The National Leadership Institute: An Award-winning Producer’s Desire to Give Back

Countless nonprofits are born from a sincere, passionate desire to benefit and serve others. Yet, this is not a sufficient way to function as an effective, efficient and sustainable nonprofit. A successful organization demands and obligates leadership, governance, and strategy. Based in Boca Raton, Florida, the National Leadership Institute is committed, dedicated and emboldened to supporting, strengthening and fortifying nonprofits. It advocates, encourages and urges organizations to operate like traditional businesses and accomplish stated goals.

Joining the Movement

The Chairman and Founder of the National Leadership Institute, Gerry Czarnecki, appointed Raelyn Barlow as President and CEO in 2015, after working with her in the television industry. She produced and wrote national television and video programs from conception to completion. Her portfolio ranged from Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act and The SUZANNE Show to diverse corporate video projects and charitable fundraising awareness videos to live national sports and musical events.

As Co-Creator and Executive Producer of The Lemonade Stand, a nationally syndicated children’s educational program, airing in 20-plus top markets; Barlow assisted in fundraising a multimillion-dollar campaign and managed production from conception to budgeting, producing, filming, syndicating and marketing. To complement the program’s educational mission, she co-founded and managed The Financial Fundamentals Foundation, a nonprofit advancing the educational messages of the television show via complimentary curriculum available to elementary schools.

Czarnecki understood Barlow’s experience and skills as an award-winning producer and writer in television and video would translate to managing and marketing a nonprofit organization.

Repositioning with the Jim Moran Institute

Charged with repositioning the National Leadership Institute’s services in South Florida, Barlow realized the project needed help. She applied and was accepted into the Jim Moran Institute’s Nonprofit Executive Program (NPEP), a world-class learning experience teaching nonprofit organization leaders the methodologies, principles and best practices to capitalize on business opportunities and turn challenges into strategic advantages.

“The Jim Moran Institute had a great reputation, and the only program I found where individuals devote work to their own organization’s issues during class,” said Barlow. “Everything I learned directly applied to specific situations the National Leadership Institute experienced.”

For example, just as Barlow began the NPEP, the National Leadership Institute received a grant from the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy to continue its core mission of supporting nonprofit education and training. During each NPEP class, Barlow received direction, guidance, and instruction to create a strategic plan identifying deliverables to satisfy grant requirements.

“I learned valuable and timely information in the NPEP, applicable still today,” said Barlow, who graduated from the NPEP in spring 2017. “Implementing the guidance and advice to craft an overall, cost-effective strategy and apply a tactical plan to the grant was advantageous.”

Since participating in the NPEP, Barlow acknowledges a direct increase in the attendance of National Leadership Institute events. She credits the marketing strategies learned and connections made with peers during the NPEP.

“The support from NPEP classmates at events has been outstanding,” said Barlow. “Building bonds with peers last beyond the program.”

Providing Insights Peer2Peer

Barlow joined the Jim Moran Institute’s Peer2Peer program in South Florida. Exclusive to established business owners and nonprofit leaders, the Peer2Peer group provides different avenues to share insights affecting challengeable situations, topical issues, and strategic solutions to problems.

Think Strategically, Achieve Excellence

To achieve excellence, best practices encouraged in the private business sector have an equally powerful application in the nonprofit environment. By providing streamlined, goal-oriented strategies to its organizations, the National Leadership Institute delivers a stronger impact on the communities served by working smarter, not harder.