“We have been partnering with Venture Leadership Consulting on implementing our Theory of Change. Their support has added clarity, strategic acumen, and bandwidth to our work."CITY YEAR SAN JOSE/SILICON VALLEY
We’re strategic thinkers and we join you in the trenches. It’s leadership that is invested in your organization, working together to create new models, implement never-before-seen programs, and handle existing workload. Each Venture Leader is engaged, enthusiastic and experienced. The result is results: together we will make an impact, deliver new skills, and move forward. You are an organization of believers; you know you can perform bigger than your size and bring great things to even more of the people you serve.
Each Venture Leader works within your organization to achieve and exceed your goals by venturing with you and providing group coaching and in-person learning forums. We vet each Venture Leader for five characteristics that will compliment your team and enhance your organization’s capabilities.
Each Venture Leader has years of executive leadership experience in either the non-profit or for-profit field (or both!). These seasoned executives plug in at any leadership level as seamlessly as possible.
A Venture Leader is a project manager as well as an executive. Each Venture Leader has a proven track record of setting goals then establishing milestones and checkpoints on the way to achieving them.
Emotional resistance to change is one of the highest barriers to implementing new programs and models within an organization. A Venture Leader has the emotional intelligence to read an organization, understand the macro- and micro-dynamics at play, and develop thoughtful strategies for managing emotional resistance.
A Venture Leader knows how to implement data-driven programming. Donors, stakeholders, and system partners are increasingly demanding quantifiable results backed by concrete data. Each Venture Leader has experience designing and guiding teams through implementing high-quality, data-driven models.
A Venture Leader knows how to enhance your organization without taking the focus away from your leadership. Leading by example and guiding from behind the scenes, the Venture Leader helps you to let your organization shine its brightest by immersing into your business, to quickly understand and enhance your strengths.
“We have been partnering with Venture Leadership Consulting on implementing our Theory of Change. Their support has added clarity, strategic acumen, and bandwidth to our work."CITY YEAR SAN JOSE/SILICON VALLEY
Targeted Project leadership is a custom engagement, turning ideas and the conversations around them into system-wide improvements. Engage a Venture Leader to design and implement Targeted Projects such as executive and staff coaching sessions. Projects include retreats, training periods, and keynote speaking, as well as articulating theory of change and seeing through to implementation, protocols, manuals, RFPs, and more. We focus on action and measurability to meet our simple end-goal: take your mission to the next level!
We offer interim leadership—based on clear goals such as building relationships among key funders and stakeholders, supervision, implementation, and expansion—that won’t leave you with a dependency. Your organization can engage a Venture Leader for short, 6-12 month programs that focus on strategy and on-the-ground support organizations can maintain after the program is completed. We’re not interested in the status quo: through talent development, implementation, and willingness to work beside you to meet the day-to-day, we will see sustainable, measurable growth.
Readiness to achieve true impact in the world can be an uncomfortable space to claim. When faced with critical organizational transitions, the future catalysts, champions, and rainmakers need access to well-tailored expertise and personalized solutions. We provide individual and group coaching, and in-person learning forums through a flexible system of inquiry-based learning and creative strategies that build on strengths and address limitations in service of authentic leadership.
We invest in your time
Our leadership search function emerged at the request of clients as a natural extension of our other services. We respect that the search for your next senior leader is the most important item on the Board agenda right now, and we know the catalytic power of the right person in the right role. As experienced Bay Area nonprofit executives, we understand the context of your work, and true to our vision, we get into the trenches alongside you. We aim for our search process to feel like less of an “engagement” and more like a deeply integrated champion is working alongside you during a time of need. We only conduct Bay Area searches, because this is where we have built our networks, honed our craft, and choose to live. We leverage a deep knowledge of local issues, the webs of organizations tackling issues, and the developing leaders already in our midst.
“Our work with Venture Leadership Consulting was a pleasure from start to finish. They brought the energy and passion of a full-time staff member and delivered a strategy that completely met our needs and hopes for the engagement."iMENTOR
Aila is an experienced leader who collaborates with venture-ready organizations to re-imagine their places within the education, correction, and community-based organization sectors. She specializes in launches, expansions, process design and implementation, and development coaching for high-performing executives.
Aila has dedicated over 20 years to supporting and educating youth in many contexts including: homeless shelters, mentally disabled homes, juvenile justice system, foster care and mainstream public schools. In that time, Aila has served as a non-profit executive for high performing non-profits, an experienced trainer in the community-based organization, education, and correction sectors, an adjunct lecturer for Juvenile Justice courses at both Santa Clara University School of Law and Lincoln Law School, and recently a children’s author (www.pocketmommy.org). Aila is well-versed in international not-for-profit work and has extensive experience in supporting international efforts in the areas of conservation, employment, and poverty alleviation.
She holds a BS in Environmental Science from UC Santa Barbara, earned her JD at Santa Clara University, and is a member of the California Bar Association. Among other accolades, she was a recipient of the 2011 ABA Child Advocate of the Year Award and was a Berkeley Law Foundation fellow.
Aila’s greatest motivation for social change is her desire that her three kids grow-up in a world where disparity does not limit people’s access to opportunity; that ALL people have opportunities to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
David Cattivera brings extensive knowledge and expertise in nonprofit leadership to his role as Managing Director at Venture Leadership Consulting (VLC).
With a social sector career spanning nearly two decades, David has worked in organizations in every capacity, from volunteer to executive director, giving him unique insight and experience in managing the day-to- day priorities and strategic objectives of organizations.
Additional experience includes supporting youth and families in the following contexts: housing, mentoring, literacy, service learning, education, and juvenile justice. This coupled with a track record of developing meaningful relationships with school districts, private foundations, government officials, and nonprofit leaders allows him to seamlessly immerse and support organizations addressing critical community needs.
A classically trained pianist, David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Business from the University of the Pacific and is a proud AmeriCorps alumnus. In addition to his work with VLC, David is an active community volunteer and dedicated husband and father to two children.
Claudia Miller brings extensive experience and understanding fundraising for nonprofits, leading successful fundraising teams, and building strategic vision, to Venture Leadership Consulting.
For more than 12 years, she worked in various fundraising roles on behalf of foster youth at First Place for Youth. During her tenure there, the organization grew from raising less than $1 million to more than $7 million annually. Her leadership has included developing the strategic vision for private fundraising, donor events, communications and branding as the organization grew from a Bay Area-based nonprofit to a statewide organization, and now a network of national affiliates in four states.
Her work included launching the organization’s first-ever Growth Campaign, which expanded from $5 million to more than $16 million in four years. Prior to her work at First Place, Claudia was a reporter and freelance writer with the San Francisco Chronicle, and various other publications. She has a BA in Latin American Studies and Political Science from Duke University. When she’s not fundraising for issues she’s passionate about, Claudia enjoys spending time with her family and walking her dog in the Oakland hills.
Well-versed in database implementation, program design, and codification, Venture Leader Andrew Lopez excels at creating and leading teams through periods of organizational change.
Andrew specializes in program and systems development, program codification, and performance management. He brings a strategic, big picture approach to his work, while always maintaining an “on the ground” perspective for what it truly takes to get challenging work done effectively and efficiently.
Andrew comes with extensive database implementation experience, having led data collection and evaluation practices at several nonprofits. With over a decade of experience in development of logic models, program manuals, and staff trainings, Andrew brings a data informed mindset and focus to ensure more efficient workplace practices, and ultimately, continuously improving client services and outcomes. Andrew’s experience includes implementation of both case management software (Efforts to Outcomes) as well as certified Electronic Health Record (Welligent) software.
Additionally, Andrew has executive experience in the areas of talent, operations, and philanthropy. Because Andrew is a teacher at heart, he loves to connect with others while helping them see why and how improved processes, data, and an eye toward continuous improvement can help make their lives and the lives of their clients that much better.
Andrew received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in accounting from Arizona State University and his Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University.
Prior to joining Venture Leadership Consulting, Vamsey merged his keen understanding of programmatic tactics with his knack for strategic thinking, and helped lead Theory of Change implementation, and expansion at a high-performing non-profit organization. Throughout his career, Vamsey has held key roles in program design and administration, non-profit management, and strategic implementation.
Vamsey earned his JD from Santa Clara University School of Law and is a member of the California Bar Association. While in law school, Vamsey provided free legal services to indigent parents facing dependency proceedings, and worked at the Northern California Innocence Project for the wrongfully convicted. His deep commitment to serving underserved populations comes from his experience as a youth, where he spent time in juvenile hall and was placed on probation. Vamsey was born and raised in the Bay Area, and currently lives in Dublin, CA.
Natalie Reynolds partners with Venture Leaders to support the micro-dynamics at play, making sure that all checkpoints are being met to achieve the established goals.
Natalie has worked in the non-profit sector for over 10 years, initially as a youth practitioner and later, an executive assistant. With strong communication skills and high responsivity, Natalie partners with Venture Leaders to support our client engagements by reliably executing projects in service of their missions. Natalie prides herself on her ability to manage multiple demands efficiently.
Natalie was raised in San Jose, CA and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Justice Studies from San Jose State University. Currently, Natalie is a mother of two boys and resides in Hollister, CA.
Alex has been working with underserved youth and families for over 15 years. Alex is committed to the principles of trauma-informed care and providing culturally relevant services to young people and their families.
Upon completing her Masters in Social Work at the University of Chicago in 2005, Alex worked as a therapist at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, a residential treatment facility in Chicago. After moving to the East Bay with her family in 2008, Alex began working at Bay Area Youth Center/Sunny Hills Services (now “Side by Side”), a nonprofit serving foster and probation youth. Alex led Bay Area Youth Center as the Executive Director from 2013-2017. Under Alex’s leadership, Bay Area Youth Center significantly expanded mental health and housing services to youth in Alameda County, and earned a reputation as an agency who would provide shelter and services to the highest need youth who were often terminated from other services due to their acute mental health symptoms.
Following her tenure at Bay Area Youth Center, Alex has held a number of contract and interim positions, including serving as the Interim Chief Operating Officer at Unity Care Group, as well as the Executive Director at the Ann Martin Center. Prior to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Alex received her JD from the University of Texas in Austin and worked as a corporate and securities attorney in San Francisco and Austin. She currently lives in Oakland with her family
Andrew Niklaus is passionate about helping organizations fulfill their missions. In his consulting practice he is inspired by working across sectors, helping philanthropy, government agencies, and direct service organizations craft strategic plans, design intentional programming, assess and coach talent, and promote the importance of performance management as a cornerstone to sustainable and intended impact. Before founding Pivot Andrew was most recently the Director of Impact and Learning at Tipping Point Community, a San Francisco Bay Area foundation that funds organizations in the fight against poverty and inequality.
Prior to Tipping Point Andrew worked at several nationally recognized organizations, spearheading efforts to design and implement theories of change, replicate and scale services throughout the state of California, and lead efforts to secure and maintain funding for innovative and impactful programming. Andrew has been active in the performance management field, first as a member of Social Solutions’ National Advisory Board, and later as a part of Charity Navigator’s Advisory Panel, which was charged with helping to improve the way high-performing nonprofit organizations are evaluated and rated for excellence. Andrew is also a member of the Leap Ambassadors Community, whose members are from social, public, and private sectors, which focuses on the importance of high performance in the pursuit of lasting impact and a more just and sustainable world.
Joe is an experienced leader whose practice is rooted in the hard-won credibility of a nearly 15 years of front line service, and leadership through an era of increasing rigor and operational discipline.
A collective impact disciple, Joe is skilled at navigating multi-stakeholder environments and distilling complex issues down to their essential elements. Joe is an effective internal and external leader, with a strong ability to translate strategy to implementation.
Joe’s approach to the work is uniquely influenced by his upbringing and early adulthood in a small Wisconsin manufacturing town and the last 13 years in the Bay area. In Wisconsin he bore witness to the impact of de-industrialization and the resulting economic stagnation of a once thriving community, and in the Bay Area he has worked closely with communities impacted by an influx of wealth yet trapped by inaccessible opportunity. As a result, he is focused on pathways to prosperity that connect investments and services along the life-course and across institutions and organizations. Joe balances a healthy respect for inclusive process with a bent toward action. He is a firm believer in the notion of “nothing about us without us,” and is committed to forging holistic responses that authentically and meaningfully include the voices of community-members with the most to gain or lose by the result.
Joe is a proud community college graduate, holds a bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin, and is currently completing his masters thesis on the impact of personalized guidance and support on diploma attainment for those who left school early. Despite aging knees, Joe is a competitive athlete, and can be found in Tahoe on weekends from December to March. He is married and the father of a beautiful baby girl.
Lauren Brady is a Venture Leader who offers over a decade of experience working in social justice, educational reform, and providing legal services to children and youth.
Lauren is the former director of the Statewide Education Rights Project at Public Counsel, a program which united direct legal services, litigation, legislative work, policy advocacy and community partnerships to create a model for education reform across the state of California. Prior to joining Public Counsel, she was a deputy public defender and the director of the Legal Educational Advocacy Project (LEAP) at the Juvenile Division of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Lauren began her legal career at Legal Services for Children, a non-profit civil legal services organization in San Francisco, where she was a senior staff attorney and director of the Education Project. There, Lauren represented juvenile clients in the areas of child welfare, education, probate guardianship and immigration.
Lauren earned a JD from Stanford Law School in 2006, the same year she was awarded a Skadden Fellowship. She earned a BA in Public & International Affairs from Princeton University. Lauren is currently serving as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Roses in Concrete Community School, a charter school in East Oakland. She lives with her family in Berkeley, but part of her heart remains on the East Coast, where she was born and raised.
Mecca Billings is a Venture Leader with more than twenty years of experience in fundraising strategy and management.
The narrative of her work experience embodies effective leadership and fundraising, and ensuring internal systems, structures and teams are in place to significantly elevate an organization’s fundraising capacity to achieve the highest levels of execution. She has utilized her financial, analytical, entrepreneurial, creative, interpersonal, organizational and motivational skills in every position and client engagement she has held. She began her fundraising career at her alma mater, Harvard, where she worked in the Harvard College Fund during its $2.1 billion university-wide campaign. Within the first two years of joining the Harvard College Fund team, she was promoted from an assistant, to a junior class officer and finally to a specially created position for her to manage a $25 million capital campaign project with a Kresge Foundation challenge grant, and to identify new major donor alumni prospects living on the West Coast. Her extensive work for Harvard on the West Coast, and a Boston winter that ended with a snowstorm in April, inspired her to relocate to the sunnier climate of the West Coast later that year.
In 2011, after 15 years working as an in-house fundraiser, she founded Billings Consulting Group, a full-service fundraising consulting firm that has a special focus on capital campaign fundraising. Since its inception, her company has supported 20 nonprofit client organizations in engagements focused on capital campaign and annual fund management, strategic planning and executive searches. Her company has consistently increased the capacity of clients to raise contributed revenue and has also helped some clients secure six-figure and seven-figure gifts from individuals and foundations. To date, her counsel has helped secure more than $15 million for her clients.
Outside of work she enjoys travel, the Spanish art of Flamenco, music, dance, theater, wine, food and film. She is the former board president of Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco, founded in 1966 and one of the oldest flamenco-focused dance companies outside of Spain, and she is a board member of the Hawaii-based nonprofit Na Kama Kai, founded by world champion longboard surfer Duane DeSoto that teaches ocean safety and conservation to underserved youth throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
As a dedicated, experienced professional with a passion for philanthropy and events, Maggie is a Venture Leader who prides herself not solely in event operations, but in fundraising and donor relationships to create the most impactful type of event for all.
While her career started with grassroots fundraising for a small non-profit athletic program which she co-founded in her hometown of Hollister, this stepping stone helped catapult her future in events with an emphasis on sports and community relations with organizations like the San Francisco 49ers, GMR Marketing, the San Jose Sharks and Miller Tanner Associates. Over the past six years, Maggie has managed and/or played a key role in events revolving around Super Bowls 47, 50, 51, and 52, The America’s Cup, Notre Dame College Golf Fundraiser, the 49ers Foundation’s two largest fundraisers where she helped raise over $2 million annually, and nearly 20 annual events during her tenure as Community Relations Manager at the 49ers.
In her role at the 49ers, she developed experience in creating, planning and executing successful community engagement and fundraising events on all fronts. Throughout her time with the 49ers Foundation and Community Relations department, the team has been recipients of prestigious awards, such as the 2017 ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award, 2015 Beyond Sport Team of the Year Award, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2013 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy.
With her years of experience on various sides of event management, Maggie truly has the skillset and insight needed to develop and execute a successful fundraising event while growing the relationships organizations need to continue on a path towards success.
Michelle brings nearly 20 years of experience across the nonprofit, corporate and education sectors, specializing in leadership development, coaching and talent management strategy. She also has deep experience in recruitment and search partnership, as well as education and training.
Michelle Sambrano partners with leaders and teams to develop, coach, recruit, onboard, value and retain top talent. After three years in direct service working with youth on probation and five years in education, Michelle transitioned her love for developing youth into a successful career supporting and coaching staff. Her experience has included recruiting financial advisors and 1:1 business development coaching as a member of the Northwestern Mutual nationally recognized training and development team. She most recently spent five years as the Director of Talent for Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), an award-winning nonprofit working to break the cycle of juvenile violence, crime, and incarceration. While at FLY, Michelle led the organization’s overall talent strategy, developed competency-based performance management systems, managed the total rewards/compensation standards and oversaw staff recruitment, onboarding and training.
Since 2017, Michelle has deepened her knowledge and partnered with other leaders to integrate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) and anti-racist practices throughout talent systems and organizational cultures, both internally at FLY and since 2019 as a consultant partnering with organizations like ANet (Achievement Network), Generation Citizen, COOP and JFF (Jobs for the Future).
Michelle holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and two teaching credentials from Azusa Pacific University. Residing in Santa Maria, CA, she enjoys exploring the coast with her husband, daughter and extended family.
A seasoned nonprofit leader, Sue has over three decades of experience in the social sector and philanthropy. Her greatest motivation is to create a world where all young people can thrive, especially young people growing up in disadvantaged circumstances.
She has extensive expertise engaging communities, organizations and systems to improve young people’s lives, and to set in place the leadership and capacity-building needed to realize this vision. She is the architect of a training system that engaged over 1500 Bay Area youth organizations and school-based afterschool programs throughout California to improve youth development practice and employ ground-breaking evaluation tools to assess the quality and impact of their work with youth. This pioneering work was recognized by the National Academy of Science.
As the founder and leader of a successful youth development organization for twenty-two years, Sue has experience leading board and staff teams through cycles of strategic planning and development to achieve deeper impact and to create organizational cultures of learning and improvement. She knows how to build sustainable financial, operational, and administrative systems, and her extensive fundraising experience includes foundation, corporate, government and individual giving.
Sue has grantmaking experience in private, community and corporate philanthropy. She designed and implemented training programs for the California State Library system and for Apple Computer’s nonprofit grant-making division.
Sue received a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, and later conducted research at the Stanford Center for the Study of Families, Children and Youth.
Sue’s career has centered on strengthening the youth development sector in the Bay Area. Sue is raising a daughter and is active in her community and serves on a local board and international NGO.
Contact us today to find out how a Venture Leader can help you venture up.