Ep 8. – So, What Makes Great Organizations “Great” Anyway?

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In this Lead. Learn. Thrive. podcast episode, Raffa’s Karen Schuler, Managing Director, Search, Transition & Planning, talks with Tony Cancelosi, President and CEO of the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, as he shares his experience running successful for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

The key take away from this podcast is people are the backbone of all great organizations.

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Karen Schuler and Tony Cancelosi

Cancelosi shared five keys to successful organizations:

  1. Listen to employees and give them the opportunity to serve and serve well.
  2. Recruit the right people to support the mission.
  3. Build a culture of fiduciary responsibility.
  4. Maintain or build a functioning board.
  5. Be aware of how your organization is presented to the world, how people perceive you and how you are going to serve those people.

“Good management is always listening. If you are not listening, you are not going to be successful,” shared Cancelosi.

Cancelosi also provided tips on how to stay focused on organizational mission while maintaining relevance in a changing world:

  1. It’s all about the people you hire. Bring in the expertise you need.
  2. Staff need to have a cultural desire to help others.
  3. The team needs to believe in their capacity to do good.

“That is what is at the heart of this conversation; it’s all about people.  It takes people to go out and advance good in the world.” says Karen.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about the challenges of transitioning from a a leaders of a  for-profit to a nonprofit, to making an impact and building systemic change.

To learn more about how Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind helps the people they serve, join Raffa and CLB for a free seminar, Are You ADA Compliant? Ensuring Your Website is Accessible to People with Disabilities, on September 28th.  Register now!


The Lead. Learn. Thrive podcast series grew out of our Raffa Learning Community effort and features interviews with interesting nonprofit and private sector leaders and those who help them Do More. If you would like to suggest a topic or a guest for an upcoming episode, please email jimena@raffa.com and include “podcast” in the email subject line.

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