Fundraising,Leadership Published Date, 2020

[WEBINAR] Executive Perspectives: Navigating The Philanthropic Landscape As A New Leader

Change is constant – and leading through change gracefully can seem impossible at times. With so much uncertainty and change happening in the world right now, it is hard to not feel overwhelmed. So how do leaders, especially those that are new to their roles, navigate this shifting landscape and lead the process of change?

In this webinar, our panel of nonprofit executives share their perspectives on the challenges presented by a change in leadership as well as discuss the economic and social impact on their organizations and how it is affecting fundraising and programming.


Sean Kramer
Chief Executive Officer
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Sean Kramer, MBA, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. He brings to the DRIF more than two decades of proven fundraising success and a track record in achieving outstanding results for capital campaigns and other major development initiatives.

Kramer has been a prominent fundraising leader for some of the most respected and highly recognized nonprofit organizations, particularly in the health area. He most recently was senior vice president and chief development officer for Parkinson’s Foundation’s Miami and New York offices, where he directed a nationwide development team and increased revenue almost 60% in two years.

Previously, as assistant vice president for Baptist Health South Florida, he led the major philanthropic efforts that established the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute and Miami Cancer Institute, surpassing the campaign goal by 55%.

With deep roots in South Florida, Kramer has also held executive management and fundraising roles at American Cancer Society, Barry University, Florida International University, and American Red Cross. While he has focused his career in the nonprofit sector, he spent time in the for-profit sector at Palm Beach life insurance firm Jones Lowry, where he developed new business relationships with ultra-high net worth individuals.

Kramer received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida International University and a master’s degree in business administration with high honors from the University of Miami.

Gary Z. Linnen
Chief Executive Officer

Gary Z. Linnen is the CEO of PeerForward following its original co-founders. Mr. Linnen has steered PeerForward’s programs for more than a decade, cultivating deep experience in youth development, program innovation, and organizational leadership. He has contributed to virtually every function of the organization, from designing and facilitating workshops for educators and students to fostering school, community, and funder partnerships and engaging program alumni. Mr. Linnen shaped PeerForward’s current model, which elevates PeerForward’s unique method of structuring and leveraging peer influence to achieve meaningful schoolwide outcomes. Independent research has found that the model has proven to result in up to 26% higher financial aid applications in partner schools than in similar schools without the program. His lifetime commitment to creating pathways to higher education for students in under-resourced communities also drives his participation as a member of the governing board of the New York City Public Schools.

Before PeerForward, Mr. Linnen served as a director of tutoring and K-12 operations for The Princeton Review. Mr. Linnen has a bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University and is the first in his family to graduate from a higher education institution.

Stephen K. Orr
Co-founder and Managing Partner
Orr Group

As co-founder and Managing Partner of Orr Group, Steve has facilitated the growth and evolution of the firm to its current position as a national leader in the nonprofit consulting sector.

Drawing on his investment banking and finance background, Steve brings a problem-solving approach, a focus on metrics, and an outcomes-driven perspective to the nonprofit sector. He is an expert fundraiser and enjoys sharing strategies and creating value with donors and partners, particularly with complex estate and planned gift opportunities. Steve is committed to enhancing philanthropy using innovative technologies and approaches developed in the business world to disrupt the established ways of working and encourage experimentation.

Steve leads strategy and implementation teams for Orr Group’s partners, is the Managing Partner of the firm’s Executive Committee, and has served as the interim Executive Director for five nonprofit organizations, including Youth INC, which he founded in 1994. In addition to providing fresh thinking and visionary leadership, he drives transformational change to help nonprofits achieve their missions. He draws on his 30 plus years of experience to establish and build trust with staff, management, and boards, as well as to drive philanthropic revenue growth.

Steve began his career on Wall Street as an investment banker specializing in the financial sector at Goldman Sachs. In 1991, inspired by the charitable efforts of his parents, Steve founded Orr Group with his wife, Carol, to help nonprofits fundraise more effectively.

Related Resources