New Leader Success: The Nonprofit Leadership Dynamic with Ivan Gilreath and Deena Terry

Nonprofit leaders, how are you setting up your new leaders for success? What strategies do you have in place to ensure they come into the organization strong? And arguably more importantly, how are you ensuring your new leaders keep a good momentum without burning out?  

In today’s episode, we have two very special guests, Ivan Gilreath and Deena Terry. Ivan and Deena work together as the CEO and CFO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale. They give us their “secrets” for a successful CEO-CFO working relationship and how their dynamic works day in and day out in the organization. They also discuss nonprofit trends and why it’s important to run a nonprofit like a business. 

Plus, Ivan tells us exactly how he set Deena up for success when she came on as the CFO after what felt like a revolving door of CFOs before his time as CEO at the organization. Now, Ivan and Deena have been working together as a team for over two years, so their dynamic is still going strong, and their nonprofit is reaping the benefits of it. 


About Ivan and Deena

Ivan, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) CEO, has two decades of corporate executive experience including success in strategic planning, growth, and community engagement. He served for 10 years as President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of The Midlands. Prior to that, he spent five years as President of ING’s Employee Benefits Division and 20 years in Mutual of Omaha’s Group Insurance Division. 

Deena, the BGCS CFO, has worked in partnership with Ivan for two years. She has a wealth of nonprofit experience, and has spent her entire career in a number of different nonprofit organizations. Between the two of them, they have seen it all.


Read the podcast transcript here. 


Episode Summary

In today’s episode, you’ll learn the importance of a good working CEO-CFO relationship and how to set your new leaders up for success. 

•Changes in the nonprofit sector (9:00)

•How nonprofit funding has changed (13:20)

•Consequences of not having diversified funding (18:40)

•Using technology to further fundraising (20:05)

•Making data-informed decisions (21:45)

•The dynamics of a CEO-CFO working relationship (23:05)

•Setting your CFO for success (26:50)

•Nonprofit leadership trends (30:35)

•Why it’s important to run a nonprofit like a business (34:05)



“We’ve become programmatically, even a better organization because during the pandemic we had to figure out different ways to deliver our programming than what we used to do before the pandemic.”

“Just because we’re called nonprofits doesn’t mean that we should have $0 left over at the end of the year. We should not be spending every single dollar that comes in the door.”

“You really can’t do any aspect of this job correctly without good data.” 

“It’s so important when organizations are thinking about bringing a CFO on or bringing another leader on to really ask themselves, ‘Okay, do we have the capacity to set them up for success.’”

“Nonprofits are held to the same standards as for profits today.”

“Being a good businessman also makes you a good steward because you’re not just taking that money for granted and throwing it at whatever you’re thinking about.”


Huge thank you to our sponsor!

This series is sponsored by Blackbaud, the essential software provider for the organizations and people who change the world. Blackbaud has been working with finance professionals at nonprofit and social good organizations for almost 40 years with its Blackbaud Financial Edge, NXT Fund, accounting software expertise, and services. You can streamline your financial operations, strengthen your accountability, and make data-driven decisions to increase your impact. To learn more, visit   



Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale: 

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Blackbaud Nonprofit Accounting Software:   

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