What’s Next?

A Digital Roundtable for Social Good

What’s Next?: The Roundtable Archive 

Beginning in Fall 2021, What’s Next? moved to a new format! Click over to our Videos page to see the latest episodes. You’ll find the archive of previous episodes below. 


May 21: Launch Event: The Profit & Purpose Report

We believe that companies can blend profit and purpose in their businesses – in fact future success may depend on it. We provided viewers a sneak peel of our 2021 Social Good Report, highlighting the ways companies and nonprofits can work together to build a new framework for success. This session (powered by the Charlotte Business Journal) unpacked four key areas where social good can offer business solutions and included special guest April Whitlock, Head of Corporate Citizenship at LendingTree.

May 7: How this Culture Club is Engaging Employees & Impacting Charlotte

On our next episode of What’s Next?, Matt Potere, CEO of Sunlight Financial will join the program to talk a bit about how social good permeates their highly intentional culture. Sunlight Financial partners with solar companies and home improvement contractors to secure financing for solar systems, with loans made that are homeowner-friendly and a process that is made simple. While you might expect environmental alignment, the company’s Culture Club engages across many areas to positively impact the Charlotte community. Tune in on May 7 to learn more!

April 23: Creating A Culture That Sticks

Wray Ward is a Charlotte-based marketing and brand powerhouse with a long history of community engagement. Learn more about how they leverage their values-based culture to attract top talent, build a sense of community through physical space and support local nonprofit organizations.

  • Jennifer Appleby
  • Amanda Williams

April 16: Unpacking The Future Of Employee Wellness

The physical and emotional well-being of employees is top of mind for companies and nonprofits alike in the Charlotte region. This episode of What’s Next? will include a panel of wellness executives from Willis Towers Watson to talk about how the pandemic has impacted their teams, the challenges company leaders are facing as workplaces open back up, and how social good might play a role in impacting wellbeing now and in the future.

  • Lauren Hoeck
  • Karyn Tindall

March 26: Celebrate CULTIVATE’s 2020 Cohort

CULTIVATE was founded in 2018 by local consulting firm Next Stage to equip social good leaders with the skills and resources they need to build strong nonprofits capable of lasting impact. Through monthly interactive workshops, one-on-one coaching and study of a robust curriculum, participants learn the building blocks of nonprofit management and graduate with strategic business plans that guide future growth.

Next Stage is thrilled to invite you to the 2020 Cohort Graduation, a celebration of the graduating CULTIVATE participants and an opportunity for the Charlotte nonprofit and philanthropic communities to gather together virtually.

Graduating nonprofit leaders include:

  • Ed Price – COO, Charlotte Rescue Mission (Community Matters Cafe)
  • Mendy Godman – Co-Founder & Executive Director, Feeding Charlotte
  • Becky Santoro – Co-Founder & Executive Director, Foster Village Charlotte
  • Emmanuel & Adrienne Threatt – Co-Founders, Hope Vibes
  • Katie Phillips – Executive Director, Soccer Foundation of Charlotte
  • Charis Blackmon – Executive Director, West Side Community Land Trust

February 26: Profit & Purpose: How Next Gen Businesses Integrate Values

Business leaders increasingly identify as ‘social enterprises’ or ‘values-driven businesses’ – but what does this look like in practice? Hygge Founder Garrett Tichy will join us to share more about what motivates his company to engage with social good and how brands can authentically live their values. This session will focus on how next-generation-led businesses can integrate social good directly into their business practices – while also staying profitable and at the top of their game.

February 12: How Next Gen Leaders are Changing Boards for the Better

Organizations aim to increase their relevance with younger professionals in the Charlotte area are well-served to add board members who reflect this demographic. Charlotte professionals Tim Nicodemus and Morgan Hinton will join Next Stage’s Josh Jacobson to share their insights on what drives them to serve and the impact they are having on social good. This session will provide pointers for young professionals interested in joining local boards as well as outline why nonprofits should be scouting for new governance talent.


  • Tim Nicodemus, Board Member, Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte
  • Morgan Hinton, Board Member, Care Ring


January 29: Profit & Purpose: Art as a Community Connector

 ArtPop has long focused on supporting the local arts community and bringing artistic talent to the public. The organization has made a host of artists household names by creating street galleries through the use of billboards and other city spaces. Their most recent project focuses on a new kind of corporate partnership – facilitating commissions between local artists and businesses, aimed at creating public art projects for everyone to enjoy. Join the panel on January 29th to learn how a nonprofit organization, local artists, and Charlotte businesses are teaming up to make art accessible to everyone.


  • Wendy Hickey, Founder & Executive Director, ArtPop Street Gallery
  • Marvin Espy, Artist
  •  Lisa Richards, Director of Stewardship, Crescent Communities

January 15: 8 Social Good Trends to Watch in 2021

What will 2021 hold for the Charlotte social good community? Building off their recent blog post, 8 Social Good Trends to Watch in 2021, Next Stage’s Janet Ervin, Caylin Haldeman and Josh Jacobson will do a takeover of What’s Next? on January 15 to highlight trendlines they believe will define the year ahead. Register now to join the Next Stage team, and share your thoughts to inform the discussion!


  • Janet Ervin, CEO, Consultant, Next Stage
  • Caylin Haldeman, Director of CULTIVATE, Next Stage
  • Josh Jacobson, Managing Director, Next Stage

December 18: Profit & Purpose: Torrent Consulting Integrates Impact

Torrent Consulting is a mid-sized, Charlotte-based Salesforce consulting business that believes in ‘starting with why.’ Their social impact strategy is integrated into their business and offers equitable opportunity and training for young adults in the United States and Guatemala. CEO Daniel McCollum and Impact Manager Ana Lu Gadala-María will share more about how the program was built, where its creating impact and why they believe that people and profit are both critically important in building a business.


  • Daniel McCollum, CEO, Torrent Consulting
  • Ana Lu Gadala-María, Impact Manager, Torrent Consulting

December 11: Profit & Purpose: Building a Go-To Partnership

Building a strong, go-to relationship with a large, influential corporation is the dream of any emerging nonprofit. For Demi Knight Clark, founder of She Built This City, the dream became reality through an ongoing partnership with Lowe’s, a company that has recently increased its social good footprint in the Queen City, donating nearly $11 million in funds and product to support Charlotte this year. This episode will explore the partnership between Lowe’s and She Built This City, why it makes sense for both organizations, and the exciting Innovation Alley programming space that recently opened at Hygge Jay Street. 


  • Betsy Conway, Director, Community Relations, Lowe’s
  • Marcel Solomon, Community Relations Analyst, Lowe’s
  • Demi Knight Clark, Founder, She Built This City

November 20: Profit & Purpose: Partnerships That Solve Problems

One of the problems most exacerbated by the pandemic has been Charlotte’s digital divide. Nearly twenty percent of Mecklenburg County residents lack access to a computer and internet, including a large number of CMS students. In this episode of What’s Next?, we’ll learn how AvidXchange and E2D formed a new kind of partnership that addressed an urgent community problem – and how it created winning results for everyone.


  • Rob Phocas, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, AvidXchange
  • Pat Millen, Founder & President, E2D

November 6: Building Workplace Culture Through Social Good

Nonprofits seeking a value proposition for funding from businesses may be surprised to learn how important employee engagement is in corporate America right now. Maintaining a positive workplace culture through social good is a major component of Next Stage’s theories on the rewiring of social good, and our next What’s Next? episode highlights an amazing example of it.

 On November 6, join Next Stage’s Josh Jacobson as he hosts representatives from a partnership between local nonprofit Apparo and Accenture. Panelists Kim Lanphear, Wes Slocum and Cherise Belnavis Johnson will unpack the highly successful Mission Possible Award program. This 13+ year community impact collaboration has channeled substantial resources to area nonprofits while also activating Accenture’s workforce of skilled professionals. This session will explore why this longtime collaboration endures and how employee engagement translates creates win-win-win outcomes.


  • Kim Lanphear, CEO of Apparo
  • Wes Slocum, Managing Director of Accenture
  • Cherise Belnavis Johnson, Marketing Lead at Accenture

October 23: Brand Development – Building a Brand Through Social Good

Engagement with social good can often be a powerful expression of brand development by a company, aiming to align corporate identity with the values that are meaningful for consumers and employees alike. In this session, Next Stage’s Janet Ervin will facilitate a discussion with leading brand marketing gug Greg Johnson from Orbital Socket to explore social good as a building block of brand that leads to differentiation and staying power.


  • Greg Johnson, Managing Director, Orbital Socket

October 9: The Value Prop – A Mindset Shift for the Private Sector & Social Good

This session kicks off a brand new What’s Next series that will explore the intersection of the private sector and social good. We’ll talk about how social good is already showing up in companies across the region, interview business leaders and social entrepreneurs and imagine new ways to collaborate that could lead to a more successful community for everyone. Register now for the first episode hosted by Next Stage’s Josh Jacobson


  • Blair Primis, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Talent Management
  • John Searby, Executive Director, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

September 25: Building a Better Nonprofit Story: Decolonizing the Narrative

The July ‘Storytelling With Integrity’ episode was one of the most popular panels to date, and for good reason. Stories are incredibly powerful – and critical to the way we communicate cause and mission. In the July panel we talked about the need to examine what narrative we are sharing and ways we can ask better questions. This 2.0 session will go a step further to focus on tactical, direct action steps. The panel of experts will offer candid conversation and advice on rejecting ‘deficit’ stories, language to avoid and how we can embrace a fuller, more equitable narrative focused on possibility and imagination.


  • Valaida Fullwood, Author & Strategist
  • Alicia Bell, Community Organizer, Free Press

September 11: Homegrown Social Impact: Investing in Charlotte-Based Nonprofit Entrepreneurship

Charlotte is an enterprising town, with a network of social good entrepreneurs as dynamic and innovative as any start-up hub nationwide. Whether launching a new program in a mature organization or creating a brand new nonprofit, our community is teeming with people ready to make their mark and move the needle. Thriving nonprofit innovation is an important component of any healthy social good ecosystem — it signifies strong community organizing, neighborhood-level leadership and passionate residents willing to commit energy and resources to moving the Charlotte region forward. But how do funders approach investing in new organizations or programmatic approaches — and how can entrepreneurs build successful and impactful funding relationships? 


  • Jennifer Dewitt, Program Officer, The Leon Levine Foundation 
  • Charles Thomas, Director, The Knight Foundation

August 28: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Nonprofit Executive Compensation Study

A recurring topic for us is the cost of quality staff talent. As our firm has grown its executive search business line, we’ve encountered many board leader uncertain of how best to evaluate executive compensation. In late August 2020, Next Stage released the first-ever Charlotte-Mecklenburg Nonprofit Executive Compensation Study with an examination of the state of Executive Director/CEO-level compensation for nonprofit leaders in our area. In this episode, Managing Director Josh Jacobson and a panel of experts will unpack the research and discuss what it means for nonprofit executives in the Queen City.


  • Jim Bales, Chief Financial Officer, Children & Family Services Center
  • Kevin Monaghan, Founder & Director, Intuitive Compensation Group

August 14: A What’s Next Takeover for Black Philanthropy Month

Join us for this first-ever, special edition What’s Next takeover! On August 14, the New Generation of African American Philanthropists will take over What’s Next to share more about their work around Black Philanthropy Month and ways that the nonprofit community can better ally with Black-led organizations.


  • Charles Thomas, Director, The Knight Foundation
  • Valaida Fullwood, Author & Strategist

July 24: Storytelling With Integrity

Stories capture our imagination, build empathy and drive human connection. As nonprofit professionals, stories communicate urgency for our causes. But whose stories are we choosing to share, for what purpose, and how? Storytelling with integrity means building narratives that inspire empathy and respect, and leading with a human element. This panel of veteran storytellers and journalists will share tips for crafting a compelling story, how they choose which stories to tell and the storyteller’s responsibility to craft an empathetic, equitable narrative. 


  • Ju-Don Marshall, Chief Content Officer & Executive Vice President, WFAE
  • Tommy Tomlinson, Author, Storyteller & Host, SouthBound podcast
  • Alicia Bell, Community Organizer, Free Press

July 10: Community Need & Social Innovation

Working at the intersection of community need and social innovation, the GreenLight Fund is a venture philanthropy fund that applies the best of venture to the nonprofit sector. Since 2017, the national organization has been operating an office in Charlotte under the leadership of Carrie Cook who was hired as its Executive Director in 2018. In this session, we explore the GreenLight Fund’s work through two rounds of investment in Charlotte and the impact it is having on partner organizations who benefit from collaborating with scaling programs with measurable impact.


  • Carrie Cook, Executive Director, Greenlight Fund Charlotte
  • Tomico Evans, Executive Vice President, Core Programs, INLIVIAN

June 26: Getting Creative with Partnerships & Collaborations

Effectively meeting the needs of our city through this crisis makes working together critical. For the final #NewNormalCLT before its evolution, Next Stage invites Tim Miner from Charlotte is Creative to highlight creative approaches to partnerships and doing more together than alone.


  • Tim Miner, Co-Founder, Charlotte is Creative
  • Demi Clark, Founder, She Built This City
  • William McNeely, Founder, Do Greater Charlotte

June 19: Building Better Neighborhood Partnerships

The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed disparities across a range of issues in our city. As Leading on Opportunity and other studies have already demonstrated, many communities in Charlotte are disproportionately affected by these issues. As we make major changes to programming in response to the crisis, how do we ensure we are building culturally conscious services that engage the communities they are meant to serve?


  • Tiffany Capers, Executive Director, CrossRoads Corporation
  • Michael DeVaul, Strategy Leader, My Brother’s Keeper CLT
  • Gina Esquivel, Principal Consultant, Civic Canvas

June 12: Impact, Need & Changing Priorities

The public health crisis has changed or intensified the need in our community. Fresh off of a community assessment in service to developing a plan for the deployment of CARES Act funding, Charlotte Area Fund’s Nick Wharton will be joined by the Next Stage team for a review of that research and insights into the road ahead.


  • Nick Wharton, President & CEO, Charlotte Area Fund
  • Janet Ervin, Consultant, Next Stage
  • Caylin Haldeman, Director, CULTIVATE
  • Josh Jacobson, Managing Director, Next Stage

June 5: Shifting Delivery Systems

“Necessity is the mother of all invention.” Nonprofits across the spectrum are demonstrating the truth of this statement by finding creative ways to accomplish their missions, even when their traditional channels are not available. Learn how several organizations have evolved their delivery systems to meet the needs of their clients through both hands-on and digital channels.


  • Beth Morrison, Executive Director, Rebuilding Together of Charlotte
  • Ed Price, Executive Director, Community Matters Café
  • Adrienne and Emmanuel Threatt, Co-Founders/Directors, Hope Vibes

May 29: Earned Revenue Challenges – The Future of Social Enterprise

Up until just a few months ago, nonprofit organizations were being encouraged to launch social enterprise strategies to generate earned revenue as a means to diversify funding streams. Now, with the economy slowed and many still sheltering in place, the future of these strategies is uncertain. Hear from three nonprofit leaders who continue to innovate with new market-driven approaches.


  • Laura Belcher, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte
  • Manuel Campbell, CEO, ASPIRE Community Capital
  • Kelly Finley, Executive Director, Girls Rock Charlotte

May 22: Will They Really Give? Sustaining Your Major Gift Campaign During Crisis

Many organizations are experiencing the tension of increased need and decreased revenue. This is particularly true for organizations that were mid-stroke on ambitious campaigns to increase impact and launch capital efforts. Our panelists are all in the midst of raising funds for ambitious projects and will share their recent experiences.


  • Jenni Gaisbauer, Executive Director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Foundation
  • John Searby, Executive Director, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
  • Banu Valladares, Executive Director, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

May 15: Getting Creative with Corporate Sponsorship Fulfillment

Corporate sponsors are a key partner in many nonprofit fundraising efforts. With the disruption of spring events, many organizations are left wondering about the best way to fulfill sponsorship commitments and how to continue to engage companies. We’ll find out what area sponsors think and get their advice for maintaining connection. 


  • Natalie J. Brown, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Ally Financial
  • Dominique Johnson, Community Affairs Manager, Duke Energy
  • Blair Primis, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Talent Management, OrthoCarolina

May 8: Launching a Crisis Response Fund

With the spring fundraising season completely disrupted, several organizations quickly sprang into action with crisis response funds. Find out how these organizations are messaging to their communities, raising money and even acquiring new donors in the midst of crisis.


  • Randall Hitt, Chief Engagement Officer, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte
  • Katy Ryan, Executive Director 24 Foundation
  • Sam Smith, Director of External Partnerships, United Way of Central Carolinas

May 1: Budget Shortfalls & Bold Leadership – What Does Success Look Like?

Public health concerns, increased service needs and economic challenges have completely flipped the script for many nonprofits in just a few short weeks. What should our KPIs look like when the goals set at the beginning of the budget year have been completely disrupted? How do we manage budget shortfalls and set goals that will continue to drive our missions forward?


  • Michelle Hamilton, Interim President & CEO, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra
  • Chris Jackson, President & CEO, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
  • Basil Lyberg, CEO, The Ability Experience

April 24: Keeping Volunteers Engaged

Volunteers are critical for many organizations. How do you continue to engage volunteers in a digital, socially distant world? These organizations share how they are communicating with and continuing to engage their volunteer networks.


  • Tina Postel, Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes
  • Michael DeVaul, Chief Social Responsibility Officer at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte
  • Amy Jacobs, Executive Director of SHARE Charlotte

April 17: Digital Outreach in a Time of COVID-19

Organizations are having to adapt digital outreach to volunteers, donors and clients. In this session, our panlists share which digital channels they are using to communicate with their communities, what to do when access is limited, how they quickly galvanized their supporters to meet needs, and where they are finding success.


  • Angela Woods, CEO of the Girl Scouts, Hornets Nest Council
  • Jimmy McQuilkin, Executive Director of UrbanPromise Charlotte
  • Becky Santoro, Founder of Foster Village Charlotte

April 10: Your Mission Still Matters: Finding Your Narrative in a Crisis

Organizations of every size and mission focus are asking themselves the same question: How do we stay sensitive to the crisis at hand while also staying true to our mission? Learn how three very different organizations are finding narrative traction in the midst of crisis and how their communities are responding.


  • Kris Reid, Executive Director of the Piedmont Culinary Guild
  • Erin Santos, President of The Isabella Santos Foundation
  • Witnie Martinez, M.S.,C.G.S, VP of Institutional Advancement, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

April 3: So Your Event Was Cancelled, Now What? 

This session focuses on the transition from in-person to virtual events and features nonprofit professionals who have already made the switch. They discuss what worked well, lessons learned and advice for other organizations considering a switch to a virtual event.


  • Shannon Greene, AVP, National MS Society
  • Sil Ganzó, Founder & Executive Director, ourBRIDGE for KIDS
  • Dick Sesler, Founder, Camp Blue Skies
  • Kristin Winkle Beck, Executive Director, Social Venture Partners Charlotte

March 27: What’s On Your Mind?

Our first roundtable topic of The New Normal series featured three prominent local leaders discussing the questions and concerns that have been top of mind for them over the last week, as well as how they are navigating short term challenges and changes.


  • Don Jonas, Executive Director, Care Ring
  • Banu Valladares, Executive Director, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
  • Shannon Binns, Executive Director, Sustain Charlotte