Services

Leadership thrives throughout all levels of an organization. Bearden Brown develops customized programs for each opportunity as we engage with a range of leadership groups and organizations. We help nonprofits and NGOs ensure a clarity of vision and an alignment of strategy that is visible throughout the organization

As nonprofits travel the life cycles of success, key growth events and related institutional changes often become pivotal tipping points in determining long-term sustainability. Those events and changes may include:

  • Taking all-volunteer organizations to the next level with professional staff
  • Transitioning executive leadership with or without a succession plan in place
  • Adding key non-executive staff
  • Preparing for a major fundraising campaign
  • Developing or updating an organizational strategic plan
  • Addressing fundamental management/board governance opportunities and/or issues

Bearden Brown engages with organizations during those key events, working alongside senior management and governance boards to provide focus and produce tangible impact.

Leadership Development
  • Leadership team assessment and support
  • Mentoring
  • Executive training
  • Culture development

In response to key organizational events, many nonprofits adapt leadership models that work well in other sectors but are not effective in the nonprofit setting. Nonprofit leadership often differs because of the diffuse nature of power in the sector.

Given that difference, we work with those responsible for governance and program implementation to support and develop leaders whose work is attuned to the special needs of nonprofits while focused on mission delivery and the building of the institution.

Organizations may need to expand management capacity for growth. Emerging or established leaders may desire targeted mentoring and/or partnership to deepen skill sets that supplement their experience. We have worked with a variety of leadership groups and will tailor a strategy to fit your special needs.

Strategy and Governance
  • Strategic planning
  • Board assessment and development
  • Board / management relationships
  • Executive transition

The role of governance boards in the nonprofit sector is critical but often misunderstood. Yet when special events arise, a well-considered and appropriate response by the board is essential to success. An unexpected crisis or a major new opportunity may require objective insights, fresh perspective, and honest outside feedback from a national leader in nonprofit management and development.

Focusing on the critical responsibilities required of senior management and governance boards during these times, Bearden Brown collaborates with organizations on a variety of institutional issues while providing an unswerving emphasis on clarity of vision and alignment of strategy.

Retreats and Conferences
  • Speaking engagements at conferences and annual meetings
  • Panelist
  • Retreat and meeting facilitation

With years of experience delivering high-profile speeches and presentations to audiences that have included prime ministers, cabinet officials, governors, members of Congress, national governing boards, conference attendees, and more, we have the perspective and skills to bring the message you need to your audience.

Bearden Brown also has deep experience in facilitating staff and board retreats to help organizations address key events in the life cycle of the nonprofit.


Through our work, we seek to both exhibit and support effective leadership that is resolute, but not rude. Humble, but not timid. Proud, but not arrogant. Humorous, but without folly. Optimistic, but not reckless.

Our overall goal is simple: to help you make a difference in the world.


Your addition at Filoli has done wonders to mend a battered bridge…but now I believe the bridge is strengthened by the mutual respect, honesty and open communications you brought to us.

Kara Newport, President & CEO, Filoli Center, Woodside, CA

We know well his confidence in people’s ability to make change and his unfailing belief that saving historic places and telling our diverse history builds stronger communities.

Elizabeth Kostelny, President & CEO, Preservation Virginia, Richmond, VA

I credit David’s challenge to think broader and deeper about the role of the built heritage with paving the way for my work on statewide economic impact studies and issues related to housing, the environment and historic preservation. David opened up opportunities for me to expand my perspectives.

Donovan Rypkema, Founder & Principal, Place Economics, Washington, DC