My guest today is James Mueller. James is president of James Mueller & Associates LLC, a national consulting firm that provides services in the areas of organizational development, governance, and philanthropy. His new book, “Onboarding Champions: The Seven Recruiting Principles of Highly Effective Nonprofit Boards” (February 23, 2021) is filled with intelligent and practical advice interwoven with a lifetime of stories about working with nonprofit boards.

As an author, lecturer, philanthropic and organizational strategist, and nonprofit governance expert, James has been immersed in nonprofit sector leadership throughout his career—four decades of experience working with or serving on nonprofit boards. From higher education to health care to social service agencies, he has experienced every imaginable combination of good people trying to do good things through board service.

James’s work helping nonprofits advance their missions has earned him national recognition. He has worked with nonprofit board members ranging from the highest positions of success and prominence to local communities and neighborhoods, where good people with big hearts ensure the health and well-being of their nonprofits.

Completing his undergraduate education at Cornell University, followed by four years at a seminary, he was drawn to community service. The first ten years of his career were devoted to his undergraduate alma mater, followed by executive positions at Northwestern University, Advocate Healthcare, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Goodwill Industries.

As the father of a son with severe physical disabilities, Mueller moved to a climate that was much kinder to his son’s health complications, where he established his consulting firm, James Mueller & Associates, in 2005. In his recently released book, “Lyrics of a Broken Heart: A Father’s Journey Toward Wholeness” he writes about his experience following his son’s death.

Here’s what to expect during the episode:

  • What are these seven recruiting principles of highly effective nonprofit boards?
  • Building a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable board. Try experiencing things outside your cultural context!
  • The underrated significance of listening closely.
  • Discerning professional business skills from governance. If you’re looking for a board member, you might not want to recruit a volunteer.
  • How do you find these people that you need? Why should you check references?


You can see James on his website

His email is

Get James’ books here:

Onboarding Champions: The Seven Recruiting Principles of Highly Effective Nonprofit Boards

Lyrics of a Broken Heart: A Father’s Journey Toward Wholeness –

Get Mary’s free guide: How to Engage Your Board in Fundraising, by going to

Get Mary’s book:  Click here: Love Your Board! The Executive Directors’ Guide to Discovering the Sources of Board Troubles and What to Do About Them

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