Through Invest in Incredible, Gulf Coast has partnered with an exceptional group of professional consultants to make their services available to our nonprofit partners at a reduced cost. Our consultants have a range of expertise in nonprofit and for-profit settings, and they are committed to strengthening our region’s nonprofit community one organization at a time. Every month, we feature one of our I3 consultants on the Gulf Coast news blog, so you can get to know them better.
5 Questions for Nathalie DeWolf
How did you find your passion for your area(s) of expertise?
You could say it was destiny! I fell into strategy consultancy as my first job when I graduated from college and began working for Booz Allen Hamilton. Within that first year, it became clear to me that this career choice had pinpointed my innate passion for strategy.
I am a problem-solver at heart. From simply buying a car, to guiding my sons’ school choices, to helping businesses and agencies achieve their ends, it always comes down to taking a strategic approach and to developing innovative solutions. In other words, I consider it vital to analyze the problem, perform additional research, pinpoint what matters, and then streamline all operations and marketing efforts accordingly.
As such, I have developed my expertise in all of these areas. Essentially, I am passionate about helping people to figure things out. Believe it or not, I love it when I am approached with problems. I am thrilled by the challenge, thrilled by the process of resolving the problem, and especially thrilled to know that what I have worked on has made a difference to a person, an organization, or a community.
What is your consulting style?
Structured, analytical, collaborative, and cost-effective. I make sure that everything is clear from the outset, so that teams and collaborations are on the same page and do not work at cross purposes. I lay out the most effective way to achieve the desired results of the assignment.
Sometimes clients don’t quite know what they want at the outset, so I help them figure that out before we start. Also, money—especially in the nonprofit world—is usually tight. So I offer options that would minimize the need for longer consulting hours by engaging clients more fully in the process. The challenge with consulting in the nonprofit arena is fully resolving issues and doing it realistically without adding financial stress.
What is your favorite thing about being part of Invest in Incredible?
I love being part of an initiative that takes an innovative approach to strengthening nonprofit organizations in our area. Since its inception, it has been constantly evolving to meet the needs of local agencies, by really seeking to understand the challenges they face and to help them to overcome these.
By covering a portion of consultant costs and negotiating very reasonable local consultant rates, Gulf Coast Community Foundation brings capabilities that are typically only afforded to large organizations within the reach of every nonprofit in our community. I have seen firsthand the benefit it brings to the agencies and to our community as a whole.
What is your favorite success story from a local nonprofit?
My favorite success story actually comes from working with several nonprofits at once. In an assignment that spanned more than a year, I facilitated a collaborative initiative led by Gulf Coast to tackle the problem of homeless families in our community. I was privileged to work on an assignment with an amazing group of people from these agencies and to contribute to the resolution of some deep-seated problems.
Up until that time, like many communities, Sarasota was not sure exactly how many families needed help, what type of help they needed, and what supports would enable them to become truly self-sufficient. The homeless social-services landscape was a confusing one—for the homeless as well as for the agencies that served them. By coming together and creating the Family Haven Alliance, the agencies in the Alliance were able to develop a clear and streamlined system that made it easier and more effective for families to go from homeless to home and for agencies to pool and maximize their resources to achieve this.
A well-known national homelessness consultant gave the initiative an A+ grade. I am also told that the work of the Alliance has been cited as an example of a successful community model for addressing family homelessness that could be replicated in other communities across the U.S.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love being a crew mom! Rowing is a fabulous sport. Watching and supporting the dedication of each child in this field is wonderful. I particularly love attending the regattas to watch the synchronicity of the beautiful boats in motion, knowing the hours of pain and perseverance that have gone into making these memorable medal-winning moments. The sprint races are simply exhilarating. They are a constant reminder that in doing daily what is ordinary, one becomes extraordinary.
To learn more about the resources available through Invest in Incredible, including consulting engagements with expert professionals like Nathalie DeWolf, go here.