Overcoming 3 Barriers to Nonprofit Leadership Success (Karen Mitchell)

December 2019

Dr. Karen Mitchell has seen too many talented professionals who, despite great potential, do not achieve the kind of leadership success they deserve.  What are the barriers that prevent this ultimate success?  That is exactly what Karen and I discuss on the tenth episode of the Path Podcast, particularly the three skills in particular that if mastered, can help accelerate leadership opportunities.  The first thing we discuss is the ability to project executive presence.  What is it, and how can you get better?  We then discuss the ability to deliver presentations that inspire, which is certainly a skill that benefits anyone trying to better articulate the mission of their nonprofit.  Finally, we talk about the nuances of managing a team, whether that be one that is small or large, or comprised of volunteers or paid staff. Karen also shares some great resources and will add some good books to your library as well.


Karen's coaching and consulting practice, Cottage Insights, creates opportunities for personal and professional development and growth. Early in her career, she was in the nonprofit world, working at Conservation International in Washington, D.C., and then in Kansas City, she worked for Union Station Kansas City, a nonprofit housed in a historic train station with museums and traveling exhibits.  She's also spent the last 14 years on the faculty at Elizabethtown College, a non-profit institution in central Pennsylvania, and is currently teaching in their graduate program on Strategic Leadership. Previously at the college, she worked with their Social Enterprise Institute and helped several social enterprises develop programs. 

Karen holds a B.A. in English and Economics from the University of Mary Washington, an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas, and her Doctorate in Education at the University of Southern California.   Learn more about Karen here, and check out her website to learn more about her coaching and consulting.