Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector

Myra Biblowitz: I think for many organizations it’s finding good people, you know, people say to me I hire a bit like I’m looking for a fourth for bridge but the reality is you spend a lot more time with the people you work with than you do with your family and so you have to like them and respect their talent and I think I’ve been blessed in being able to assemble a really terrific team.  It’s always an uphill battle, you’re selling, you know, you’re selling and you’re competing with every other good 'cause from hunger to education.  But I think at the end of the day if you look at most of the studies, health ranks very high in people’s minds and as the philanthropic dollar shrinks and may shrink more in the current economy, I think health concerns stay at the top.  If you look at most of the data and we’ve also found with our corporate partners that the pink ribbon resonates.  When a customer looks at products on the shelf and they see two items that are roughly the same price point and one returns a percentage of the sales price to breast cancer, they’ll pick it and more and more of those spending dollars are in the hands of women and that makes a difference.

Question: What makes a good leader?

Being collaborative, being a consensus builder, being appreciative, it’s not that hard.

Myra Biblowitz: I am so appreciative that I’ve been able to be employed in a way that allows me to give back and live my life in such a wonderful way.  So I’m grateful every single day and I’m enormously grateful for the staff I have, I couldn’t do it alone.  Truly the success that we’ve had, the four star rating for seven straight years from Charity Navigator, seven years of their top rating without fail, the rating in Money Magazine that you observed, Marie Clare, all of the accolades, they’re not from my work, they’re from the work of the organization, our product, our efficiency, but it makes me proud.

Collaboration, consensus building, and appreciation are the keys to successful leadership in the nonprofit sector.

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