August 11th, 2016

“It’s never about you as a leader, it’s always about the organization and the impact” – Nicky Goren

“Do I stay in my comfort zone and enjoy the expertise I created or walk through a new door where I don’t know anything?” is a question Nicky Goren frequently asks herself… and then walks right through the new door. She has consistently left jobs she loved and bosses who nurtured and mentored her in pursuit of new opportunities to make an even bigger difference. As the fearless leader of the Meyer Foundation Nicky is committed to transforming conversations (and mindsets) around some of the most complex and potentially controversial issues – from race to the future of philanthropy! 

What You’ll Learn:

  • How Nicky’s multi-cultural, cross-continental upbringing helped make her the amazing leader she is today
  • Fun intercultural quirks Nicky and I share (although she’s not the one who hasn’t seen Star Wars)
  • How advice from an early mentor – selecting three criteria to choose a job – has guided her career path. Nicky’s three have been: Be passionate about the job, enjoy people you work with and be challenged every day
  • The tremendous impact of caring mentors in her life and her commitment to do the same for others
  • How Nicky is overcoming her struggle to be consistently confident in her voice
  • How focus on Collective Impact automatically focuses non-profits on stronger outcomes and leads to social change
  • Why it’s necessary to bring different, and perhaps untraditional, stakeholders to conversations to tackle issues systemically
  • How the Meyer Foundation is facilitating a conversation about race, ethnicity and why it matters so much 

Links & Resources

About Nicky Goren

Nicky Goren is president and CEO of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, which pursues and invests in solutions to build an equitable Greater Washington community in which people who are economically vulnerable thrive.

Founded in 1944, the Meyer Foundation is a leading supporter of local nonprofit organizations serving the DC region. Each year, the Foundation provides grants totaling more than $7 million to more than 150 organizations working in the interconnected areas of affordable housing, education and workforce development, and financial security. In addition to funding, the Foundation works to build the capacity of partner organizations, serves as a convener and advocate on critical issues, and promotes cross-sector collective action to advance solutions to community challenges.

Before being selected to lead the Meyer Foundation in 2014, Nicky served for four years as president of Washington Area Women’s Foundation, which focuses on increasing the economic security of women and girls in the DC region.

Prior to joining Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Nicky spent 12 years in senior positions at the Corporation for National and Community Service—the nation’s largest grantmaker supporting service and volunteering. She served as chief of staff from 2006 to 2008 and as acting CEO from 2008 to 2010, overseeing a federal government agency with a staff of 600 and a budget of $1.1 billion.

A graduate of Brandeis University and Cornell Law School, Nicky began her career as assistant general counsel in the Congressional Budget Office, and then served as counsel at the newly established Office of Compliance of the U.S. Congress. She currently serves on the Raise DC Leadership Council; on the boards of the American Association of State Service Commissions, District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP), Federal City Council, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Trinity Washington University, and Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers; and is a member of Leadership Greater Washington’s Class of 2013.

Nicky lives in the District with her husband and two sons.


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