March 22nd, 2016

Tony Cancelosi is an unusual leader in the non-profit field. He made – what some might consider – a huge leap from corporate to entrepreneurial to nonprofit worlds, all with tremendous success. As it turns out there are many similarities in leading these different types of organizations including the importance of financial management, being clear about the organization’s mission and goals, building the organization’s and leader’s reputation in the community and listening and empowering staff. Tony’s recommended “leadership” book may surprise some at first glance since it’s now one of his little granddaughter’s favorites as well. Listen to this episode (or see the show notes) for the name of the book and other tools, tips and resources from Tony Cancelosi, the President and CEO of the Columbia Lighthouse for the blind.

What You’ll Learn

  • The differences and similarities of leading a commercial vs. a non profit organization
  • Importance of financial and business focus in non profits
  • Why listening, humility and empowering others is important as a leader
  • Focusing on your market as a non profit just as if you were a business
  • Building your reputation in the community and ways to achieve that

Links & Resources

About Tony Cancelosi 

Tony Cancelosi, K.M. was appointed president and CEO of Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB) in September 2005. Under his leadership, CLB is refocusing its priorities to better serve the needs of the residents living in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia who are blind or visually impaired. To accomplish this goal, Mr. Cancelosi is expanding CLB’s strategic partnerships within the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and forging alliances with other blindness and disability organizations, both regionally and nationally. Mr. Cancelosi represents CLB on the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board and the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board. As CLB increases the depth and outreach of its local programs, Mr. Cancelosi is working to identify and cultivate new sources of private and government funding, reduce administrative expenses, and bring an increased level of fiscal accountability to the organization.

Prior to joining the nonprofit organization, he was President of ICL, an international software company, and the CEO of several for-profit technology companies including iBrite, Inc., eStara, and Source Digital. He also served as COO for Kee Systems (now Sylvan Learning). Early in his career, Mr. Cancelosi worked in sales for Control Data Corporation. His nonprofit experience includes involvement with the International Center for the Disabled, National Kidney Foundation, and the Special Olympics. He is the former chairman of ServiceSource and is now a trustee of the ServiceSource foundation.

In addition to serving on CLB’s Board of Directors, Mr. Cancelosi serves on the boards of directors of the DC Police Foundation, Providence Health Foundation, and VISTA Technology Services, Inc. and is president emeritus of the Association for Corporate Growth. He is a member of the Wharton Club, Leadership of Greater Washington Class of 2007, the Potomac Officers Club, and the Rotary Club. Recently, Mr. Cancelosi became a Knight of Malta as well as graduated from the FBI’s Citizen’s Academy. Mr. Cancelosi remains a partner at Human Capital Advisors.

In 2010, Mr. Cancelosi wrote a book called Santa’s Secret, and all book sales benefit Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. Mr. Cancelosi completed the Executive Finance Program at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia and received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from St. Joseph’s University, also in Philadelphia.


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  1. Matt Scassero comment:

    These podcasts are a good resource to see how different people approach their unique situations from different perspectives, what they think about, who or what influenced them, but most of all – what are they doing with it all, how are they making a difference. Margarita asks hard, probing questions that make you think “how would I answer that?” In only the first few episodes you already see some common threads, but those threads are all being woven differently to create vastly different views on how to make an impact. I am looking forward to seeing who else will share their stories! Thanks for doing this, Margarita.

  2. margarita comment:

    Thanks, Matt! So glad you’re enjoying them!

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