We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Tillman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I believe the greatest risk in life is not taking any risks! I’ve taken several risks in my life, including relocating back to California in my early 20s after growing up in South Florida. I left the comforts and familiarity of home and although I had some friends and family in California, I truly had to start over to build my personal and professional networks, and it was one of the best risks I’ve ever taken. California has been home for me again for nearly 15 years, and shortly after I moved back to LA, I found a full-time job, and a Master’s in Business Administration in Nonprofit Management program. I went on to make lasting connections with volunteers and people working across all sectors of the LA community, and I have a diverse network of friends as a result. I have also taken professional risks such as leaving secure jobs to consult for start-up organizations, or to step into a new leadership role, and every opportunity in my career has lead me to my current role as Founder and CEO of Nonprofit Growth Advisors.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
With nearly two decades of experience as a consultant and successful leader in the Los Angeles nonprofit sector, I established Nonprofit Growth Advisors earlier this year to help nonprofit organizations create efficient and sustainable processes and programs that lead to growth and long-term impact for the communities they serve.
Rooted in a commitment to equality and social justice for all, Nonprofit Growth Advisors aligns organizations with opportunities for growth by mobilizing networks, influencers, and talent to build awareness, raise revenue, and create change for the greater good.
Nonprofit Growth Advisors can help:
Rediscover an organization’s WHY and improve upon the approach to getting things done
Integrate donor-centric marketing and fundraising strategies
Energize and mentor board, staff, and volunteers to build sustainable and impactful programs
Provide interim leadership during periods of planned or unplanned executive transitions
The health of a nonprofit organization depends on effective fundraising and development. We are fundraising experts who partner with our clients to help them strengthen revenue strategies and develop innovative partnerships, so they can grow to meet the demands of our changing world. Nonprofit Growth Advisors view impossibilities as opportunities, and we provide the expertise, tools, and resources for nonprofit organizations to develop habits for long-term viability and sustainability. We’re truth-tellers and keep it real with our clients. Their success is our success, and we draw on a seasoned perspective to both see and create the future of social impact.
Past and present experience includes executive, managerial, consulting, and board positions at the BlkShp Foundation, Food on Foot, Downtown Women’s Center, Beauty Bus Foundation, Alexandria House, Safe Place For Youth, Lamp Community (now The People Concern), Aviva Family and Children’s Services, and many more.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whenever I have visitors in town, I get Bay Cities subs and we go for a hike in Temescal Canyon or above the letters of the Hollywood Sign, a beach day at El Matador Beach in Malibu, or a walk on the strand in the SouthBay. For dinner, you can meet me at Craig’s in West Hollywood, The Rainbow Room on Sunset, Casablanca in Venice for fresh tortillas and margaritas made by Chip on the Tequila Express Cart, or sushi from any KazuNori or Sugarfish location. My favorite venues to see live music are the Troubadour, the Fonda, the Palladium, or picnic before a show at the Hollywood Bowl; and it’s always a blast checking out the lineup at The Comedy Store or The Hollywood Improv.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The most vulnerable people are also the most resilient people I’ve ever met, and I am deeply humbled and inspired to know women like Salli, a participant at Food on Foot who’s overcome homelessness, running her own business, and giving back to the community; and there’s my mentee and now dear friend, Joanna who also experienced cycles of homelessness as a young adult living with her mom and younger brother in Los Angeles, and today she’s in her twenties and buying her own home. These women inspire me to do more and be more. I am grateful to my friends and family for their unwavering support of my work and my journey, and I also want to give a shoutout to all the mentors and advisors in my life — thank you for encouraging me to grow into the person that I am today. I can only hope to continue to pay it forward and lift others up.