Ep 139: Interpersonal Skills are Hard Work (with Carole Robin)

by Joan Garry

Nonprofit executive directors, join Joan Garry and award-winning Stanford professor, Carole Robin to learn how your interpersonal skills impact your org’s success.


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Executive directors, your interpersonal skills have a much bigger impact on your org’s success than you might think. Yet, so many nonprofit leaders struggle to navigate workplace relationships — with staff, with volunteers, and yes, with their boards.

Why do so many nonprofit leaders have a hard time with these interpersonal dynamics? Today’s guest, award-winning Stanford University professor and Co-Founder of Leaders in Tech, Carole Robin, is here to give us the scoop.

She’s the co-author of Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships, a book modeled off the most popular class taught in Stanford’s MBA program — Interpersonal Dynamics, affectionately called “Touchy Feely Class”.

Today We’ll Uncover:

  • How do interpersonal skills impact nonprofit leadership?
  • How does the power balance between staff and leadership affect interpersonal dynamics at work?
  • How does modeling vulnerability lead to exceptional workplace relationships?
  • How can nonprofit leaders vet potential hires for strong interpersonal skills?


Contact Carole Robin


About Carole Robin

Carole Robin Ph.D. was the Dorothy J. King Lecturer in Leadership, Director of the Arbuckle Leadership Fellows Program, and award-winning teacher in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business legendary Interpersonal Dynamics (aka Touchy Feely) course. Subsequent to leaving Stanford in 2017 she co-founded Leaders in Tech, a nonprofit which brings two decades of GSB lessons to Silicon Valley startup founders. She is also the co-author of Penguin Random House’s new Connect which contains the lessons of “Touchy Feely” that thousands of students have consistently described over decades as life-changing.

Prior to joining Stanford, she was a partner in an international consulting firm and a senior sales and marketing manager in a Fortune 50 company. She has provided executive coaching, leadership development, and executive team building to a wide range of business, government, and nonprofit clients ranging in size from startups to global and Fortune 500 organizations and is currently an advisor on several boards. She is the recipient of two Congressional Awards for Community Service.