Lessons for Non-Profit and Start-Up Leaders: Tales from a Reluctant CEO uses the experiences of a real company, Community Connections, to bring to life the practical dilemmas that an organization founded on a mission and guided by a set of ideals must confront and solve if it is to thrive. With no business or financial background, Maxine Harris and her partner Helen Bergman grew a tiny startup into a $35 million business. Through trial and error, they learned how to manage finances, hire staff, overcome barriers, and adapt to changing business models. In Lessons for Non-Profit and Start-Up Leaders, Harris shares her insights, struggles, and mistakes with the goal of helping others who may be starting and running non-profit organizations. She spells out the ways in which creativity, tenacity, and the power of relationships helped her and her partner overcome barriers that often cause start-ups to flounder in their first years of operation. In a humorous and novel twist, the book engages the reader with a series of original fables, each tailored to introduce a business dilemma in the language of "make-believe." Michael O'Leary provides commentary that places the stories and case studies from Community Connections into a broader context, making the lessons accessible to anyone working in the non-profit or startup sector.
About the Author
Maxine Harris, PhD, is the co-founder and current CEO of Community Connections, a large behavioral healthcare organization located in the nations' capital. She has been operating (in conjunction with her now deceased partner Helen Bergman) Community Connections for over 30 years. Harris is a national expert in clinical practices for treating persons with serious mental illness, substance addiction, homelessness, trauma, domestic violence and early traumatic loss. She has authored or edited nine books and ten training manuals on these topics and has been keynote speaker at several national conferences. She has also served as an expert witness on cases involving the impact of traumatic loss on surviving children. Her most successful book, The Loss that is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father, which is still in print after almost 20 years. Harris is the recipient of the first HOPE award, granted by the federal Center for Mental Health Services for her "pioneering work and innovation in the field of trauma-informed care." She has also served as the principal investigator on federal grants studying homelessness, trauma, addiction, HIV infection and residential services. Michael O'Leary, PhD, is professor of Leadership, Management, and Innovation at Georgetown University, and is a former policy analyst and management consultant. He has taught a wide variety of executive programs for organizations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America (including the World Bank Group, OPIC, and IDB). He is also co-designer of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, which was founded by the Bush and Clinton Foundations. His research deals with high-performing virtual teams, multitasking, multi-teaming, and teams facing resource constraints. In 2015, his study about dispersed and face-to-face colleagues won Research Paper of the Year Award from Europe's largest association of IT executives.