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Scott J. Messing President and Chief Executive Officer
Scott J. Messing President and Chief Executive Officer Youth For Understanding
I am so thankful that Heather reached out to me last year and invited me to “Executive Circle,” and even happier that I said “yes.” That was one of my better decisions last year!
Don Blanchon Executive Director
Don Blanchon Executive Director Whitman Walker
Through Executive Circle, I am growing as a person and leader in ways that directly benefit our patients, our employees, and our community at large. For me, that growth is taking place at the intersection of head, heart and soul. Why? Because today’s leadership challenges are all about establishing a clear vision, communicating that vision over and over again, living a set of core values every day in word and deed, and developing a followership of talented individuals who will be next generation leaders. This leadership approach fuels our organization’s ability and capacity to navigate major societal change due to health care reform, the local impact of economic redevelopment, and the continued march towards equality for all in our community. I would strongly recommend the Executive Circle to any nonprofit leader who wants to truly move their nonprofit organization forward through personal and professional reflection and the power of one’s emotional intelligence. 
Russell K. Snyder President/CEO
Russell K. Snyder President/CEO Volunteers of America
During my experience with the Executive Circle, I have met incredibly talented and thoughtful leaders for the nonprofit sector.  These relationships and the venue that the Executive Circle provides me are invaluable and will help align and even amplify our voice as a sector in the Greater Washington DC area. I would recommend the Executive Circle program to other executives to help build deep friendships and relationships with other nonprofit leaders in the sector but also the program enables and allows us to set a vision for the nonprofit sector and think through key strategies to help us achieve our vision.
Shannon Steene Executive Director
Shannon Steene Executive Director Carpenter’s Shelter
If I’ve learned one thing in my years of leading nonprofits, it is that relationships matter. Some of my strongest relationships and my most reliable and candid support has come from participating in the Executive Circle. It’s structure is built on fostering and deepening strong relationships that move me forward personally and professionally. The Executive Circle is my first priority when it comes to my professional development throughout the year.
Julie Meyer Executive Director
Julie Meyer Executive Director Next Step Public Charter School
The Executive Circle has proven invaluable in both my development as well as my support system as a leader. A dozen seasoned colleagues and two excellent facilitators provide the expertise and the space away from daily demands that facilitate probing discussion of issues that find little outlet elsewhere: specifically, sector-wide concerns such as merger trends and governance structures; and management challenges such as human resource development or responsible growth and collaboration.
Schroeder Stribling Executive Director
Schroeder Stribling Executive Director N Street Village
I joined Executive Circle in 2013 while in my fourth year as the executive director of N Street Village, a nonprofit housing and social service provider in Washington DC. What I hoped and expected to receive from participation in Executive Circle was camaraderie and support in exploring and managing the challenges of a modern nonprofit and opportunities to develop my own skills as a leader. What I found at Executive Circle exceeded these expectations. In the company of this diverse and energetic group of leaders, I found a breeding ground for new thinking and fresh ideas, and a mutual enthusiasm for challenging ourselves and our sector to embrace change and growth in the service of advancing our critical missions. I have loved this group and the opportunity it has presented for all of us to grow and be renewed in our leadership, both individually and collectively.
Henry Berman Chief Executive Officer
Henry Berman Chief Executive Officer Exponent Philanthropy
My board chair encouraged me to find a program or group to help me grow as a leader. I took some time to explore options and opportunities and when I found Executive Circle, I knew I had more than the right program, I found a home. While the facilitation and coaching by Heather and Trish is superb, Executive Circle is much more than simply gathering for a shared learning, it is a community. I have come to cherish the time with my colleagues as an oasis in which I find nourishment for the mind as well as the soul. I leave each gathering – or interim conversation with a fellow leader – refreshed, inspired and invigorated. Being able to speak candidly with the group is an incredible gift that cannot be found elsewhere. As individuals and collectively, they have helped me frame issues and solutions that benefit my board, organization and me.
Debby Shore Executive Director
Debby Shore Executive Director Sasha Bruce
This last Circle time was especially meaningful for me as I think you know. Your empathy greatly helped to make it so. I so appreciate the community and your leadership in creating a safe space and support for growth. It is invaluable and makes me feel a larger well of resiliency within myself.
Kimberly Perry Executive Director
Kimberly Perry Executive Director DC Vote
I appreciate the Executive Circle and find it to be a highly unique experience. Leading can be lonely and there are not many avenues to address that reality. I have found it to be a safe circle of personal and professional camaraderie, problem solving and collective visioning of a better quality of life for the residents we all serve. I believe I am a better leader due to the reflection and learning time the Executive Circle has provided to me.
Julie Chapman President and CEO
Julie Chapman President and CEO 501cTECH
I have been in other leadership groups, including Vistage, and none of them have come close to being as helpful to me as Executive Circle. The power of being part of a like-minded group is profound. I really like that Heather focuses not only on the intellectual and leadership aspects of running a nonprofit but on the emotional and spiritual dimensions. It has really been a game changer for me.
Jenny Bilfield President and CEO
Jenny Bilfield President and CEO Washington Performing Arts
The Executive Circle is an essential part of my professional and personal life. Through it, I have met wise, warm people from a wide array of non-profit organizations, and we’ve forged true bonds. In Executive Circle our conversations are meaningful and memorable: we share experiences that enable each other to consider challenges and opportunities from varied perspectives; we discuss topics that seem only possible to share with other organizational leaders. I leave each retreat feeling energized, optimistic, and heard. And between our retreats, I never for a minute hesitate to reach out to the other members for advice or support when I need it. Leadership can be very lonely, and our individual fields can be competitive. Executive Circle is exactly the ‘safe space’ that we all need, but rarely find, and I have huge admiration for the way in which Heather and Trish have brought us together, blending personalities, backgrounds, life perspectives, and passions.
Suzanne Laporte President
Suzanne Laporte President Compass
Executive Circle has given me the opportunity to regularly interact with leaders in the nonprofit community whose experience and wisdom help me be a better leader of my own organization. We have had interesting, tough and open discussions about issues that affect all of us. I can’t imagine another setting where I could have these candid conversations. Every day I’m appreciative of this group for being available if I need advice, for the ongoing support we provide to each other, and to Executive Circle for bringing us together.
Lecester Johnson Chief Executive Officer
Lecester Johnson Chief Executive Officer Academy of Hope
I have been a part of Executive Circle for six years now, and it has been the best investment I have made in my personal leadership development in years. The group is confidential and the peer support and facilitated discussions are amazing.
Tamara A. Smith Chief Executive Officer
Tamara A. Smith Chief Executive Officer YWCA National Capital Area
The opportunity to have a network of peers to talk about best practices, ways to improve our organizational effectiveness, governance, fund raising operations and staffing has been invaluable.  There is a huge benefit of going off site that provides an opportunity to deepen relationships and to focus on the collective learning…the commitment of reflective time without distractions has had a big pay off. I am grateful for the opportunity for personal and professional development with strong support as well as a commitment to continuous learning.
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