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Valerie F. Leonard        

Founder of Nonprofit Utopia; Host of Nonprofit Utopia Podcast; Expert in Community & Organizational Development

Valerie F. Leonard is an expert in community and organizational development with a mission to strengthen the capacity of organizations to make a positive impact on the communities they serve through technical assistance, specialized workshops and organizational development. Her clientele is diverse, and includes institutions, emerging organizations, small businesses and churches.

Leonard recently launched Nonprofit Utopia, LLC. Nonprofit Utopia is a community of emerging nonprofit leaders that provides a safe environment in which members can innovate, speak candidly about the issues and concerns they face daily, and share ideas and resources.

Leonard is the host of Nonprofit Utopia blog radio talk show, f.ka. Nonprofit "U", an online forum where nonprofit stakeholders can discuss the latest developments in the sector and increase their capacity to serve their clients and build sustainable communities. Topics include nonprofit management, community development, capacity building and organizational development. Nonprofit Utopia is downloaded in 90 countries around the world and is top ranked in BlogTalkRadio’s non-profit category. The show is also among Player FM’s Top 36 Nonprofit Podcasts for 2018.

Leonard has considerable experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to starting her consulting practice, she spearheaded the spin-off of a community-based grant making organization from a family foundation and became its founding executive director; managed site planning and development activities for Jewel- Osco stores in Chicago and the six collar counties; coordinated financing in excess of $100 million for construction, renovation and major capital equipment purchases for the Mount Sinai Health System; and developed marketing strategies for New York City’s $6 billion general obligation bond program.

Leonard is a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Illinois’ Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program, where she has taught courses in operations management, strategic management, finance, program design and evaluation and proposal writing for government grants. Leonard is also an adjunct instructor at Roosevelt University's Heller College of Business, teaching new ventures and social entrepreneurship.

Leonard holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Spelman College and a Master of Management with concentrations in finance and marketing from the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She is the former Vice Chair of the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation’s Social Capital Committee.

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