David Harkins

David L. Harkins, D. ODC

Managing Partner | Principal Consultant

Executive Coach

About David

David Harkins is an educator, executive coach, and management consultant with expertise in advancing entrepreneurial thinking and innovation leadership to deepen social impact and engagement and strengthen operational performance. He is the founder and principal consultant at David Harkins Company, LLC.

David’s work focuses on leadership development and coaching, strategic change, workplace culture transformation, and community collaboration. He has significant experience in the nonprofit and social sector, and he is highly skilled in troubleshooting organization challenges, facilitating collaborative change, culture transformation, and earned revenue development.

He has advised many well-known companies and nonprofit organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Bar Association, Cargill Ag Horizons, Disabled American Veterans, Girl Scouts of the USA, Microsoft, National 4-H Council, National FFA Organization, and Special Olympics to name just a few.

For more than a decade, David served as Associate Director, Retail Business Development and Licensing for the Boy Scouts of America National Council (BSA), where he was an internal entrepreneur responsible for building new retail business lines. At the BSA, he was accountable for reorganizing and reviving its licensing program— growing it from $400,000 to nearly $45 million in annual licensed product sales at retail from 2005 to 2015 and earning the program an annual spot on License! Global Magazine’s Top 150 Global Licensors since 2012. David also developed and launched a retail digital strategy that included developing and implementing the organization’s first e-commerce website and its first step into social media and email marketing in 2005.

David has also served as the Business and Operations Executive for Bright Side Arts (a division of nonprofit Arts For Life), VP, Marketing and Licensing for Uware Brands, VP, Strategic Services at the Jackson Group, EVP, Marketing for the agency Colman Brohan Davis (CBD) Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and VP, Customer Care for software engineering firm Geneer, and VP, Marketing and Product Development for Nykamp Consulting Group, among others.

As a student of organization development (OD) and innovation leadership, David researches industries, organizations, markets, and culture and then connects seemingly unconnected dots to identify likely challenges to overcome and probable opportunities for increased social impact and engagement.

David is an Assistant Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Belmont University.  His previous teaching assignments include Visiting Instructor of Management at Georgia Southern University and adjunct faculty positions at American Public University, Bowling Green State University, and Western Carolina University.

He has a passion for entrepreneurial thinking and innovation leadership and the impact it can have for social good. In support of his passion, David writes about business, culture, and entrepreneurship

David holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Management from American Public University, a Master of Entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University, and a Doctorate in Organization Development and Change from Bowling Green State University. David is also a Certified Professional Coach.


Recent Journal Publications

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many nonprofit organizations. They are essential for guidance and governance on boards, for administrative support, and in some cases, to physically deliver the nonprofit’s program in support of its mission. Research suggests that volunteer motivation varies somewhat by individual, and alignment with the nonprofit’s mission may be one of the primary factors. Changing generational leadership, national demographics, and perspectives of tolerance may affect the volunteer base and the influence volunteers have over a nonprofit’s culture.

Using the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) as a case in point, I examine how the changing attitudes in culture and society influenced its membership policy. The history and culture of the BSA, volunteerism within the organization, the influence of changing generational leadership on volunteerism, organizational culture, and membership policy is also considered. Additionally, I suggest ways in which other nonprofit organizations’ leadership might learn from the BSA’s challenges as they navigate the effects of society’s changing attitudes on volunteerism and the resulting impact on organizational culture

COVID-19 created an unprecedented global health crisis and caused a rapid, global economic meltdown. Organizations of all sizes are scrambling to salvage workforces and adopting policies to protect employees from the virus. Talent development practices face new challenges as the world reckons with our altered COVID-19 pandemic reality. Organization leaders must think creatively to design the employment practices of the future.

In this article, we consider how changes in work environments are affecting employees and organization performance, examine how recruitment, training, onboarding, and developing talent present complex challenges that must be addressed for sustainability, and consider how talent development principles can enhance organization development (OD) practices.  Finally, we offer perspectives on employing OD principles and practices to facilitate workforce changes to maximize productivity and performance.

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