Executive Talent Search & Digital Marketing for Mission-Driven Organizations | Nonprofit Trailblazers You Don't See on the News Everyday

Nonprofit Trailblazers You Don’t See on the News Everyday

Last week, I wrote about the need to create bold solutions to big, challenging problems. Whenever I find myself stuck in the routine of just executing on the core of my business, but not thinking creatively about big moves that can be made, I often find inspiration in looking at the stories of other great leaders.


In that spirit, here are some stories I have recently run across of nonprofit leaders who have demonstrated audacity in creating bold solutions:

1. The Empowerment Plan


Veronika Scott founded The Empowerment Plan in 2011 as a way to provide warmth and jobs to homeless women in Detroit. The organization’s flagship product is a coat that can be transformed into a sleeping bag, which is designed specifically for people who are living on the streets. Veronika’s creativity in designing this solution was evident in her determination to not just provide warmth, but also to empower the women who make the coats. She developed a training program that teaches homeless women to sew, and provides them with full-time employment and support services. Today, The Empowerment Plan has distributed thousands of coats to homeless individuals across the United States, and has helped dozens of women to transition out of homelessness and into stable housing and employment.

2. Camelback Ventures


Aaron T. Walker founded Camelback Ventures in 2015 to support underrepresented entrepreneurs in the United States. Walker’s audacity in creating this solution was evident in his recognition of the systemic barriers that prevent people of color and other marginalized groups from accessing capital and support in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He developed a bold new model that provides seed funding, mentorship, and resources to early-stage entrepreneurs who are often overlooked by traditional investors and accelerators. Walker’s own experience as a first-generation college graduate and entrepreneur has informed his approach, and he is committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable ecosystem for all entrepreneurs. Today, Camelback Ventures has supported over 150 ventures led by underrepresented entrepreneurs, and has become a leader in the movement to promote diversity and inclusion in the startup world.

3. Homeboy Industries


Father Greg Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California, in 1988 as a way to provide job training and support services to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated individuals. The organization’s audacity in creating this solution was evident in its commitment to breaking the cycle of gang violence and recidivism by providing comprehensive and holistic support to those who have been impacted by these issues. Father Boyle recognized that traditional punitive approaches to criminal justice were not effective, and he developed a bold new model that prioritizes compassion and second chances. Today, Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world, and has helped thousands of individuals to transform their lives and build brighter futures.

What is stopping you?

I like these stories because these leaders were not necessarily famous or wealthy, but they had the audacity to take bold action and create meaningful change in their communities. These are just 3 of thousands of stories like this that are easy to find. I chose these three because they show leaders from different communities, educational backgrounds, and areas of impact. Anyone with the right spirit, courage, and work ethic can become one of these stories.


So what is stopping you from taking bold action on something today?

About Maneva Group

If you would like to discuss how you can hire bold leaders for your organization, please reach out to me at nshah@ManevaGroup.com. We will schedule a free 15-minute consult about how we can help you maximize your impact through strategic hiring.
Search Blog
Related Blog

As we come to the end of the year, many organizations I work with are reflecting on their processes and coming up with plans to improve in 2024. One huge theme has been ensuring fair and unbiased hiring practices to promote equity and inclusion in the workplace.

As we come to the end of the year, many organizations I work with are reflecting on their processes and coming up with plans to improve in 2024. One huge theme has been ensuring fair and unbiased hiring practices to promote equity and inclusion in the workplace.

As an Executive or Board member, you already know that finding the right leader for your organization is crucial. From my own experience in business, I have seen conclusively that certain entrepreneurial

Recruiting for a leadership position is never an easy task. It requires time, effort, and resources to find the right candidate who possesses the necessary skills and experience to excel in the job. When it comes

As an executive search firm in the nonprofit sector, we know that hiring for a leadership position can be a complex and challenging process. Many factors come into play when selecting the right