Thoughts on the Social Sector’s Leadership Gap

The Nonprofit Quarterly recently published an Op-Ed by a retiring nonprofit leader,  Nancy Wackstein, who feels concerns about a Leadership Gap in the sector are overblown.

Research about the sector’s need for succession planning first gained traction in 2009 as explored by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Great Recession may have delayed the retirements of many Boomers but concerns about recruiting the next generation of leaders remains constant.


Ms. Wackstein describes an encouraging experience. And it’s easy to agree that “baby boomers really do not have the monopoly on compassion, commitment to social justice, or very hard work.” But it’s more likely that Ms. Wackstein’s experience is an exception to the rule. Plus, as she describes, she put intention in mentoring her younger colleagues.

Organizations that avoid the pitfalls of the leadership gap are headed by leaders like Ms. Wackstein who value and model shared leadership.

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