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Economy League of Greater Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Bureau of Municipal Research was founded in 1909 and merged with the Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL) in 1954. PEL is an independent nonprofit, public policy research and development organization comprised of three limited liability companies -- the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia (ELGP), the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh (PELGP), and the Pennsylvania Economy League of Central PA, serving the Harrisburg area. Each of these organizations focuses its efforts on the greater metropolitan area surrounding the three largest cities in Pennsylvania.

The mission of the ELGP is to “address critical issues facing Greater Philadelphia by providing impactful research, connecting diverse leaders, and advancing shared solutions. We envision a thriving Greater Philadelphia region powered by informed and collaborative leadership…The ELGP believes that high-quality analysis and practical insight about the region’s most important challenges and opportunities, combined with collaborative, cross-sector leadership are crucial drivers of prosperity in Greater Philadelphia.”

Jeff Hornstein was appointed as the executive director of the ELGP in late 2017. Prior to this appointment, he spent five years as the director of financial & policy analysis for the Philadelphia City Controller. In this role, he advised Controller Alan Butkovitz on issues relating to Philadelphia's fiscal health. During 2016 and 2017, in collaboration with the City’s Commerce Department, Jeff began coordination of a purchasing consortium of major institutions, intending to improve economic opportunities for local, diversity suppliers. When the Controller lost his re-election bid in 2017, concerns this program would not survive the change in leadership prompted Jeff to find a new home for the program. The close alignment between the goals of this program and the mission of the ELGP allowed Jeff to continue his work on this program by accepting the executive director position at ELGP. The Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity (PAGE) program is a collaborative effort between the ELGP, the City, and leading education and medical organizations (Eds and Meds) that seeks to increase local purchasing by large institutions to grow local and diverse companies, create jobs, and strengthen the local economy.  

After earning a bachelor of science in political science from MIT, a master of science in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in business history from the University of Maryland, Jeff spent 10 years working in various organizing roles in the labor movement. He led multiple successful organizing campaigns before running for Philadelphia City Council in 2011. Although his Council bid was unsuccessful, his campaign was very well run and generated sufficient interest from a number of people that allowed him to launch a consulting firm. His consulting work, as well as the success of his campaign, caused Alan Butkovitz to recruit him into the director of financial & policy analysis role he filled until 2017.

When speaking with Jeff, his passion and vision are evident. His personal values are closely aligned to the goals of the ELGP and his vision for how to accomplish that mission is concise.  Under his leadership, the ELGP is leading the PAGE initiative, has launched the Full City Challenge in collaboration with the Billy Penn media outlet, and continues to run the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (GPLEX) program. These initiatives foster economic growth through collaboration and innovation, with the ultimate goal of providing all Philadelphians with the skills and education necessary to earn a family-sustaining wage to reduce poverty.

Jeff is also an instructor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, teaching courses on Economic Development, Equity, and Inclusion and “The Philadelphia Story: The Problem of Jobs,” covering the rise, fall, and rebirth of the labor market in the Philadelphia area and current strategies to continue job growth in the region.  

In his civic life, Jeff serves on the board of the Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition. He organized the Friends of Neighborhood Education, a citywide initiative to build community support for neighborhood public schools and helped organize community support for the legislation that created the Philadelphia Land Bank. Jeff is a strong leader with a passion for eliminating social inequities, and Philadelphia has benefited greatly from his many efforts.  

Author bio

Bryan Wilkinson Bryan has worked in Financial and Human Resource Management at the University of Pennsylvania for the past 18 years. Currently he is serving as the Associate Director of Fiscal Operations for Residential and Hospitality Services. Bryan is a life-long resident of the Philadelphia region; a graduate of Central High School; and a first-generation college graduate. He has also held numerous volunteer youth sports coaching positions in Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, and Norristown over the past 16 years. Bryan is a second-year candidate in the executive master’s in public administration program in the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University in Commerce and Engineering.  


Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians

Immigrants to the U.S. bring an abundance of global perspective, mind-opening cultural contributions, and a lot of money. According to a 2014 report by New American Economy, immigrants contributed $105 billion in state and local taxes and almost $224 billion in federal taxes with nearly $927 billion in spending power. The immigration landscape in the U.S. of late has reduced the entry of immigrants and refugees and has promoted a rhetoric that portrays this population as a threat. In the Philadelphia area, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians has challenged that negativity, empowered immigrants, and strengthened the economy with a mission of inclusive economic growth through immigrant integration.

Anne O’Callaghan founded the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, commonly referred to as the Welcoming Center, in 2003. O’Callaghan, an immigrant to the U.S. herself, launched the organization after experiencing the challenges immigrants face in adapting to life in Philadelphia. Over the past 16 years, the center has supported more than 17,000 clients from over 150 different countries.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Peter Gonzalez, President and CEO of the Welcoming Center. Their building, located near Chinatown, features a bright multipurpose space where they host events and programs. As we sat down near the window to talk, Peter’s sense of humor and contagious smile set a comforting tone. I could see why he was leading the Welcoming Center.

One of my first questions for Peter was getting at the heart of what inspired him to lead the Welcoming Center. Prior to assuming his role as President and CEO, he sat on the board of directors and practiced immigration law in Philadelphia. Several years ago, O’Callaghan stepped down as President/CEO and believed that Peter would be a perfect fit. Peter humbly shared that she saw something in him that he himself didn’t realize. He recalled thinking deeply about his own growth, but more importantly, the growth of the organization.

Facing numerous hurdles as he stepped into enhancing the Welcoming Center, Peter set out to strengthen an organization that plays a vital role in supporting the well-being and success of immigrants, concurrently improving the economic health of the Philadelphia region. Peter quickly realized that he would need the support of others to help him lead the Welcoming Center. He adapted the organizational structure to develop a leadership team that specialized in their individual areas and could also collaborate together. A bigger picture concern Peter faced was the lack of awareness of immigrant challenges to integration. 

To enhance the services the Welcoming Center provides, Peter and his team established numerous partnerships with local nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, government departments, and other entities. In 2016, in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia, they hosted the annual Welcoming Economic Global Network to share best practices in immigrant integration with other immigrant initiatives across the country. They also instituted a Participant Advisory Council that is made up of participants of the Center’s services that convene to provide feedback and insight back to the organization. The Participant Advisory Council has allowed the Center to target central challenges that immigrants face, strengthening the Center’s three core services in workforce development, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. 

Peter has also expanded the Welcoming Center’s efforts in gathering data and developing key metrics in measuring their services and impact. They have taken this informed approach to expand upon and refine their services, creating initiatives like the Immigrant Leadership Institute, International Professionals Program, and Immigrant Fellowship Program. 

In regards to what leadership qualities are most important, Peter says that “being open to new things and new perspectives” and “being in tune with helping others” are incredibly important in creating inclusive communities. Peter also recognizes that people lead in different ways, highlighting that empowering others to use their strengths can collectively improve the overall organization and the community.

To learn more about the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, visit their website at

Author Bio

Ryan Villanueva is currently assistant director of Integration and Community Engagement at International Student and Scholar Services of Penn Global at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a candidate for a Certificate in Nonprofit Administration at Penn’s Fels Institute of Government and an M.S.Ed. in Intercultural Communication at Penn’s Graduate School of Education. 

Photo Credit: Reverend Efrain Cotto


As an intern of Strengthening and Empowering Lives and Futures, Inc. (SELF), I recently had the opportunity of interviewing Quibila A. Divine, the Director of Programs at SELF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. SELF was founded nearly 30 years ago by Dr. Sylvester Outley. Their mission is to motivate, empower, and inspire individuals to live their best lives. Their initiatives helped establish Philadelphia's emergency housing system and programming for the homeless behaviorally challenged and substance-dependent populations. As the director of programs, Quibila works across multiple sites and with various partners to develop, implement, coordinate, and evaluate the agency's transformational goals for the homeless population served.

Q: What was the motivation that led you to want to join or lead SELF?

A: SELF’s mission comes from a position of compassion. Because of that, its caring for individuals who are homeless resonates with me. When I was in college, my grandfather told me, “Don't get so smart that you forget what you got smart to do.” I took that to mean that whatever education I get, I should come back and teach those less fortunate than me. And I did. I was born in North Philadelphia and I returned there after I finished my first degree. I started a nonprofit organization called the Educational Advocates Reaching Today's Hardworking Students, Inc. (EARTHS) to tutor children in my community who were not learning the way their teachers were teaching. I voluntarily tutored children two nights a week, two hours a day. As we (my sister, Sylvia P. Simms, and I) were tutoring the children, we saw that we also had to help their parents because when sending children home, many parents needed to understand how important it was to reinforce learning at home. I worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) as the director of the Governor’s Institute for Parent Involvement and with The School District of Philadelphia in the Office of Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. I helped parents and caregivers understand their roles and responsibilities to be actively engaged in their children's education. My sister started a group called PARENT POWER (What Will You Do With Yours?) to help the families. Together, we applied for a grant and got funded from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). Subsequently, I contracted as a homeless monitor -- I was the person who went to different school districts to determine whether they were doing what they needed to do to support homeless students and their families. After doing that for two years, I was invited to join the team at SELF.

Q: How is SELF different from organizations with similar goals?

A: The difference that distinguishes SELF from other nonprofits in Philly is its leadership. The President and COO at SELF, Michael Hinson, really gets it. He works hard on behalf of homeless individuals. His vision is that he, as a leader, creates more leaders. So, he does not limit the leadership within the agency. He creates opportunities for everyone to feel that they can also be a leader -- not only the team members but also the participants. We are doing some advocacy work to help participants understand that they have a voice and ensure that issues that are of importance to them get heard by elected and appointed officials. Under Mike's leadership, the SELF team really values receiving feedback from all participants within the program about the services that are provided to them…not only from our organization, but also from our funders, the City, and anyone else who is providing services to the homeless. We want to know how they feel and what we could do better and differently to improve their situation. 

Q: How and when will you know if you've achieved success?

A: I would know that I have achieved success when there is no more homelessness in Philadelphia. I guess I'm working to eventually eliminate the need for my job. 

Q: Why do you think SELF will achieve the impact you desire?

A: We have the right team, a very committed group, and individuals who understand that homelessness is temporary. Someone who is homeless today does mean that they lack the skill, knowledge, or experience needed to move forward and move permanently out of homeless. We strive to do whatever it takes to help make that happen with them.

Q: If you were to start over with the knowledge you have today, what would you do differently, and why?

A: If I had the knowledge that I have today, what I would do differently is to ensure that homeless parents are part of the education process (going back to when I was working in the school district). I want to make sure that parents understand the importance of education, so the cycle of poverty does not continue. If that was to happen back then perhaps, there would not be as many homeless families in Philly as we see today on the streets. 

Q: What is your relationship with your funders? How are you part or not part of a coalition of similar types of organizations?

A: SELF has a good relationship with the Office of Homeless Services, which provides the majority of its funding. In addition, they support the work we do, and we rely upon this organization in our work with Winter Initiatives and Code Days. Whenever the weather gets too cold or too hot, we bring in people from the streets into a temporary shelter. We ensure that our team members understand and follow the funders' guidelines. Our strength is that we maintain lower error rates and make sure that all the participants are taken care of with care and compassion. We have an outreach team that recruits participants and refers them to emergency housing. We service about 700 participants a day, we feed all participants three meals a day, seven days a week. We strive to make sure that if they do not have places to live in, they are provided with a bed to lay in and food to eat. 

Q: Has there been critical events in SELF that has caused your organization to shift the organization model or mission?

A: There have been some things that happened before Mike's leadership. There was some financial impropriety at SELF. However, since Mike has come on board, there has been an increase of about $3 million that is available to SELF. With this funding, we have expanded our programs. We have nine different sites in Philly, and we are slowly expanding the number of people we can actually house. Mike helps us see how things are not working out for the community we serve. As a result, he asks the questions, is it better to do x over y or how is that serving the participants? From that perspective, one would have to analyze and see that maybe, the current approach is not serving the participants. As a result, SELF has procured many changes in policies. We challenge the status quo and we also help the funders see how these changes are needed to improve the situation for the participants. 

Q: How do the different strategies of your organization come together to accomplish your mission?

A: As for strategies, we have several different positions here in the administration. We have a team meeting every other week of all the program managers. We also have a meeting with other homeless providers. We are a partner with the Urban Affairs Coalition, which has several different organizations, some of which service homeless people and have worked together to obtain funding because we serve the same population. Another strategy that we will implement more this year is to ensure that partners are servicing our participants with fidelity and being held accountable for outcomes that benefit our participants.  

Q: What are your most significant challenges? Why? What is your process for resolving them?

A: We are striving to service mentally ill participants who are not mandated to receive service. This limits our capacity to transition them out of homelessness. Some do not know the best they can be doing. As an agency, we can't mandate them to get treatment…even if they are in addiction. Though the services are out there to help them, we can't make them take advantage of them. The best thing we can do for a homeless person is to find them a permanent home and help them to understand the financial aspects of maintaining a home so that they do not transition back to homelessness. For more information access the SELF newsletter at

Author bio

Chuxuan Sun is a first-year Master of Public Administration candidate at the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government. She has developed a passion for environmental protection following her experience as an international volunteer in the Maldives during her undergraduate studies. Chuxuan has an interest in continuing her studies in environmental and educational policy.

Photo Credit: Results for Development

Results for Development (R4D) is a non-profit organization dedicated to linking research to action in health, nutrition, and education. It was founded in 2008 by the former vice president of the World Bank, David De Ferranti. While conceptualizing R4D, De Ferranti talked to an old colleague and good friend, Nicholas Burnett. He wanted Burnett to lead the education chapter of R4D, but it wasn’t until 2010 that Burnett decided to join the organization and take De Ferranti up on his offer. This leadership profile gives an overview of how Mr. Burnett successfully founded and led the education area of R4D, which focuses on education financing, early childhood development, skills & employability, and out-of-school children. 

When Mr. Burnett joined the organization in 2010, he was offered a six-month salary and was told that he would have to develop the education chapter from scratch. This gave him a lot of room for creativity but also a lot of responsibility. Before even starting to plan, he knew he would have to secure funding for the education sector. To do so, he initially relied on CEO De Ferranti to help make connections as well as leveraging his contacts to find funding opportunities that aligned with the work R4D was striving for. Within nine months, the education sector had secured enough funds to hire another person and they were able to decide the projects they wanted to undertake. 

Mr. Burnett had to make difficult choices in the beginning and prioritize what projects were to get done and which would have to wait. In the beginning, he said there were five areas that he wanted to focus on: out of school children, innovation in education, education financing, systems level change, and the link between secondary school and employment. He chose these topics based off of two criteria which he had set for himself: 1.) The importance of the area in the present context, and 2.) Areas that were neglected or not handled properly. He wanted to choose topics of relevance where they could make a difference. In this way, Mr. Burnett was very methodological and intentional in prioritizing projects for the education sector. 

In hiring his staff, he demonstrated the same characteristics. He not only chose people he felt would bring expertise but also work well as a team. His strategic use of interns as well as staff allowed for the education sector to grow while still securing funding. Nicholas approached hiring as a smart and driven individual who deeply understood the value of having the right, and bright, people who will help produce change. 

Leadership Style 

Mr. Burnett is truly a transformational leader, who intimately knows each staff member and intern who have worked under him. He puts an emphasis on building a team of young, passionate, and collaborative people who are committed to the mission of the organization. Since, most of the employees working for, and with him, were young, he would make sure that they were motivated and challenged in different ways. One way is through getting the employees into publishing research and presenting in international conferences that would help increase their personal visibility. Another way was by providing bonuses to show appreciation for their work, which he mentioned improved employee recognition within the organization. He would also make sure that his employees felt constantly challenged by giving them responsibilities slightly higher than what they think they could handle, just about to push them.

Mr. Burnett self identifies as a “pretty tough” leader but also believes in being “human” when it comes to leading people. He would always give his employees a chance to improve and support them in the process. His philosophy is based on fair leadership practices, not just for people who are part of R4D, but also for those who could not be part of it. He strongly believes that a lot of an institution’s reputation depends not on who you hire but on how you treat people whom you don’t hire. Hence, he encourages providing feedback to them so that they feel they were treated fairly, even though they were not provided with an offer. This explains how great of a leader Mr. Burnett is. Since he stepped in as education director at R4D, he has exemplified his passion for impacting education through his leadership style. Without the strength of his interpersonal skills, the organization might not have accomplished its important and viable goal of creating self-sustaining systems that support healthy, educated people around the world.

Linda Wayman has been a school leader in Philadelphia for 32 years, and a principal for 13 of those years. During that time, she found a pattern; the highest number of high school dropouts were consistently 9th graders. When a new set of 9th graders would enter high school, she began asking them a series of questions regarding 8th grade and whether they felt it set them up and prepared them to go to high school. The answer was a resounding no. A number of students felt like this was partly due to the fact that they were so used to being with the same children in the same school since pre-K. No one really took the time to sit down and talk to them about being scattered across the city once they enter high school, and the implications of that big change. They had to build so many new skills when moving schools -- around making friends, how to talk to a counselor, how to read a roster, etc., that they were overwhelmed. The students never learned critical skills to help them become self-advocates and navigate the complex systems and paths ahead of them. Linda knew then that when she formally left the school system, she wanted to start a nonprofit and fill that gap to address the dropout problem head-on. 

CurrentlyTrending’s first benchmark is to have their 24 students pass this year with the full five credits. Data says if they don’t move on to the 10th grade on time, chances are they’ll drop out of school. Their second benchmark is having these students graduate high school within four years. Those are the two main metrics they’re measuring their impact and success by.

CurrentlyTrending has been steadfast in their mission, adding to it but never taking anything away. They were selective and intentional in who they put on their board and who would work with the children. They knew they wanted to help children and knew no one would take them seriously and raise capital without being a 501(c)3 so they went about enlisting Morgan Lewis’s assistance and relied on external partners to help them overcome challenges in fields which they had no former expertise in. 

There are other organizations that are focused on the transition from middle school to high school but what makes CurrentlyTrending unique is that they have retired teachers and retired principals coaching their kids in the schools in real time. Having mentors who are intimately familiar with the inner workings of schools has helped them surmount barriers and allowed children’s needs to be assessed in the school during the day in ways that other organizations have been unable to. Additionally, CurrentlyTrending works with professionals to expose students to various career paths and partners with universities so they can leverage additional resources. A key feature to their Saturday meetings is circle time, where the students talk about one challenge and one accommodation present in their high schools. Most of the time, the students have nothing good to say about the school. The prevalent narrative is around violence and issues with teachers. They have had students straight up tell them they are not going back and want to drop out. CurrentlyTrending steps in and walks them through their issues so they can stay in high school and have a positive experience overall. 

Lessons that Linda Wayman has learned along the way include the necessity of prioritizing the grant writing and fundraising aspects of keeping her nonprofit going in a sustainable manner. Currently, they are obtaining all their funding from private donations, and they have partnered with Villanova University -- an institution she has a longstanding relationship with, to obtain small grants. Another major challenge CurrentlyTrending has run into, is working with a population of children who live in deep poverty without having the support of their parents. All of these kids want to be a part of the program, but the parents won’t sign the paperwork. “You can’t reach the parents, the work we had to do to get 33 students to bring back the slips was unbelievable. You can’t help the kids without their guardian’s consent.” Finally, a somber unexpected challenge CurrentlyTrending has discovered is that they “always talk to children about leaving the neighborhood and going to schools outside as a way of getting out and gaining better education opportunities.” What they’re finding from their students, however, is that they don’t feel welcome in these schools. They’re always reminded that these outside schools will just send them back to their neighborhood schools if they don’t want them to be there. That’s the reason why a lot of them wind up back in the neighborhood, they simply don’t feel welcome and accepted outside of it. They don’t feel like there are adults in the building they can go to and who truly understand them. That’s something CurrentlyTrending never thought would come out of this, but it has and it’s a reality that they have to face and learn to work with and around. 

Linda Wayman’s role model has always been politician Barbara Gordon, and just like her, she doesn’t intend on letting these challenges get in the way of triumphantly fighting for the underdogs in this country and helping actualize paths of success for the next generation. 

Author bio

Nikole Thomas is currently a policy analyst at Homebase, a nonprofit technical assistance provider dedicated to ending homelessness. Nikole graduated in the spring of 2019 with a Master of Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Ishoo

In Luke: 12:48, the Bible states, “To whom much is given, much is expected” (Holy Bible, 2010). These are words that Michael Hund, Chief Executive Officer of EB Research Partnership (EBRP), believes to be true. Anyone who has ever had the privilege of interacting with Michael is imbued with his charisma, intelligence, and genuinely kind-natured approach to leadership. Yet, his journey towards his current role at EBRP, an organization dedicated to funding research aimed at treating and ultimately curing Epidermolysis Bullossa (EB) -- a group of devastating and life-threatening skin disorders that affect children from birth -- has been culminated by a set of circumstances that led him to this point. In Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McCleod Grant’s book Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits (2012), we examine six characteristics that effective leaders are able to instill within their organization to create transcending change. Michael is fortunate enough to embody a majority of these traits and work at an organization that has a malleable culture.

As the grandson of an entrepreneur in the bottling industry, Michael’s grandfather met Paul Newman, Academy Award winning actor and philanthropist, and would always speak highly of Newman’s “The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp”. This camp was founded by Newman as a safe haven for children with different life-threatening illnesses and provides a different kind of healing for both campers and their caregivers. After many years at the camp, both in a program and development capacity, Michael transitioned to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation where he was able to understand a venture philanthropy model before attending the Yale School of Management to earn his MBA.

Michael feels strongly that nonprofits should play by the same rules as for-profit businesses and attributes much of his success to his business acumen. Without it, it is fair to assume that he would not be in his current role at EBRP which uses another kind venture philanthropy model by investing in companies and technologies that have potential curative therapies and treatments for EB. Through facilitating partnerships between academic institutions and for-profit companies, when EBRP makes a grant to a research project they retain the added upside of generating a recurring donation stream if the therapy or product is commercially successful and then using the revenue from that investment to fund additional EB research (, 2019). Some of the pros according to Michael are that the payoffs are big and that the revenue stream (which has made the organization sustainable) is one that many organizations are not privileged to have. However, some flaws are that the budget needs to be made without any venture revenue and that it is hard to predict the volatile markets.

Currently, Michael oversees a staff of three full-time and two part-time employees while reporting to a board of 33 members. Being a leader of servitude and understanding intrinsic motivations of others allows him to understand what his employees desire and enables them to dovetail personal and organizational goals. Being adamant about walking the walk, Michael has given his employees the unconventional opportunity to present to EBRP’s board. Feeling a constant need to sell his vision to board members, he feels that in order to drive the significant change he would like to see, the heavy lifting must be done outside of meetings and is up to both the board and staff members. Ensuring that EBRP’s mission is crystalized allows for tangible results.

Crutchfield and Grant (2012) believe that high-impact nonprofits subscribe to six ideologies: advocating and serving; making markets work; inspiring evangelists; nurturing nonprofit networks; mastering the art of adaptation; and sharing leadership. Although some of these attributes were part of EBRP’s culture before Michael assumed his role as Chief Executive Officer, a couple of them have been nurtured through his leadership. In order to advocate and serve effectively, Crutchfield and Grant (2012) note, “combine advocacy with programs on the ground, you gain even more traction against the problems you are trying to solve”(p.240). Likewise, in order to share leadership, one must “increase your impact by delegating real responsibility to your senior management team, second-in-command, board, and local site leaders. There will come a point when you cannot make all the decisions for the organization -- at that point, you can let go of power and empower others around you” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012, p. 243). Both of these practices have been implemented by Michael. Whether it be partnering with different institutions and universities in an effort to cure EB or allowing staff and board members to feel empowered and confident that their voices are being heard, he has added cultural characteristics that allow for EBRP to thrive in the unforeseeable future.

Michael Hund’s dynamic leadership would be categorized as a legislative leadership style. “Legislative leadership relies more upon persuasion, political currency, and shared interests to create the conditions for the right decisions to happen” (Collins, 2006, p.11). This combination of personal humility and professionalism will create legitimacy and influence others (Good to Great, p. 11). In Good to Great and the Social Sectors (2006), author Jim Collins describes a “Level5 Leader” as someone who possesses these dynamic legislative abilities. It’s hard to make a case that Michael is not one of these elite Level5 Leaders. However, I’m sure if someone were to bestow this title upon him, he’d graciously take the compliment and create an opportunity to give credit to those he feels privileged to serve.

Author bio

Kyle A. Smith is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Crescent Foundation. A proud home-grown Philadelphia native, his ability to bring people together for greater causes has allowed him to maximize donor capacity for various nonprofits. Working closely with both patient and provider stakeholders of the sickle cell community, it is Kyle’s hope to create purposeful alignment in the strategic care for those surviving this devastating disease. As an emerging leader in the nonprofit sector, his ability to listen and quickly prioritize has created solutions and opportunities to resolve daily challenges organizations face.

Dedicating his life to working with those battling various life-threatening illnesses, Kyle has been part of numerous initiatives including serving as co-founder and CEO for Crescent Foundation and as speaker for the Congressional Staff Roundtable on Sickle Cell Disease. 

Kyle received a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 2011, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019.

Works Cited

Collins, James C. Good to Great and the Social Sectors: a Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. Collins Business, 2006.

Crutchfield, Leslie R., and Heather McLeod Grant. Forces for Good: the Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits. Jossey-Bass, 2012.

“EB Research Partnership.” EB Research Partnership,

Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments: King James Version. American Bible Society, 2010.


Since 2002, Bill Teichmiller has served as the CEO of EJ Water Cooperative Inc. (EJ). During his tenure, EJ has grown from a very small water utility serving fewer than 1,000 customers to one that serves more than 18,000 homes, businesses, and farms in South Central Illinois.  Bill is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and has lived most of his life in rural Illinois. Early in his career he worked in business and brought this perspective to his leadership at EJ as CEO. 

In order to get to know Bill better, I decided to make a trip to Illinois. I was not required to do this for my work or for any other course, I just wanted to see what makes him tick and drives his success. In large part, the answer is Bill Teichmiller. There are several things about Bill that I think make him a Level 5 leader. When I first ran across EJ and began to learn about it, I thought that the reason for its’ success had a lot to do with its status as a non-profit water cooperative with a cost of capital advantage. Yet, as I looked more and more into the details surrounding the success of EJ, I came to believe that most of its’ success has to do with the leadership at EJ.

The first thing about Bill is his energy. It is abundant and very positive. He’s very talkative but is not the kind of person who seems to just like to listen to himself talk and pontificate. He likes to dig into the details of things, and he often says that what gets him most excited is when the people that are served by EJ are delighted with the service that they receive. His energy is infectious and can be felt palpably when you walk into the offices of EJ. Bill designed these offices. It’s an open space, but there are a lot of glass partitions. There are really no walls for anybody to hide behind. His office is literally a fishbowl in the middle of the floor plan. Right outside of his office is another fishbowl, the conference room, and people are constantly streaming in and out to check in and seemingly just to feed off his energy. His energy is also spread to others in the industry. He frequently speaks at conferences and is a leader in several industry associations. Granted, his positions in these associations do give him the luxury to travel to conferences and speak and receive accolades, but it seems like he does it more just to spread the good news about how cooperatives can bind together as communities to create regional systems that really work well for people. So, his energy seems other-focused and not just about self-aggrandizement. I’d say he’s humble, in that regard. 

The second thing about Bill that I noticed is that he likes to have fun. He talks about it a lot and it’s kind of an ethic at EJ. The people are excited about the mission of providing good drinking water and healthy wastewater systems, but they seem to enjoy each other and want to have fun achieving the organizational mission. This philosophy has been very intentionally cultivated by Bill. Part of it is kind of a Midwestern thing. People there are pretty happy in these towns like Dieterich, where the economy functions well. This area of southern Illinois is a little sleepy, but it’s not depressed in any way. Bill says that he expects people to work hard, but he also wants to celebrate frequently when good things occur. When I was out there visiting, I was fortunate to attend a local Rotary conference where Bill had been asked to speak along with other local leaders about what it takes to achieve success. Having fun was one of the big themes of his presentation.

Another theme in his presentation was innovation. He emphasized a willingness to try things and accept failure and learn from it. He encourages people in his organization to look for new and better ways to do things, introduce them, and execute them to find out if they will work. He believes in constant innovation, and he’s always looking to evolve his organization. There’s no standing still and being happy with things just the way they are. There’s no complacency even though he could just sit back and be quite comfortable as one of the best paid people in town with a very stable and reliable income and a lot of job security. But that’s not the way Bill is wired. He uses his security as freedom to innovate and seek new horizons. The latest thing is that he wants to be a leader nationally in helping to lead the way in how to create more efficient and affordable water systems. It’s not clear what’s motivating him to do this, but I think it’s just a drive that he has within him. Maybe it’s that indomitable will thing that Jim Collins talks about. 

It was my great pleasure and privilege to meet and interview Bill. He’s a nonprofit leader that I admire and expect we will all be hearing more from. 

Author bio

William Senft is a nonprofit entrepreneur in the water industry. He brings his background as an attorney, CPA, and mediator to solving the problems of smaller rural water systems in the U.S. He is author of Being Relational, Seven Ways to Quality Interaction and Lasting Change and serves as the executive director of EJ Water Trust. William can be reached on Twitter @ejwatertrust.


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