Leading with Confident Impact in the Footsteps of a Founder

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Giving Compass’ Take:

• Anne Eidelman reflects on her role as the head of an organization, offering tips on confidently leading with impact in the footsteps of a founder.

• Why is it difficult yet important to institute your own leadership after taking over for a founder? How can you encourage successors to continue and improve upon leading with impact after a founder steps down?

• Read more about leading with impact as the successor to a founder.

In June 2017, I took over the leadership of Blue Engine from its founder. The organization, a nonprofit that partners with schools to give every learner the support they need reach their potential, needed stabilization. The founder, Nick Ehrmann, had grown it from inception in 2010 into a nonprofit deploying more than $5 million annually in public and private funding, and reaching nearly 2,000 students across New York City’s district schools. Early results were significant; third party evaluations showed that students in Blue Engine classrooms demonstrated meaningful academic gains. But there were problems, including a climate of growing distrust among staff, misaligned priorities, and revenue challenges, not to mention…


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