Ep 28: Difficult Conversations in Uncertain Times (with Parisa Parsa)

nonprofits are messy

This week marks a major transition in the U.S. – a new president.

Whenever this happens, some people are thrilled and others are upset, anxious, worried. This is true even when a president is re-elected.

This year does feel different in some ways. Emotions are running higher than normal. So is skepticism. The country has become more polarized than it has been in a long time.

All too often, we’ve stopped listening to each other.

For my nonprofit clients who are feeling distressed, I remind you that the nonprofit world was created to help fill in the gaps where the government cannot – and perhaps should not – be involved. Whether those gaps will get bigger with the new administration, only time will tell.

But this does mean is that nonprofits are needed now more than ever. That strong leadership is needed more than ever. And that we have to start doing a better job of listening to each other.

It is with all of that in mind that I was anxious to have Parisa Parsa on the podcast. Paris is an expert in bringing people together and in this episode, Parisa will help us sort out how to have difficult conversations and find the opportunities in this challenging environment.

About Parisa Parsa

Parisa is the Executive Director of an organization called Essential Partners, a nonprofit that has worked for more than 25 years to facilitate difficult conversations. Parisa brings to us years of leadership experience, focused on training and cultivating others as leaders to build strong, healthy organizations.

Prior to joining Essential Partners, Parisa served as the Director of Congregational Development for the New England Unitarian Universalist Association, strengthening leaders and congregations through leadership development, and change management. An ordained minister, she has served in leadership roles for faith-based and social service organizations across the country.

She has fascinating insights into what is going on in our country and in nonprofits today.

In this episode:

  • Ways to stay grounded in times of chaos
  • Lessons from the Karate Kid
  • The keys to making a difficult conversation productive
  • How to use the Reflective Structure Dialogue (RSD) method to help facilitate better conversations
  • Advice for leaders moving into uncharted waters

Continue Reading

January 20: How to Lead in Uncertain Times


The nonprofit sector has such a critical role to play in lifting us all up in times of uncertainty. And that has ZERO to do with who is in the White House.

Continue reading...

A 60-Day Donor Retention Plan

Even the smallest organization can be top-notch at donor retention. Here is my 60-day plan to set up your new donors to become repeat givers.

Continue reading...

Ep 27: Confessions of a Terrible Board Member (with Eileen Opatut)

terrible board member

What if a prospective board member looks great “on paper” but doesn’t pan out as the five-star board member you’d expected? Is it their fault? Yours?

Continue reading...

The Key to a Successful Performance Review Process

performance review

Too many nonprofits don’t do performance reviews at all. Or do them poorly. And yet, regular assessments are one of the fourteen attributes of a thriving… nonprofit leader..

Continue reading...

Your 10 Favorite Posts of 2016

favorite posts 2016

Whatever you want to say about 2016, it sure wasn’t boring! Here are the 10 most popular posts I wrote in 2016. It’s a great list for any nonprofit leader..

Continue reading...

Ep 26: Building a Culture of Optimism (with Steve Gross)

culture optimism

Two brothers start a business selling t-shirts with just $78 in the bank. They live out of a van and eat PB and J for 5 years. They are selling optimism..

Continue reading...