Ep 102: Is Abuse of Power Epidemic in the Nonprofit Sector? (with Sarah Beaulieu and Kim Jones)

by Joan Garry

I wrote an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy on this topic and got a tremendous response. It seems abuse of power may be rampant.


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One of my articles in the Chronicle of Philanthropy elicited a tremendous amount of reader response. How to contend with abuse of power.

It occurred to me that if you are a nonprofit or volunteer who is dealing with a funder or you are a small nonprofit with no human resource department, the situation becomes even worse.

While I felt like I could identify the myriad of ways in which these issues manifest I thought it best to seek out advice from two experts on how to address and avoid abuse of power.

Sarah Beaulieu writes and speaks frequently about sexual violence, including a 2016 TEDxBeaconStreet talk. Kim Jones is an employment trial attorney who also trains on a variety of employment issues.

Learn how you can act from a place of power when you are at your most vulnerable, where you can get help, and what can you do to turn your situation around.

About Sarah Beaulieu

Sarah Beaulieu is the author of Breaking the Silence Habit: A Practical Guide to Uncomfortable Conversations in the #MeToo Workplace. She trains workplaces and managers on skills-based sexual harassment prevention and response. Her expertise has been featured in multiple news outlets, including Fox News, Harvard Business Review, the Associated Press, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NPR, AskMen, and the Boston Business Journal. In 2018, Sarah co-founded An Uncomfortable Conversation, a nonprofit YouTube channel that helps people engage in meaningful conversations about sexual violence through short videos. A proud graduate of Brown University, Sarah lives with her family in Boston, Massachusetts.

Website: www.sarahbeaulieu.me

About Kim Jones

Kim Jones is an employment trial lawyer representing companies, not-for-profits, and higher education institutions, in federal and state courts, and before AAA and labor arbitration panels. In addition to providing day-to-day counsel on human resources issues, she trains management and non- management employees nationwide on a variety of employment issues, including prohibited harassment, effective supervision, and managing the absent employee.

Kim is currently serving as the firm’s Managing Partner.

Kim is very active in the community serving on several boards and committees including The Central Exchange Board (2004-2010), Co-Chair Engagement of Win/Win, Friends of Art (2010- 2011), Heartland Labor & Employment Institute Steering Committee and Seminar Chair (2009), Human Rights Campaign Kansas City Steering Committee (2005-2008), the University of Kansas School of Law Board of Governors, Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Business Council Steering Committee and the Women’s Employment Network Board.

In this podcast

  • When the issue is interpersonal rather than legal
  • How passion for your mission can affect your judgement
  • How does power associated with money, race or gender play out in incidences of harassment or bullying?
  • Who has control over these behaviors?
  • Can employers force policy on volunteers? How explicit are your onboarding practices?
  • Does approaching board recruitment from a place of scarcity affect the abuse of power scenario?
  • How to build the skills to have difficult conversations
  • Emphasizing the importance of your organization’s policy on harassment
  • Who has liability anyway?
  • Accessing community resources
  • What if the board chair IS the problem?
  • Shifting the power dynamics
  • Creating inclusive environments that foster breaking silence