Danny Herron – He Thought He Wanted to be a Dentist – How He Became a Nonprofit CEO – Part 1

“Our donors…want not a monetary return, they want a social return on their investment.” -Danny Herron

Welcome to the Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership With Tommy Thomas podcast.  Our guest today is Danny Herron.

Danny is the President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville, where he has served with distinction since 2010. 

When you talk with Danny, the conversation could go in a lot of directions. We could talk about his early years coming out of the University of Alabama with a degree in Civil Engineering.  We could explore his career in banking where he served as the President and CEO of Cumberland Bank and then Regional President of Green Bank. We could even talk about his 2020 selection by the Nashville Business Journal as one of Nashville’s most admired CEOs. 

And we may touch on some of those areas today, but our primary focus will be on what he has learned about nonprofit leadership over the past 12 years.

Thanks again for joining us today.  If you’re listening to an app that lets you leave a review, please do so. A lot of our listeners come to us on the recommendation of a friend or a colleague. If you’ve heard something today that’s worth passing on, please share the show with others. 


“Our donors are expecting me to be responsible as a good steward of their money, meaning they want me to work hard and get a return on their investment, but they don’t want that capital and investment at risk without being properly managed.” -Danny Herron

Show Notes

[2:07] – We’re introduced to our guest, Danny Herron.

[4:05] – Danny shares some of the experiences that he had over his storied career that have shaped who he is today.

[6:57] – We learn about Danny’s mentors.

[9:15] – Danny reveals the lessons he learned from his father and how striving for win/win relationships was how it had to be. 

[10:55] – These are some of the risks Danny has taken over his career.

[13:02] – Do nonprofit boards talk enough about risk? Danny gives us his insight.

[15:34] – The pitfalls of a board member “falling in love with the CEO.”

[17:15] – Danny believes it’s ok for a board member to challenge the CEO.  Here’s why. 

[18:45] – Danny compares and contrasts for-profit and nonprofit boards.

[21:11] – We hear Danny discuss his thoughts on for-profit boards in more detail.

[23:29] – What kind of self-evaluation process does Danny’s board do?

[24:58] – These are the types of questions Danny’s board asks itself today.

[27:29] – Tommy wraps up the conversation.

“Engineering teaches you how to take big problems and break them into little problems. And whether I’ve been in banking or nonprofit, that engineering background has always served me very well.” -Danny Herron

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters – Website

Habitat Nashville


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