Jessica Kennedy

In September 30, 2016
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Jessica Kennedy
Culture as a Lever for Impact
Title:Nonprofit Executive
Organization:Mental Health America

From Seven-Figure Loss to Industry Leader: This Century-Old NPO Prioritized its Employee-First Culture and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

The key to employee-driven impact is an employee-first culture – the mantra is echoed by the likes of Richard Branson and Kip Tindell but is often (falsely) regarded as a significant financial burden or implemented as a list of superficial fringe benefits. A truly integrated employee-first philosophy promises significant ROI in the form of decreased turnover, increased engagement and productivity, improved mission outcomes – and in the case of Mental Health America, a seven-figure turnaround and industry-leading impact.

This session will highlight the myriad benefits of assimilating an employee-first approach into the heart of an organization. How did MHA’s leadership and culture shift transform the “impact-ability" of its employees and enable it to lead its field? How does great culture drive great ideas?

Attendees will take away tools for implementing meaningful changes in corporate policy, often with minimal financial investment.

Learning Objectives

Individuals will learn about:

  • Turning a $1 million operating loss in 2013 into three consecutive years of operating gains
  • Revitalizing an abandoned program to reach 23M+ people
  • Achieving a single-digit turnover rate with glowing exit interviews
  • Massively expand reach through programmatic efforts, Facebook, Twitter, email, and more

This session is co-facilitated by Sachin Doshi. 


Jessica is a nonprofit executive who wears many hats, specializing in operations, finance, human resources, technology, administration, and programming. Under Jessica’s direction and launch of a new website, Mental Health America’s web traffic grew from about 1.5 million visitors annually to over 5.5 million visitors annually.

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