July 28, 2021

This is the third and final episode of Talent Matters Remix, our special summer series in partnership with ProInspire, co-hosted by Monisha Kapila and Rusty Stahl.

In this episode, Monisha and Rusty talk with Michele Booth Cole, Executive Director of Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center, about why and how to build nonprofit organizational culture that supports and develops employees. Michele reflects on her article, “A Culture of Care, Without Compromise,” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) Talent Matters blog series. She discusses how her experience and thinking has evolved since the piece was published in April 2015.

We also discuss Michele’s 25-year journey as a Black woman executive director in the nonprofit sector, including her years as a volunteer in different organizations, her first experience as an E.D. with Mentors, Inc., and finally her work with Safe Shores — The DC Children’s Advocacy Center.

Other topics discussed:

  • How to lead nonprofits with a sense of abundance, accountability, and fearlessness.
  • The importance of feedback, and learning to hear people, see people, and invest in people who are aligned with the values of our organizations.
  • How to deal with systemic racism and biases as a Black woman leader.
  • A message to funders on racial equity and justice.
  • Policies, rituals, and traditions created and led with and by Safe Shores staff to forge a culture of care.

Resource Links:

Guest Bio:

Michele Booth Cole has served as the executive director of Safe Shores–The D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center since June 2003. Safe Shores is a 501(c)(3) social justice organization that implements the nationally replicated child advocacy center (CAC) model. This model was created to minimize trauma for child victims involved in investigations of child sexual and physical abuse by coordinating the efforts of a multidisciplinary team comprised of professionals in law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, medicine and mental health. Foundations, government, and media have recognized Michele for her nonprofit servant-leadership and exceptional work on the issue of child abuse. She is the recipient of the 2016 “Public Safety” award from the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy & Initiatives, a 2016 “Women Who Mean Business” award from the Washington Business Journal, the Meyer’s Foundation’s Julie L. Rogers Sabbatical Program grant in 2016, a 2013 “EXCEL” award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, a 2009 “Washingtonian of the Year” honor from WASHINGTONIAN magazine, a 2007 “Exponent Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership” from the Meyer Foundation, and a 2007 “Commissioner’s Award” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Through Michele’s leadership, Safe Shores was selected as a recipient of a 2020 Nonprofit Village Impact Award, one of the region’s “Best Places to Work” by the Washington Business Journal in 2016, and has been selected for inclusion in the Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington DC (cfp-dc.org) five times since 2003. A graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe College, Georgetown University Law Center, Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, and Leadership Greater Washington, Michele’s most treasured role is as the mother of her three fierce and fabulous daughters.



The Talent Matters Remix, has been released throughout July 2021, revisiting Talent Matters, a 2014-15 series of essays on the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) blog. These special episodes are co-hosted by Monisha Kapila, Founder and Co-CEO of ProInspire (who helped curate the SSIR series), and Fund the People’s Rusty Stahl. These conversations feature some of the amazing authors from the Talent Matters blog series.

A lot has changed in our society in the seven years since 2014, when the blog series began. We’ve had seismic changes in our politics, economy, society, and the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. It was a pleasure to revisit, reflect, and remix it through this series!

Special thanks to Monisha Kapila and the ProInspire team for this awesome opportunity to team-up and talk together about investing in nonprofit talent

Thanks to our guests —

    • Trish Tchume of Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
    • Stephen Bauer from Public Allies
    • Michele Booth Cole at Safe Shores – the DC Children’s Advocacy Center.

Thanks to Stanford Social Innovation Review for publishing the Talent Matters blog series that inspired these episodes. To read the series, go to ssir.org/talent_matters

Thanks to our team here at Fund the People, who worked extra hard on this series:

    • Show producer Vanessa Viglietta, without whom this show would not exist
    • Juan Manuel Acosta is our sound editor 
    • Carla Paez is our copy editor
    • Melissa O’Connor-Arena is our graphic designer


Fund The People is taking a podcasting vacation during August 2021, and we will be back in September with new episodes for the second ½ of Season 2 of the show, as we continue to explore the meaning and practice of talent-investing. We’ve got some great guests lined-up, including Roger Nozaki, Vice President at the Barr Foundation in Boston, Linda Nguyen, founder of the exciting new group Movement Talent, and much, much more.  

Have a safe and relaxing August, and we will be back with more fabulous Fund the People conversation this fall!

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