Navigating Your Nonprofit Career & Creating Positive Workplace Culture (Michelle Hamilton)

November 2019

On Episode 6 of The Path podcast, Michelle and I had a great discussion on all three phases of a nonprofit career:  getting started and navigating your first nonprofit job; advancing into leadership as you move through your mid-career; and maximizing leadership opportunities once you achieve them.  Michelle also shares great resources and tips to stay organized amidst a busy nonprofit lifestyle and how to develop a positive workplace culture.


Michelle Hamilton, CFRE, is Vice President of Development at the Charlotte Symphony, an orchestra bucking the trend of symphony orchestras serving a narrow slice of society in its belief that sharing music should be a right and not a privilege.  She has 28 years' experience as a non-profit leader, including work with the Houston Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Michelle is a Lafayette, Louisiana native and holds a BA in communications from the University of Louisiana.  She is a past president of the Charlotte Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, an international organization inspiring global change and supporting efforts that generate billions of dollars in philanthropy.  She was recognized as Charlotte's Outstanding Fundraising Professional by AFP Charlotte in 2013.  Learn more about Michelle on LinkedIn and her work at the symphony at Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.


  • Why choose a nonprofit career?
  • Distinguishing between work at larger and smaller nonprofits
  • Using post-it notes and Outlook to stay organized
  • Carson Tate at Working Simply
  • Maximizing a mentor
  • When is it time to leave your nonprofit job?
  • Main things she looks for when hiring, and best interview question she uses
  • Professional development resources she recommends for aspiring leaders
  • 3 ways to create a positive nonprofit culture
  • What she does to continue her professional development 
  • Strengths Based Leadership (Tom Rath)
  • Donor Centered Leadership (Penelope Burk) 
  • More about their creative programming: CSO WebsiteInstagram