Ep 3: My Interview with Alexander Sanger of Planned Parenthood [PODCAST]

by Joan Garry

Interview with author, board chair, and former Planned Parenthood NY CEO Alexander Sanger. We discuss leadership, staff motivation, and board relations.


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Nonprofits can often be a whirlwind of activity, and only good management keeps that whirlwind from getting out of control.

A couple years ago, I had the privilege to interview Alexander Sanger, the Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United National Population Fund, and the author of the highly acclaimed, Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom In The 21st Century. Alex also spent nearly a decade as the CEO of Planned Parenthood NY, the largest PP affiliate in the world.

Perhaps the name “Sanger” rings a bell? “Sanger” as in Margaret Sanger, the founder of the modern day reproductive rights movement. THAT Sanger. Alex is her grandson. Besides being brilliant in his own right, he’s also generous and has lots of opinions!

Alex and I spoke about what makes a successful nonprofit leader, how to motivate employees that are less interested in money than doing good, dealing with an runaway board, and why nonprofit messaging is so important.


  • What it’s like to transition from the private sector to becoming a successful nonprofit CEO
  • Understanding what motivates those who work at nonprofits
  • The elements of a successful Board Chair and CEO relationship
  • How to deal with “Founder’s Syndrome”
  • The optimal amount of time a CEO should spend on Board work
  • How in the wide world of sports you can reduce a board of 75 people down to just 25 and not wreak havoc
  • Can a nonprofit thrive in spite of a weak board?
  • Are CEO sabbaticals a good idea?
  • The importance of messaging a nonprofit’s mission and vision

Episode Notes