Episode 57

Published on:

12th Mar 2024

Building High-Performing Teams: A Guide for Today’s Leaders

In this episode, the host discusses leadership with Dan Blakemore, the vice president of philanthropy at the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. They explore the qualities of a good leader, the importance of adapting to change, and the commitment to learning. They also discuss how leaders can motivate their teams and embrace new technologies. The conversation concludes with a discussion on succession planning and measuring the social impact of nonprofit work.


  • A good leader is someone who lives the mission, encourages others, and leads by example.
  • Leaders need qualities such as good relationship management, the ability to take direction, strategic thinking, and inclusivity.
  • Leaders must be open to new ideas and adapt to changes in the nonprofit sector.
  • Succession planning is important for ensuring the continuity of leadership within an organization.
  • Measuring the social impact of nonprofit work involves setting smart objectives, distinguishing between outputs and outcomes, and being transparent with stakeholders.

Dan Blakemore, CFRE is Vice President of Philanthropy at the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Throughout his more than 15 years in non-profit fundraising, he has worked in museums, the performing arts and higher education. 

Dan is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), where he serves as the U.S. Political Action Committee Vice Chair and a member of the Government Relations Committee. He is a board member and past President of AFP’s Northeast Ohio Chapter.  

Dan serves his community as a Diversity on Board Coach with Leadership Akron, as a Trustee of the African American Archives Auxiliary at Western Reserve Historical Society, and on the boards of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and the National Park Friends Alliance. He is a proud graduate of both Howard University and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

He lives in Northeast Ohio with his wife and three young kids.


00:33 Guest Introduction

01:32 Defining a Good Leader

03:09 Adapting to Change

04:03 Commitment to Learning

05:23 Staying Connected in a Pandemic

06:20 Motivating the Team

08:19 Embracing New Technologies

09:37 Succession Planning

16:09 Identifying Future Leaders

35:15 Coaches Corner: “how can we effectively measure the social impact of our nonprofit’s work?“

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About the Podcast

IMPACTability: The Nonprofit Leaders' Podcast
Each episode, we feature an expert in their nonprofit field, discussing topics that range from fundraising and nonprofit management to Board development and marketing.
"IMPACTability: The Nonprofit Leaders' Podcast" is a dynamic and insightful series hosted by Josh Hirsch, M.S., Senior Strategist for Soukup Strategic Solutions, and created by Sheryl Soukup, President of Soukup Strategic Solutions. Each episode looks at the multifaceted world of nonprofit organizations, offering expert advice on issues ranging from fundraising and management to Board development and marketing. Josh, with his extensive background in the nonprofit sector, engages with a variety of experts to provide valuable perspectives and practical solutions to the challenges faced by nonprofit leaders.

Listeners will find each episode rich with knowledge and inspiration. The podcast covers a wide array of topics, ensuring relevance for a diverse nonprofit audience. Whether it’s discussing innovative fundraising strategies, exploring effective Board governance, or the nuances of nonprofit marketing, "IMPACTability" serves as an essential resource for leaders looking to enhance their organization's impact. This podcast is an excellent tool for anyone in the nonprofit sector seeking to grow professionally and make a more significant impact in their community.

About your host

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Josh Hirsch, M.S.

Josh Hirsch, M.S., is the Senior Strategist for Soukup Strategic Solutions and on faculty for The Fund Raising School at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2006, most recently as Social Content Marketing for Susan G. Komen. He has an extensive background in social media, digital communications, and marketing along with experience in grant research and writing, individual giving, special event planning, stewardship, and cultivation of donors.