Shelly Kessler

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Shelly Kessler is an expert in strategy and business planning, organizational and leadership development, and program planning and assessment, as well as a trained facilitator.  For over twenty-five years she has been both a practitioner in the field and an advisor to not-for-profit and philanthropic organizations nationally, as well as nongovernmental organizations globally. As a consultant, she has helped guide organizations from inception, through transition, to re-visioning. Throughout, a core belief has been that good consultations are done in partnership with the client and are aligned with organizational strength and culture.

While working with all types and sizes of organizations, Kessler has deep experience with early childhood education; health and social service organizations; international development organizations; and health conversion foundations. Among her recent clients are The Children’s Defense Fund of NY, Free the Slaves, America’s Charities, The Kessler Foundation, VoicesUnbroken, Allies for Children and the Kansas Health Foundation. In many cases, she has worked with start-up organizations or organizations in transition to manage growth and change.

From 2000-2013, Kessler was a Partner with TCC Group a national management consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco.  She headed the nonprofit strategy practice as well as being the Chief Financial Officer for the firm. While at TCC she led numerous organizational assessment and strategic planning assignments for a broad spectrum of nonprofit organizations, philanthropies and corporate giving programs. A small sampling of her past clients is attached.

Prior to joining TCC Group, Kessler spent five and a half years as Deputy Executive Director of the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN, Inc.), an international non-profit organization working with medical schools in 24 countries.  In addition to overall program management, Kessler’s responsibilities included strategic planning, new initiative development, and fund diversification.  Kessler came to INCLEN after eleven years in international development, primarily with the international relief and development organization, CARE and later with UNICEF. 

Kessler received her Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brown University.

She has written a number of articles on strategic planning over the years including “The Death of Planning” for the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal; “Funding for Impact: How to Design Strategic Grantmaking Programs,” and with Jared Raynor “When Things Fall Apart: Building Organizational Strength of Humanitarian Organizations” for TCC Group.   She has presented numerous workshops on strategic and business planning for mission focused organizations nationally including podcasts on Adaptive Leadership for Nonprofits and Transformational Strategic Planning. She was the primary researcher for Private Foreign Aid: U.S. Philanthropy for Relief and Development, by Landrum Bolling (West View Press, 1982) and authored Third World Women in Agriculture: An Annotated Bibliography (The National Council for Research on Women, 1985). 

Currently, Kessler is a member of the boards of Public Citizens for Children and Youth based in Philadelphia and Ultimate Block Party, a national exploration of how children learn and grow.