What Issues Will You Face as a New Nonprofit Leader? (Tom O’Toole)

April 2023

Are you on the path to nonprofit leadership? How prepared are you for the challenges you'll face? In episode #205 of Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, we speak with Tom O'Toole, Executive Director for MPA Programs at Cornell University's Brooks School of Public Policy about what skills aspiring leaders need to efficiently and effectively run a nonprofit organization. Tom shares serious concerns of burnout - not just work/life balance - but losing the sense of intrinsic motivation that drives many to nonprofit leaders face given the fact that the challenges they're trying to confront may never be solved in their lifetimes. In today's world, it's more important than ever to be adaptable. Tom discusses how adaptability gives you the ability to face challenges and obstacles, but it also makes you a better leader and team player. 

"More young professionals with mission-oriented perspectives see themselves committing to a nonprofit career."



Thomas O'Toole is the Executive Director of Public Affairs Programming at Cornell's MPA Program. He teaches the MPA Program's core course on "Issues in Public Administration," a seminar on "Comparative Public Administration: The Case of Seoul, Korea," and has collaborated on projects and educational programming with the White House, the United Nations Division of Public Administration and Development Management, the UN World Food Programme, and the International Food Policy Research Institute. He is also responsible for monitoring the strategic direction of the MPA Program, as well as providing ongoing oversight to ensure the achievement of the program's educational and professional missions. As part of his responsibilities, Professor O'Toole oversees all student professional development activities related to the graduate field of public affairs at Cornell, including maintaining institutional relationships with organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and facilitating job and internship placements for Brooks MPA students. He received his undergraduate degree at Bucknell University and master's and Ph.D. from Cornell.