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Nonprofits Think Big.Innovate.Ideate.Repeat

nonprofit leader014: Think Big. Innovate. Ideate. Repeat. with Stephan Bauman






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Highlights from the interview

Stephan's Journey:


  • Recently married and his wife, Belinda, suggests they take a break from their careers and volunteer  
  • Three times is a charm: he concedes to his wife's request after three years and takes a six month leave of absence to Sub-Sahara Africa to do hospital relief work
  • A six month leave turns into six years and Stephan realizes that his skills in leadership and strategy were equally needed in nonprofits
  • This experience informed the advice he gives to others that ask how they too can shift their career to the nonprofit sector. He says, "Find a way to spend 3 months, 1 month or 2 weeks volunteering." It will inform your path
  • This stint aboard was a turning point in their career and calling in life which lead them to what they are doing today 
  • Moving from a fortune 100 company to the nonprofit sector, he found the most difficult transition point to be the cultural and theological differences


Stephan's FaithFactor 

The faith of others motivates him to get up and do what he feels called to do


Valley Moment:


  • While serving in Rwanda, an African country troubled with genocide, he was leading a team that was made of up two tribes
  • A conflict arose with two team members that were from different tribes which was delicate given the countries history
  • His initial response was to approach it the way we would in America, identify who's right, who's wrong and solve the problem 
  • The "American" approach was not going to work in this complex environment.  He instead found a solution that would still honor both members of the team and preserve peace    


IMPACT Nonprofit Leadership:


  • Greatest influence on his leadership was a relationship he built with an African couple, Moses and Sally
  • He asked some hard questions and learned that a valuable lesson that even our best intentions be misinterpreted which lead him to explore more about cross cultural communication  
  • Leadership can be defined by inviting people to contribute to something extraordinary and to bring people where they don't want to go
  • Two element that separate the good from the great
    1. Focusing on a specific niche and not attempting to do everything
    2. Using quantitative and qualitative data and feedback to determine impact
  • The don'ts of leadership:
    • Don't move too quickly when hiring
    • Hire slow. Fire fast
  • Must have nonprofit leadership skill: Being able to clearly hear what the problem is.  Weed through what is being said and understand the real problem. 
  • Stephan's genius talent: A visionary. Has the ability to generate ideas as well as see the implications of those ideas well in advance


Strategic Partnership and Community Work:

  • Currently working with a number of organizations in the U.S. that are partners in welcoming the number of refugees locally
  • As you think of collaborating with another organization, craft a memorandum of understanding that is in the benefit of all parties 
  • Formalize the collaboration and put it on paper
  • Fast forward to 2018 and success for World Relief would be to have 125 U.S. partners connected with communities in the Middle East

Rapid Fire

  • Top two skills nonprofit leaders should have: .
    1. Creativity & innovation
    2. A passion for data
  • Tactic he uses to attract top talent to his organization: call them to be a part of something they could not otherwise do on their own
  • Advice he would give his younger self: Don't be afraid to Think Big


2 week sprint to action 


Other IMPACT Resources & References


Link to Books mentioned:

Two Ears of Corn: A Guide to People-Centered Improvement

Seeking Refuge

Possible - Get the book overview here


Links to resources mentioned:


Links to find Stephan:




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