David Simms Founder & CEO Talanton – What the Harvard Business School DID NOT teach him about Nonprofit Leadership

“You’re always looking to hire people that are better than yourself.” -David Simms

Our guest today is David Simms, the CEO and Founder of Talanton.  When you interview David Simms, you can go in a lot of different directions.  We could ask him about his year as a White House Fellow working as a Specialist Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State.  Or we could ask him about work/life balance and how he juggles a very busy schedule with being a husband, a parent of adult children, and a small group leader at his local church.

However, I want to leave those topics for another discussion because today we want to explore the curious intersection of faith, passion for the underserved, career, and economics in David’s life.

In this episode, I ask David what drew him to the nonprofit world, what lessons he’s learned from his decades of experience as a board member, and what lessons he would share with the next generation.

Please be sure to share this podcast with the nonprofit board members and young entrepreneurs you know.  The advice David gives for these groups can accelerate their passion and drive to be better nonprofit leaders.

I hope you enjoy this very insightful conversation with David!  

“Now the obvious question for us is, ‘Where do we go from here? What’s His plan, not our plan?'” -David Simms

Show Notes

[1:06] – An introduction to our guest, David Simms.

[1:55] – Tommy tells us when he first met David.

[2:43] – David shares the “short story” of what drew him to the nonprofit world.

[3:52] – We learn what David found challenging as CEO of the American Red Cross Washington/Baltimore Blood Services Region. 

[5:58] – Teams at the American Red Cross, in David’s experience.

[8:07] – David shares what he believes is his greatest lesson learned from the private sector.

[10:23] – We learn about David’s first board experience.

[12:56] – After 35 years, what keeps David going as a board person? 

[14:14] – The words and phrases that come to mind when David thinks about what makes a board a good board.

[16:20] – This is the advice that stung David the hardest.

[18:37] – What is the best thing that a board can do to help get a new CEO started on the right foot?

[20:50] – David identifies the questions his current board asks themselves about the future.

[23:05] – David reflects on one of the questions his board asks themselves, “Who else can they partner with?”

[24:23] – Tommy has David share some lessons we can learn from examples of board responsibility and poor corporate leadership.

[27:03] – David explains his tagline “Creating jobs and bringing hope via faith-driven investing.”

[29:51] – Continuing education has made a huge impact on David’s life and David speaks on the educational options that are available today.

[32:03] – What the Harvard Business School DID NOT teach David about nonprofit leadership.

[33:50] – Advice for young entrepreneurs who have it in their blood to create an impactful startup.

[34:45] – We listen to a story about David’s advice to young entrepreneurs that benefited him. 

“Education is not a destination, it’s a journey.” -David Simms

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters – Website

Follow David Simms on LinkedIn

Talanton – Website


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