By moss+ross staff.

moss+ross has offered Executive Search services since 2010, and has helped Triangle nonprofits place more than 70 executive-level and development professionals since then. We asked several to share their perspective on nonprofit leadership in today’s environment. Each has led with resilience to revamp services, operate without volunteers, and respond to changing conditions in this past year.

Sheldon Mitchell

Urban Ministries of Durham offers food, shelter and a future to end homelessness and fight poverty in Durham.

“You try to stay focused on the things you can control while understanding the need to stay flexible and adaptable. For example, during the pandemic, we had to shift our focus from providing food, housing and other services to keeping people healthy.  That became our first priority.”

Sheldon Mitchell, Executive Director (moss+ross search placement in 2016)

Eric Guckian

United Way of the Greater Triangle works to eradicate poverty and increase social mobility for everyone in the Greater Triangle.

“Keep the work focused on people, the people who are suffering so mightily during this pandemic, the people on the front lines who are serving those in need, the people on your team, and the people who are your family and friends. And you are a person too, so take time for self care. Don’t worry about what you don’t have because comparison is the thief of joy. Try to get to “yes” so that more people can benefit.”

Eric Guckian, President & CEO (moss+ross search placement in 2017)

UNC School of Law prepares outstanding lawyers and leaders to serve the people and institutions of North Carolina, the nation and the world.

“Leaders are often depicted in front of a room, or at the head of a table, talking in such a way to establish they are in charge. This is very one-dimensional, and an inaccurate portrayal of a truly successful leader. One of the most important skills of a leader is the ability to listen, and to listen actively. Active listening – the skill of focus, understanding, comprehending and responding – offers opportunities for relationship, moments of learning, windows into new lines of thinking, insight about challenges, and much more. A running joke among fundraisers goes something like: ‘Do you know why fundraisers have two ears and one mouth? Because they need to listen twice as much as they talk.’ Substitute the words ‘fundraising leaders’ for the word ‘fundraisers’ in the above and the wisdom of the joke is doubled!”

Deirdre Gordon, Associate Dean for Advancement (moss+ross search placement in 2017)

Pete Tannenbaum

Alliance Medical Ministry provides comprehensive and affordable healthcare to working, uninsured adults in Wake County.

“Leading in the “new normal” is about putting the right people in the right places and giving them the tools and support they need to do the right thing. And the right thing needs to be clear – leaders need to ensure that everyone on the team understands and embraces the mission and is driven to fulfill it.”

Pete Tannenbaum, Executive Director (moss+ross search placement in 2018)