Photo of Lorraine Faithful with the words: Thank you Lorraine

Faithful Servant Leader Retires After 15 Years at Nonprofit Leadership Center

Team NLC News

Lorraine Faithful retires from the nonprofit sector after decades of life-changing work

Did you know that when the Nonprofit Leadership Center started, we were called the Management Assistance Program? Most people don’t remember that, but 15-year NLC staff member Lorraine Faithful was there from the beginning.

“I loved coming into NLC on the ground level,” Lorraine recalls. “It was exciting to help shape what people know today as the Nonprofit Leadership Center and watch it continue to grow through the years.”

From NLC’s name and logo to existing operations, processes and procedures, Lorraine helped develop what you know today as the Nonprofit Leadership Center. She even helped start and coordinate NLC’s first-ever Certificate in Volunteer Management.

“Back in 2007, we had two all-day sessions on board governance called Get on Board,” Lorraine said. “It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come with more than 70 classroom trainings, certificate programs, an annual conference and many small group and customized learning experiences for nonprofit leaders today.”

Lorraine celebrated her final day as the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s business and operations manager on January 31, 2022.

Lorraine began her career in the nonprofit sector in Hawaii, where she helped the Hawaii Youth Services Network get its start. While in Hawaii, she benefitted greatly from an organization similar to NLC, where she received training on a large variety of nonprofit topics, experiencing first-hand the value and benefits of such development.

We asked Lorraine to take on one final assignment: answer a few questions she has received most often as she prepares for her much-deserved retirement.

Four Questions with Lorraine Faithful

1. What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time at NLC?

I’m proud of being part of NLC’s history, its new beginnings and developing and growing our own capacity to assist other nonprofits in building theirs.

2. What class should everyone take at NLC?

Everyone should take the Certificate in Board Governance, also known as the Nonprofit Board Governance Rock Star Certificate. Leadership begins at the top, so the top requires excellence in leadership skills.

3. What will you miss most at NLC?

I will miss being an integral part of a mission that impacts so many leaders and organizations. I will miss the action in an action-packed organization that never presented me a single dull hour in 15 years!

4. What’s the first thing you plan to do when you’re retired?

My list is long! First up is planning trips to see my grandkids in California and Hawaii!

Please join us in thanking and celebrating Lorraine Faithful for a remarkable career in service to nonprofit leaders and organizations!

How to Be an Effective Mentor in the Workplace: Image of a female mentor and mentee

How to Be an Effective Mentor in the Workplace

Team NLC Tips

Five leaders who serve as mentors to rising professionals share their top tips for how to be an effective mentor in the workplace.

When you think about what has had the greatest influence on your career and success, what comes to mind? For most people, it’s not what but who —a teacher or family member who believed in you even when you didn’t believe in yourself, a boss who showed you with their actions what true leadership looks like, a community leader who helped open doors and pass on wisdom that only comes from years of experience.

Countless studies confirm the power of having a career mentor, from increasing job satisfaction and productivity to feeling more confident and avoiding costly mistakes. But what defines an effective mentor and how can you serve as one to today’s emerging leaders?

We asked five professionals who serve as mentors in our Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship to share their top tips for how to be an effective mentor.

5 Tips to Be an Effective Mentor to Future Leaders

1. Be an accountability partner.

Photo of Mariana Bugallo-Muros

Mariana Bugallos-Muros, Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Moffitt Cancer Center

“To be an effective mentor, start by delving into what your mentee’s goals are, what they want and need out of the relationship and their passions. Then, hold them accountable. Do not do the work for them; rather help guide them along their journey.”

2. Be proactive.

Photo of Jaree Ervin

Jaree Ervin, Chief Development Officer, University Area CDC         

“Be proactive in building relationships with your mentee, listen to understand and assist where appropriate to help the mentee reach milestones toward their goal.”

3. Make it about your mentee, not you.

Photo of Nate Penha

Nate Penha, Retirement Plan Consultant, Mutual of America

“Always be adaptable. To be an effective mentor, we must be able to recognize our mentee’s strengths and help them continue to build on them rather than encouraging the mentee to adjust to our strengths.”

4. Take your role seriously and do a lot of listening.

Photo of Marva Stanford

Marva Stanford, Director of Leadership Development & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, National ALS Association 

“There is no manual when it comes to being a mentor. First, just be yourself. Start by listening and asking your mentee questions. Second, be consistent. Take the first step in reaching out and stay connected to continue the dialogue. Finally, when sharing the realities of what it takes to be successful, also be transparent about the grit and struggle often required to overcome obstacles. Ultimately, being an effective mentor is all about helping your mentee increase confidence, build awareness to navigate the workplace and have a confidential sounding board for ideas and challenges. Being a mentor is rewarding, but it’s a commitment. Take the role seriously. After all, you are helping develop our future leaders.”

5. Seek to understand your mentee on a deeper level.

Photo of Luis Visot

Luis R. Visot, Board Member, Nonprofit Leadership Center    

“When it comes to being an effective mentor, I’m guided by one simple thought from Stephen R. Covey: ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ It’s essential to invest a significant amount of your talent and time in learning and understanding your mentee’s identity, stories, experiences, beliefs and values. Gaining these insights is critical to develop and nurture a growth-enhancing relationship that is based upon mutual trust, respect and understanding. Viva la mentorship!”


Learn more about the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship, including the mentoring program that’s part of it.

Photo of Amarela Pequini with the words "Welcome Amarela"

Experienced Banking & Finance Leader Joins Nonprofit Leadership Center Team

Team NLC News

Photo of Amarela Pequini

The Nonprofit Leadership Center is pleased to announce that Amarela Peqini has joined the organization as our new business operations manager. In this role, she will manage the operations, finances and certain human resources functions for NLC.

“I’m looking forward to working with Team NLC and supporting the many nonprofit organizations and leaders we serve by ensuring the best use of our financial resources to increase the impact we have in the community,” says Amarela.

Amarela moved to the United States in 2016 from Albania with her family in search of new opportunities. She began her career in the nonprofit sector in 2017 when she joined the InterCultural Advocacy Institute (ICAI), a nonprofit dedicated to assisting immigrants with adapting to the mainstream of community life in the US. There, she managed finances and operations, helping the organization explore new funding opportunities and diversify its revenue.

Prior to her work in the United States, Amarela worked for several European banking groups where she gained experience in portfolio management, financial analyses and managed different business lines. During her last four years in Albania, she managed the small business segment at Intesa Sanpaolo Bank where she led a team of 25 relationship managers.

Amarela is currently completing her Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) at the University of South Florida. She received a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management from the University of Tirana in Albania and another in business administration from the University of Bologna, Italy.

When Amarela is not at work, she enjoys cooking, listening to audiobooks, and appreciating the Florida weather with family and friends.

“My mantra is: be present. Don’t lose a chance to learn, listen, serve, laugh and love. The present is shaping your future.”

Please join us in welcoming Amarela Peqini to Team NLC. You can connect with Amarela at apeqini@nlctb.org and on LinkedIn.

Quote from Emily Benham, CEO, NLC

From Battered to Better: The Path Forward for Nonprofits in 2022

Emily H. Benham, FAHP, CFRE | CEO, NLC News

A new year brings a fresh enthusiasm and energy for both the possibilities and uncertainties that lie ahead. Despite the challenges of the past two years (I will not mention the “p-word” — you’re welcome), I remain relentlessly optimistic about the outlook for our nonprofit sector.

Although 2022 will likely be another challenging year in many ways, nonprofits and the servant leaders who lead them (that’s you!) were called to this work for times like this. To step up to help in the best and worst of times. To find solutions for individuals, families and communities in need. As a sector, we have demonstrated time and time again the power and impact of our work these past two years. Our value proposition has never been greater.

To continue to advance our best work in an ever-changing and increasingly challenging environment for which we are called, nonprofit leaders must embody three qualities to succeed in 2022.

1. Curiosity

At the Nonprofit Leadership Center, whether in our classroom, through consulting or custom solutions, we live for the “aha” moment: the moment when a concept that seems so complex or even impossible shifts to attainable. These moments don’t happen every day for everyone. We discover them when we are open and curious. According to Jeffrey Davis, curiosity helps us approach challenges less reactively and more creatively. In 2022, nonprofit leaders must lead with curiosity — to seek understanding before judging, to wonder “what if?” or “why not?” before discarding an idea or opinion. My hope is that this practice will uncover fresh solutions as well as new adventures in a lifelong commitment to learning.

2. Hope

At the 2021 Leadership Conference, Keynote Speaker Jon Acuff said, “Fear comes free. Hope takes work.” In his most recent book, “Soundtracks,” he talks about how our fears and experiences become our soundtracks, playing over and over and often negatively impacting our ability to achieve important goals. He challenges us to create new soundtracks to replace the old broken ones, swapping fear of failure with hope for success. In 2022, nonprofit leaders must lead with hope and replace broken soundtracks of the past with those filled with hope for the future. Let’s write a new song in 2022 filled with hope and sing it every day.

READ NEXT: How to Stop Negative Self-Talk 

3. Tenacity

Finally, nonprofit leaders must be tenacious in 2022, voraciously determined and persistent to lead bravely and act boldly. Our work in the nonprofit sector is complex, and the challenges of the past few years have been exhausting. And yet, our work is too important to relent in our efforts. Instead of giving up, we must find another gear. I offer these lines excerpted from Amanda Gorman’s poem, “New Day’s Lyric,” as inspiration and fuel for your tenacity in 2022:

Battered we come to better.

Tethered by this year of yearning,

We are learning

That though we weren’t ready for this,

We have been readied by it.

We steadily vow that no matter

How we are weighed down,

We must always pave a way forward.

I wish you a meaningful year filled with curiosity, hope, tenacity, and of course, impact and growth for both you and your nonprofit organization.


Be the first to hear about the latest nonprofit tips, resources and training classes from the Nonprofit Leadership Center. Sign up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter to help you thrive personally and professionally. 

Do This to Succeed in 2022

Do This One Thing in January to Succeed in 2022

Team NLC Tips

A vast body of research shows that most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January. Your actions during the first 30 days of the year will set you up for success or put you in the 80% of people who give up on their goals far too soon. To help you stick with your personal and professional development goals in 2022, do one of these four things this month.

1. Sign up for a class.

A recent study from LinkedIn Learning shows that while 94% of employees believe making time for learning has career benefits, nearly half say they don’t have time to prioritize it during the day. Make 2022 the year you make time for what’s important to you. The Nonprofit Leadership Center offers a variety of professional development courses for nonprofit leaders that can enhance your skills and strengthen your results in as few as three to four hours. From fundraising strategies and emotional intelligence to diversity, equity and inclusion and management, classes span every area of expertise and experience level. Register for a class this month, even if it is one being held later in the year, so you don’t lose sight of your learning and development goals.

2. Commit to getting a professional certification.

We get it. Time is a precious commodity when you’re running a nonprofit and wearing many hats. But what if you could increase your productivity and impact? By obtaining a certification through one of the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s many strategic areas, you can take your leadership to the next level. From a Certificate in Grant Writing or Board Governance to Nonprofit Financial Management or Leadership, there is something for every leader and every experience level.

See the upcoming certificate class schedule here.

3. Make time for yourself.

In survey after survey, nonprofit leaders tell us that self-care is a top priority and desperately needed focus area, yet leaders are quick to let this need fall down the priority list. Commit to making this the year self-care becomes less about talk and more about action. Sign up for one of our self-care classes that forces you to carve out a few hours for yourself and your mental health to be a better leader for those you manage and serve.

4. Invest in your team.

Growth and impact isn’t just personal; it starts with your entire team and organization. In addition to your personal learning goals, make a commitment to help your team strengthen their capacity and confidence. Sign them up for a professional development class, or explore a custom training event personalized for your team or nonprofit. Most employees (92%) say the right kind of formal workplace engagement positively affects their job engagement and leads to stronger job retention.


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Top 10 of 2021

The 10 Most Popular Nonprofit Articles of 2021

Team NLC News

Although 2021 introduced new and increasing challenges for nonprofit leaders and organizations, it also brought hope and optimism as our sector continues to lead bravely and act boldly to strengthen our communities.

During the past year, nonprofit leaders turned to the Nonprofit Leadership Center most often for resources to:

  • Increase emotional intelligence and resilience
  • Embrace and promote diversity, equity and inclusion 
  • Find best and next practices to build stronger organizations

Here are the top 10 most-read articles from NLC subject matter experts that we shared in 2021. These resources remain helpful tools as we work together to achieve growth and impact in the year ahead.

Increasing Emotional Intelligence and Resilience

Embracing and Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Best and Next Practices to Build Stronger Organizations

Other Popular Topics

In addition to new content from 2021, nonprofit leaders continued to rely on these resources to find success in our ever-changing post-pandemic world:

Have a topic you want to learn more about in 2022? Let us know at info@nlctb.org.

Receive the Latest News, Resources & Events from the Nonprofit Leadership Center

Be the first to receive tips, tools and training events exclusively for nonprofit leaders by signing up for our weekly e-newsletter. We’ll send you the latest news and resources directly to your inbox once a week.

 

Words Have Power: 12 Words for a Successful New Year

12 Words to Help You Achieve Your New Year Goals

John Loblack, Ed.D. Tips

To get the most from the year ahead, use these 12 words — one for each month — to stay inspired to achieve your goals and find meaning in your work and life.

One Word for Every Month

January: Jaunty. It’s easier to move others in a positive direction when you carry yourself with energy and confidence.

February: Feedback. Ken Blanchard once said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Ask for specific feedback from those in your personal and professional life who are in the best possible position to provide meaningful guidance and perspective.

March: Mentor. The greatest gift you can give to someone is your time. And the greatest gift someone else can give you is their time. Give yours and welcome theirs.

April: Appreciation. Make time to let others know how much you appreciate them.

May: Magnanimous. Today is always the right day to think of and do for others. Generosity has no limits.

June: Judicious. Make decisions based on facts, not emotions.

July: Jovial. Treat and influence others with a cheerful and friendly spirit. That spirit also adds years to your life.

August: Adaptable. An adaptable approach to life and work will take you much further than one that’s rigid.

September: Self-care. Self-care does not mean self-indulgence but self-preservation.

October: Open-mindedness. The late motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, once said: “Listen to others but always come to your own conclusion.” When you have more options to choose from, you increase your odds of selecting the best option.

November: No. The moment you add the word no to your vocabulary, your stress levels decrease.

December: Diplomatic. Treating others with diplomacy makes it easier for you to win their respect and confidence.

Remember, you are the only person who can prevent yourself from having a momentous year. Happy New Year!

Become a More Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Countless studies show that effective leadership is more closely tied to emotional intelligence than cognitive skills or technical abilities. Yet, leaders often invest much of their time and effort in enhancing the cognitive and technical aspects of their work.

Join the Nonprofit Leadership Center and Dr. John Loblack for his upcoming training class Developing Emotional Intelligence and Resilience on January 18. You will deepen your understanding of what emotional intelligence is and isn’t and walk away with strategies to immediately increase your levels of:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

Sign up to receive info about upcoming classes and the latest news exclusively for nonprofit leaders.

About Dr. John Loblack

John Loblack

John Loblack, Ed.D.is an accomplished, change-oriented human development expert who motivates nonprofit leaders to drastically increase their individual and organizational value. Read more about John.

2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide curated from nonprofit organizations by the Nonprofit Leadership Center

2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide

Team NLC News

Most people agree that giving is better than receiving. Make giving AND receiving a little sweeter this year by giving a gift that gives back to a nonprofit organization. The Nonprofit Leadership Center’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide highlights gifts for everyone on your list, with some or all of the proceeds benefiting nonprofits.

Apparel

Statement Shirts for Strong Women

The EmpowHERment Community Center is a nonprofit that works to empower all women by fostering the skills and resources needed to obtain self-sufficiency in finances, mental/emotional wellness and relationships. For the brave and bold women in your life (and those who may need a little reminder of their greatness), these EmpowHERment tees are sure to inspire. Additional styles and colors are available in their online shop. Shirts vary from $15 to $30.


Tops to Support Military Veterans

The Military Warriors Support Foundation is a nonprofit that helps facilitate a smooth and successful transition for our nation’s combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families. Their programs focus on housing and homeownership, recreational activities, transportation assistance and leadership development. This holiday, you can honor a veteran in your life with apparel that supports them, from T-shirts to hoodies and more. Many colors and sizes are available, and prices range from $21 to $35.

T-shirts and tops to show your support for our nation's combat-wounded veterans

Clothes That Care

NAMI Pasco is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness that provides free support, advocacy, outreach and education to those with mental health conditions and their loved ones. As mental health conditions are increasing, NAMI is selling apparel to remind people they aren’t alone. Check out all their inspirational shirts, caps, bags and even pet clothes with positive mental health messages. Prices vary from $14.99 to $29.99.

Jewelry & Accessories

The Gift of Sight

Lighthouse of Pinellas is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the independence and quality of life for individuals in Pinellas County who are blind or visually impaired. These custom Braille bracelets are handmade by the teens in their Teen Transition program. Choose your strap color, length and inspirational word, or customize your own word. All proceeds directly benefit the Teen Transition program. Prices range from $15-$20 plus tax.

Custom Braille bracelets from Lighthouse of Pinellas County

Sustainable Styles That Empower Refugees

The Refugee & Migrant Women’s Initiative, Inc. (RAMWI) is a nonprofit that empowers, engages and supports refugee and migrant women as they resettle in the Tampa Bay area. Their programs enhance women’s lives by providing opportunities to heal, build new connections, and develop skills that can foster self-sustainable economic opportunities.

RAMWI offers tote bags, table runners and one-of-a-kind jewelry created from up-cycled silk neckties, all handmade by women who are refugees resettling in the Tampa Bay area. Prices range from $29 to $65.


Bracelets to Help Rebuild Lives

Selah Freedom is a nonprofit organization working to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through awareness, prevention, outreach and residential programs. Selah means to pause, rest and reflect in Hebrew, exactly what the organization gives survivors through its sex trafficking outreach program. ​Their Freedom Wrap Bracelet benefits survivors in this program by providing food, hygiene products, new clothes (most survivors come into the program with just the clothes on their backs) and much more. 87% of survivor graduates of Selah Freedom’s Residential and Outreach Programs do not return to “the life.”

Bracelets are $20 each.

Freedom wrap bracelets in gold and silver to benefit Selah Freedom
Stationery

Holiday Greetings That Give Back

The MacDonald Training Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to continuously improving the quality of vocational, employment and residential services for individuals with disabilities in the Tampa Bay area so they can lead a life they choose.

Celebrate the season with whimsical and inspirational holiday greeting cards designed by MacDonald Training Center artists. Each pack of 10 cards is $10 and features one original design with a warm holiday greeting inside. From angels to flamingos there are cards for Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa. 

Holiday greeting card featuring an angel from MacDonald Training Center

Firefighter Calendar for Lung Health

The American Lung Association is honoring local firefighters who are dedicated to creating a world free of lung disease in their 2022 calendar. These first-responders are featured alongside fire-safety tips, information on how fires affect our lung health and more. Honor the heroes who protect us from lethal smoke and step up to the cause every year to support lung health. Calendars are $20, and sales support the American Lung Association.

Firefighter Calendar from American Lung Association
Other Gifts

Candles and Gifts from Seventh Avenue Apothecary to Benefit A Kid’s Place

Custom candles made locally by Seventh Avenue Apothecary exclusively for A Kid’s Place give hope to foster children. They were created with the help of children and volunteers and come in two distinct scents: “Hope,” a blend of White Tea + Fig and Green Clover + Aloe and “Wish,” a blend of Chai Latte + Christmas Tree.

A Kid’s Place provides a safe, loving and nurturing home for foster children from birth to age 18 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Purchases help brothers and sisters stay together during their time in care.

A variety of candle sizes and gift baskets are available, ranging from $11 to $55.


Remembrance Beads

Susie Q’s Kids is a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of children and young adults in hospitals, foster care, shelters and those who are grieving with comfort bags to meet their basic needs, comfort needs and to provide inspirational support.

The holidays can be a particularly hard time without loved ones we’ve lost. These Remembrance Beads are a beautiful way to honor someone who has lost a loved one. The beads and charm can be used as story starters to reflect a different story or experience about that person. Wear it on your bag, belt, purse or backpack. When others notice, your recipient can tell them about its importance and share a story of a loved one reflected by one of the beads. You will receive the Remembrance Beads when you make a $30 donation to Susie Q’s Kids, and your contribution will also support the organization’s ability to provide comfort bags to kids in need.

Image of Remembrance Beads from Susie Q's Kids

Swag That Sparks Potential for Kids

The Spark Initiative is a nonprofit that works to cultivate human potential and resiliency through education, mentoring and coaching centered on an understanding of the mind that SPARKs innate mental health. SPARK Speaks to the Potential, Ability, and Resilience inside every Kid. Proceeds from their Swag Bag ($30) and will fund a child in the community who needs mentoring and mental health support. The SPARK Mentoring Program is available at no cost to anyone under the age of 18.

Each bag consists of:

  • 1 Find Your SPARK White T-shirt
  • 1 SPARK Grey Jacket
  • 1 Curious the Dragonfly – Search for Good Feelings Children’s Book
  • 1 Curious the Dragonfly – Search for Friendship Children’s Book
  • 25 Curious Bookmarks
  • 5 Find Your SPARK Bracelets
  • 2 Squishy Lightbulbs (stress balls)
  • 8 Find Your SPARK Pencils

To access and purchase this holiday swag bag, use the password SPARK when prompted.

Spark Swag Bag

Conversation Cards

Appropriate for kids of all ages, Conversation Cards feature thought-provoking questions and discussion prompts, as well as emojis to support the development of emotional vocabulary. They’re an effective tool to encourage deeper conversations between parents and children, teachers and students, coworkers, mentors and mentees and others. Card decks are $20 each or $15 when you purchase six or more decks.

Proceeds from the cards benefit Frameworks and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. Frameworks empowers educators and other youth services professionals with training, coaching and research-based resources to equip students with social and emotional skills. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay works to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth so every young person can achieve their full potential.

Conversation Cards from Frameworks

Share an Experience That Supports the Arts

Is there any better gift we can give than time together? This holiday season, give someone special in your life an experience you can share while supporting a local theatre, museum or arts organization. The arts were hit particularly hard by COVID-19, seeing the largest declines in giving across the charitable sector. Support an important cause and your community by planning an outing or experience for a loved one at your favorite local venue. In our hometown where the Nonprofit Leadership Center is located, gift cards and experiences are available from nonprofits like the Academy of Ballet Arts (adult classes), Dunedin Fine Art Center (art classes), freeFall Theatre Company, Tampa Theatre, The Master Chorale, and more.

Search for theatres, museums and other art venues in your local area and enjoy some time well spent.


Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to get exclusive tips, tools and trainings especially designed for nonprofit leaders.

Image of pause button: A self-guided reflection break

Hit the Pause Button: Your 25-Minute Self-Guided Reflection Break

Team NLC Resources

Sometimes we all need to hit the pause button to think and reflect. You can finally do just that in this 25-minute self-guided reflection break. Designed by Nonprofit Leadership Center Trainer Ellen Nastir, this introspective video presents inspiring prompts and thoughtful questions, set to soothing music, to provide the time you need to discover the brave and bold leader within you.

Hit Your Pause Button

More Self-Care Resources for Nonprofit Leaders

To ensure that you can be your very best for the constituents and communities you serve, check out these additional resources.

Self-Care Tips for Nonprofit Leaders

WATCH: Managing Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

WATCH: How to Cope with COVID-19 Anxiety

Recharge and Reboot: Coloring Pages for Nonprofit Leaders


About Ellen Nastir

Working hand-in-hand with nonprofits and small businesses, Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, BCC, CPCC, helps clients create more positive, appreciative and cohesive work environments. Her company, Innovative Team Solutions, works to develop employees’ people-skills to complement their technical skills and abilities. With more than 14 years of experience in training, development and entrepreneurial sales, Ellen brings a unique perspective to resolving challenges and maximizing the potential of any team. She is a certified professional co-active coach, PeopleMap trainer, virtual trainer from the International Institute for Virtual Facilitation and is certified in Positive Psychology, Change and Tension Management and Conflict Dynamics. Finding the opportunity during quarantine, Ellen is most recently obtaining certification in Positive Intelligence. 


Be the first to hear about the latest nonprofit tips, resources and training classes at NLC. Sign up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter to help you thrive personally and professionally. 

"Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart."

Starting Each Day with a Grateful Heart

Team NLC Stories

At the Nonprofit Leadership Center, we’re big believers in starting each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart. During this season of giving, we reflect on the moments, memories and people Team NLC is grateful for this year. We thank you for your leadership and friendship as we continue to develop and connect nonprofit leaders to strengthen organizations and our communities.

Diving for Joy

“Unbridled joy … that moment when you can freely pursue what you love the most. Those are the moments to live for.

“Meet my dog, Cassie. She lives to immerse herself in water. A bucket, a stream, the ocean, a swimming pool — water of any kind, anywhere, will do. She also loves to retrieve balls, toys, pine cones, or even a block of wood. Whatever is handy. Recently, we discovered a sport that combines her love of water and retrieving into one fantastic event: dock diving. She’s pictured here at the moment when I released her to sprint down the ramp and launch her 75-pound body off a dock to catch a ball midair, then plunging into a pool below. I love this photo because of the pure joy she shows and the total abandonment of all else. I look at this photo often and am grateful for this everyday reminder of what unbridled joy looks like.” #BeLikeCassie

Emily H. Benham, CEO


Blessing a New Home

“People say moving is one of the most stressful times in one’s life. I can certainly vouch for that this year. It wasn’t easy leaving a home and a neighborhood I’d grown to love, nor was it easy to organize, sort, donate, sell, pack and arrange all the details a move takes. But I did it. The next challenge was unpacking, arranging, settling, decorating, fixing, cleaning, meeting new neighbors, sorting out a new commute to work, and more. And I did that, too.

“Finding the blessings in a new home took time, encouragement from family and friends, and steady love and support from my wonderful sister. One important step I took was to hold a Hawaiian blessing to invite harmony, health, peace and protection in. I now enjoy watching nature in my backyard and am open to finding more reasons to find more blessings in my new home.”

Lorraine Faithful, Operations Manager


A Growing Family

“This year, I am grateful for the ongoing love and support from family and friends. Our family grew this year by one great nephew who is a joyful addition to our lives.”

Charlie Imbergamo, Director of Strategic Programs


Bee-ing Outdoors

“I’m extremely grateful for outdoor event venues and restaurants, farmer’s markets and u-pick farms, and for living in a climate that allows me to enjoy that year-round. I’m always appreciative of that as a Florida resident, but especially in these last 20 months as COVID-19 has continued to affect indoor gatherings. I’m grateful that I’m able to get together with loved ones in a relatively safe way in outdoor spaces and get out of the house for some solo time outdoors whenever the mood strikes me. 

“I’m also grateful to our bee friends for helping to keep us fed by pollinating.” 


Carina Kleter, Program Associate


The Simple Things & New Horizons

“I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say I don’t know where 2020 ended and 2021 began. What I do know is that throughout all this time, my loved ones have been my solace and my joy. For them and the memories we crafted, I am grateful. 

“Professionally, I feel like I struck gold for a second time. I took a risk when I walked away from an organization I believed in and colleagues I loved to join the Nonprofit Leadership Center. Fortunately, the NLC family has been impossibly kind and affirming, and I am so glad for the opportunity to serve alongside them. 

“Finally, I’m grateful for much-needed laughter and long-awaited hugs, and for learning to let go, so I can embrace what’s new.”

Meriel Martínez, Program Director

A Community of Support

“I am most grateful for my community, both near and far. This year, on top of the life-altering changes brought forth from living through a pandemic, a close family member was presented with some serious health challenges. There have been many moments in the past year that have caused me to pause and think about how lucky I am to have a network of such love and collective strength. I have felt that support in many places, from within my family, dear friends, local community and my wonderfully thoughtful team at NLC.” 

Tess Plotkin, Fellow in Resource Development


Be the first to hear about the latest nonprofit tips, resources and training classes at NLC by signing up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter. It will help you thrive personally and professionally as you work to strengthen our communities.