ED Forums

Each Executive Director Forum is comprised of 10 to 12 executive directors facilitated by two ECofOC coaches who are experienced  nonprofit management consultants. The monthly meetings use a proven process to guide the group to practical solutions for issues brought to the table by each participant.

Members have the opportunity to:

  • Hear from peers who have experienced similar nonprofit management and leadership issues and concerns
  • Gain better insights into their organizations by having knowledgeable, unbiased peers present their perspectives
  • Get fresh ideas to solve difficult or complex issues
  • View their situations and organizations strategically
  • Learn tips to solve everyday problems from similarly situated peers

This program responds to the typical executive director concern that “it’s lonely at the top”. EDs typically have few opportunities to interact with peers about specific nonprofit management and leadership issues facing their organizations.

Membership Criteria
Executive Director Forum candidates must be in an executive director or similar position on a full-time basis. The nonprofit must have:

  • A Board of Directors
  • At least two employees (ED +1)
  • An annual budget of at least $150,000
  • A commercial-based (non-home-based) office

Member Commitments
To ensure the success of each forum, members must commit to:

  • Attend all of the Forum monthly meetings (exceptions for travel and vacations)
  • Participate as an active Forum contributor and good listener
  • Demonstrate a sincere interest in the success of the Forum and its members
  • Maintain the confidentiality of all Forum discussions
  • Follow the Forum process

Executive Director Forum Members
Following is a sampling of our Executive Director Forum member firms:

  • 2-1-1 Orange County
  • Algalita marine Research Foundation
  • Breast Cancer Solutions
  • Habitat for Humanity Orange County
  • Institute for Women Entrepreneurs
  • Junior Achievement of Southern California
  • Women Helping Women/Men2Work

Forum Meeting Leaders
Our Executive Director Forum meeting leaders are:

Nonprofit Management Forum Next Steps:

By completing and submitting the Nonprofit Management Forum application, you are indicating that you are interested in ECofOC’s Executive Director Forum program and would like to learn more. You will be contacted by one of our nonprofit management consultants to discuss the program and consider which of the forums best suits your needs. Submitting this information indicates only that you are interested and does not bind you to participation.

John Benner started his career as a CPA with Price Waterhouse and held financial and general management positions with major retailers, finishing his career as Senior Vice-President Administration, Lucky Stores Division of American Stores. Since 1995 he has been a strategic planning consultant to non-profit organizations.

Dave Blankenhorn was the President, CEO and a Director of the American Security Bank in Newport Beach, which under his leadership grew from $260 million in 2004 to $430 million in 2012. Dave is also on the Board of Second Harvest Food Bank and the Orange County Council of Boy Scouts of America.

Nicole Leier, SPHR-CA, is the Principal & Sr. HR Consultant for Mindful HR Consulting & Coaching. She graduated from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Resources, and earned a SPHR-CA, (Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification, with an additional specialty certification in California Employment Law). Nicole spent 25 years in Hospitality Human Resources Leadership roles in Corporate America as an HR Director and Area Director across the county. Her passion is guiding and developing others to be their best, and to bring out the best in their teams.

Over the course of her established career, Nicole has spent copious amounts of time in both union and non-union environments, and is well versed in acquisitions, divestitures, and business transitions, to match seamlessly with her extensive familiarity in opening high end properties.

She now works with business owners in all industries, helping them establish their HR infrastructures and providing Leadership Coaching to owners and Managers on how to create an environment where individuals and their businesses can thrive.

Tara Norton has over 25 years experience as a Sr. Executive Coach, Career Coach, Leadership and Organization Development professional. She has partnered with global Fortune 100 internal and external clients such as Cisco Systems, Walt Disney World, PepsiCo, Gateway, Hard Rock Café, and Warner Brothers to successfully accelerate individuals, teams and organizations to achieve their goals and increase overall effectiveness. She is an insightful coach who works with individuals who are looking to achieve a greater degree of professional and/or personal leadership success by enhancing their leadership style, communication skills, interpersonal savvy, executive presence, and/or career development.

Tara is an ICF Associate Certified Coach, holds a Master’s degree of Human Resource Management, member/past board member of ECofOC for the last 15 years, an instructor for UC San Diego, and is certified in 9 assessments and leadership programs.