Ep 2: A Day in the Life of an Executive Director [PODCAST]

nonprofits are messyBeing the Executive Director of a nonprofit is like being shot out of a cannon. It’s a tough and demanding job. But what exactly does an Executive Director do all day? And even more importantly, how can Executive Directors manage their time to truly be effective?

Today I speak with Marea Chaveco, Executive Director of Futuro Media Group, and Glennda Testone, Executive Director of New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, about what it really takes to be an effective big boss of a nonprofit organization.

We discuss how to balance big-picture strategy and leadership with day-to-day management. We also delve into how to manage the unknown and the unexpected while still moving an agenda forward.


  • The skills and attributes every Executive Director should possess
  • How email is your best friend and your worst enemy
  • The biggest differences between running a large vs. small nonprofit
  • Dealing with hate mail
  • Tips to manage your day and week to keep things under control
  • The biggest “time bandits” an ED faces
  • How to find balance in your life and avoid burnout
  • The benefits of meditation
  • How to build a culture of storytelling
  • A key question to ask during a strategic planning process
  • How to manage the unknown and unexpected

In my own experience as the Executive Director of GLAAD I learned immediately that there was far too much work and nowhere near enough hours to get it done. Between fundraising, programming, finance, employee management, board relations, and on and on, it is very easy for any ED to blown completely off track.

I’ve heard from many Executive Directors who tell me their days at work feel out of control. But it doesn’t need to be this way if you have the right tools. The tips offered on the podcast by Marea and Glennda are valuable to every Executive Director as well as those that aspire to lead an organization.

Episode Notes

Joan Garry
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Joan Garry

Widely known as the "Dear Abby" of nonprofit leadership, Joan works with board and staff as a strategic advisor, crisis manager, change agent and strategic planner. Joan also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on nonprofit communications and leadership.
Joan Garry
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