind. He wasn’t there today; he’s on a retreat. He does this. He takes time to reset. He talks about the importance of doing that, taking time to reset as part of your growth. Bringing in resources from all over. Relationships are at the base of everything. You will create these systems. Everything is relationship-based both inside and outside the organization. That is what he identified as an area people have a lot of trouble with. When you look at things transactionally, you don’t build those kinds of connections that will propel you and your supporters forward.
Hugh: Well-stated, sir. Russell, we fit all of those in the time allotted. We are down to our last minute. Why don’t you close us out here? This was fun. Thank you for doing this with me.
Russell: Thanks again. I’m still looking at that other face. 2020 will bring us all sorts of stuff in this community along with books nonprofit leaders should read and other ways for us to connect.