Hello, I’m Paula MacLean,

I have had the honour of working in and alongside the non-profit sector in Canada for almost four decades.  That may make me sound old, but really I’m just super-experienced and (others will tell you) pretty good at knowing the stuff that leaders need to do and be to succeed in their non-profit roles.

By leaders, I mean both paid staff (with job titles like supervisor, manager, director and executive director) and volunteers who serve on non-profit boards of directors.

I came to this work of non-profit leadership quite accidentally – this I discovered is quite common in our sector. A program director invited me to lunch and offered me a job as assistant program director. I thought, “That sounds kind of cool”, so I quit my secure government job (with a pension I now wish I had) and knowing nothing about non-profits or what an assistant director would do.

Or sure, I had an undergraduate degree (with honours) from an excellent university, but in all those years in university, I had not taken a single course in leadership, management, human resources, finance or anything else remotely related to what I was about to do.

Well, that job worked out really well, and lead to a promotion to another leadership job … that also worked out really well.

And then, I became a very young executive director of a fledgling, struggling, small, new non-profit. That’s right, at the ripe age of 26, I was running an agency. By then, I knew a bit about leading people but nothing about board governance, financial management, strategic planning or pretty much anything else that I should have known to get the job.

I hunkered down, found some great experienced leaders who became my mentors and over the next decade (plus more book learning in graduate school) I managed to figure out most of the really cool things that it takes to become an excellent nonprofit leader.

I started my own consulting and training business in 1992. I have had the most satisfying and joyous time traveling the country teaching workshops to thousands of leaders and facilitating hundreds and hundreds of meetings and planning sessions.

Jump ahead a few more years … my brain got kind of full, so I decided to write some of the things I had learned down … over about 15 years, which filled 6 books and a couple thousand pages. Look for them on this website!

And a few years after all that writing was done I decided to start teaching online video courses. Making this happen was a huge learning curve, but it has been an amazing adventure.  I have never done anything more difficult than to teach in a room, by myself, staring at a video camera. There’s more information on the courses also on this website. 

You can be the judge of how pertinent these training videos are. I have FREE videos to give away to you-all you have to do is click the appropriate link below and they will be sent to you. Fair disclosure, I make my living teaching and coaching, so these free videos are test-drives that lead up to a paid course that will further your learning.

That’s about all folks.  If you need to email with questions or challenges, please go to the “Contact Us” page. I’ll get right back to you!