Cover art for podcast Unleashing Social Change

Unleashing Social Change

45 EpisodesProduced by Becky MargiottaWebsite

Each episode we interview a badass social change leader and learn the ins and outs of what they're doing to make the world a better place. This podcast will help you feel optimistic that we can make a difference and give you practical tips about how to go about doing so in a big way.


10: The Opposite of Founder’s Syndrome: What an Awesome Succession Plan Looks Like with Ellen Moir and Desmond Blackburn of the New Teacher Center

Transitioning from the founder to a new CEO is by far one of the most difficult transitions an organization can face. It’s incredibly rare to hear of that going well but we found an example of two people who did that with tremendous grace and skill.  In today’s episode, we will hear from Ellen Moir, the founder and former CEO of the New Teacher Center and the CEO that followed her, Desmond Blackburn.  

The New Teacher Center works with districts to help retain you guessed teachers. They’re in 27 states and over 400 school districts. Not only did Ellen pass along the baton of leadership to Desmond, but more importantly, she also passed along all of her key relationships. If you’re a founder and thinking about retiring or a new CEO following in the footsteps of a founder, this episode is for you.


Show Highlights: 


  • How New Teacher Center grew from an idea hatched at Ellen’s kitchen table to a successful nationally known non-profit 
  • Why talented and passionate new teachers often quit in the month of October and how Ellen created a support to prevent these losses
  • What prevented Desmond from being one of those teachers who resign in October during his first year of teaching 
  • When and how Ellen realized it was time to retire
  • What Ellen took from the conflicting advice she read about how to plan for a succession process 
  • The recommended time frame for a successful transition and announcement of retirement
  • How ego and self need to be put aside for mission and legacy for both founding CEO and new CEO in the transition process 
  • How Desmond knew that NTC would be the next path for him
  • Being conscious of your greatest fears and greatest hopes 
  • The process of building out a transition from one CEO to another 
  • The importance of relationships in passing off the baton  
  • What Ellen’s interface with the organization looks like now 
  • The responsibilities that have to be held as a successor 
  • Taking advantage of the relationships established by the predecessor



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