“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.
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.
David Cattivera brings extensive knowledge and expertise in nonprofit leadership to his role as Principal 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.
Gary Chapman has been leading social impact and harnessing the power of people, purpose, and opportunity for over 20 years. He has driven change management and quality improvement initiatives across a network of over 200 local and state non-profits, developed and implemented human capital strategies for supporting leaders and school-based professionals, and secured millions of dollars to empower vulnerable students and communities to thrive with demonstrated impact on school readiness and success, economic development, and diversified revenue generation.
With a passion for human capital development, organizational growth and equity, Gary is known for his collaborative style, results-orientation, participatory management approach, business acumen and deep industry knowledge in education, resource development, human services, professional development, and nonprofit management. In his most recent leadership role, Gary secured private and public funding and built a revenue generating team for the organization to scale supports to thousands more vulnerable students across America. Gary’s education includes a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in social work, and a specialist in educational leadership. Gary and his partner of over 15 years, Ronnie, have a beautiful daughter and reside in Alexandria, Virginia.
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.
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 15 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.
With over a decade of experience working in the online marketing industry, Megan excels at leading a team through the process of creating and launching online products. With an ability to understand both the long term strategic goals and the short term needs, Megan has been able to improve companies structures and results through proper hiring and talent management, implementation of processes, and the growth of strategic partnerships.
Prior to entering the online marketing space, Megan was the International Marketing Director at a large corporation where she managed the relationships, strategic direction, and results of their 36 distributors worldwide. An avid traveler and student of international business, the role provided the opportunity to work among diverse cultures while applying her marketing skill-set.
Megan holds a BS in Economics from UC Santa Barbara and studied International Business at Kobenhavn University in Denmark. She currently resides in Colorado with her three children and many animals.
In her Client Support Specialist role, Shelby brings experience in customer service and administrative support. Her interest in the non-profit sector guided her to work with VLC to gain more knowledge and necessary skills required to work in this space. Shelby provides support to the team, easing the everyday work load to allow the Executives to focus and serve the client objectives. A people person to the core, she loves connecting and learning from others through a cultural anthropological lense from her studies at UC Santa Barbara.
Shelby has always had a passion for helping others and serving where it is needed – something that was instilled in her by her parents, who volunteered in their local community through various efforts in the public school system. Shelby currently resides in Mountain View, CA and enjoys being outdoors, hiking and camping, and taking on interior design projects with her sisters and mother.
Emily Jonas is an executive leader with more than 20 years of experience driving performance in both the public and private sector.
She founded and grew her own nonprofit to a multi-site multi-million dollar program that serves 1,000’s of families each year in San Francisco’s Fillmore community. Since leaving, she has worked as an independent consultant driving organizational growth. As a consultant, she launched a medical foundation, established a CSR program for a Fortune 500 company and spearheaded several merger & acquisitions for her clients. Today, she enjoys helping organizations align their purpose, infrastructure and resources for maximum impact.
Emily currently sits on the Board of Directors for Collective Impact in San Francisco, Ongoza in Nairobi Kenya and The Heffernan Foundation in Walnut Creek. She has served on committees for the Department of Human Services Family & Children Services and the Department of Children, Youth and their Families. She has been honored by AT&T and 92.7 FM as a local “Community Hero” and awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She was featured as the case study of a “Visionary Leader” in the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Leadership Challenge book, its training materials and in their nonprofit edition. Emily was interviewed for her humanitarian relief work in Somalia by CNN’s International Correspondent. She has also been interviewed on the nationally syndicated Sirius radio program “the FoxxHole,” as well as locally on Comcast’s “Newsmakers” and the “Black Renaissance” TV Show.
Emily graduated early from UC Davis with honors in both her degrees, Sociology and Communications. Since college, she completed year long post graduate fellowships with Coro and Wellesley’s National After-School Matters Initiative at UC Berkeley. She’s a committed lifelong learner and absorbs knowledge most effectively by taking action. She likes hiking the hills of the East Bay with her husband, daughter, son and dog.
Ellen has spent the past 23 years working in partnership with community-based organizations, public agencies and private philanthropy to advance shared goals of improved outcomes and equitable opportunities for vulnerable and underserved populations. She has ten years of experience as an executive director who was closely engaged in all aspects of finance, operations, development, communications and programming. She excels at strategic planning with boards and staff, engaging relevant stakeholders to ground the work in the context of the community’s needs.
Ellen’s progress in the non-profit has been the result of finding meaningful work that utilizes her innate traits to find solutions through partnership and to honor the community. She helped launch an innovative public private partnership that improved the capacity and impact of hundreds of youth-serving CBOs in the District of Columbia. Then, building strong partnerships with the local school district, funders and government, she tripled the reach and budget of a non-profit that provides holistic supports to students in public schools. She has worked with government bodies and agencies to increase public support for evidenced-based programming. Together with the school district, she brought private funding to the District for a convening and planning process that included school leadership, parents, students and private funders and resulted in a citywide plan for community schools.
Living in the nation’s capital has honed her commitment to the idea that every one of us is responsible to be part of the solution to the challenges our nation – and our world – faces. By balancing the big picture with necessary details, and valuing the talents each of us possesses, Ellen continues to find ways for all of us to contribute to the greater good. She also believes this heavy lifting requires some serious down time. Turner Classic Movies and weekend cooking extravaganzas never fail.
Gregg Zaire is a management consultant with more than 25 years of experience. He has an extensive background in planning and managing cross-functional operations and organizational development projects. He is an analytical and strategic thinker who effectively partners with executives, senior managers, boards of directors, frontline staff and stakeholders to assess opportunities, facilitate strategic decision-making, and drive implementation successfully.
Gregg’s ability to assess complex situations and identify appropriate solutions underscores his ability to gain meaningful insight and follow up with thorough analyses. He is particularly skilled at group facilitation and enjoys forging consensus among stakeholders with diverging ideas, priorities, roles and responsibilities. Gregg has managed a broad array of projects at the national, state, local, and institutional level, including postsecondary success initiatives. Gregg holds an MA degree in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
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.
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.
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.
Sheryl brings deep educational experience and expertise in K-12, higher education, and the non-profit sector to her consultancy role in Venture Leadership. Her decades-long career has been characterized by helping individuals and organizations increase educational equity and access by improving practice, clarifying values and goals, creating theories of change, and defining and measuring success.
Sheryl has served as a high school special education and English teacher, a Professor of Education, an elementary school principal, and the Vice President for National Program Design at a high performing education non-profit. She has presented, nationally and internationally, and published on a wide range of educational topics including the principalship, gender in schools, the superintendency, professional development schools, instructional leadership, effective partnerships between non-profits and foundations, curriculum, educational policy and teacher voice, educational research, assessments, and pedagogy.
She holds a BA in English and Elementary Education from Hofstra University, a Master’s degree in Special Education and Literacy from Boston College, and a Master’s degree and Doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Sheryl’s lifelong passion for social, economic, and racial justice have driven her teaching, writing, research, and leadership and have kept her, regardless of role, highly focused and values-driven. When not working, Sheryl practices pursuits she does expertly, fairly well, and not well at all. In no particular order these include hiking, gardening, knitting, playing tennis, traveling, practicing yoga, creating recipes, selecting paint colors, and writing a memoir.
Silicon Valley, California
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