Deborah Dale Brackney

Deborah Dale Brackney has been with Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC) since 1988. Before the Council, she worked in public policy on legislative analysis and assisted state legislatures on drafting new statutes. She also worked on training development and design for state and federal agencies, as well as for judicial organizations. Contact her at

Employee feedback: the gift that keeps on giving

It happened again. The phone rang a few weeks ago on a Friday afternoon at 4:30. It was an Executive Director who was at her limit with an employee who had worked at the organization for more than two decades. The caller

Why employees leave: Retention strategies for nonprofits

I recently heard a story about an employee who received a very enthusiastic call from a headhunter trying to recruit him for a job. The employee said he wasn’t looking to leave the organization, to which the headhunter replied, “You are on my list of

Is pay for performance right for your organization?

Today’s nonprofits face several challenges that are forcing them to operate more and more like their business counterparts. Competition for dollars in a skeptical post-9/11 world, coupled with demands for accountability, has caused nonprofits to reevaluate the way they

Create happiness in your organization through failure, change and culture

Meet with funders, manage staff, create strong, connected relationships with board members and now you want me to embrace happiness at work? Yes, because we have it backwards. According to Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work,” happiness

The man, the museum and the dream

There is chatter suggesting what leaders do to lead nonprofits is different than what they do to lead for-profit organizations. According to George Sparks, the CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the only difference is profit-focused organizations have shareholders and nonprofits have volunteers

Power shared becomes power returned

It’s four o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon. The school dismissal bell rings and most students leave for the day. One classroom fills with middle school students. These students walk to desks, pull out academic materials and quietly begin to work on

Successful nonprofit leadership: The starts, the risks and the failures

The walls at Seniors’ Resource Center (SRC) are lined with beautiful photographs of people they have helped, which can be shared with generations of family members. These pictures tell of lives filled with joy, struggle and stories. Telling the story of these seniors is what the CEO for almost 30 years, John Zabawa, believes is the

The greener grass in front of me

New studies by the Hay Group and the Corporate Leadership Council suggest that employees are getting frustrated with their current employers. Employees feel overworked, underpaid and undervalued. As a result, as many as six in 10 employees are looking to exit, according to the Hay Group. Some 85 percent of

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