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James F. Bird

MSOL + Senior Manager

Former President and CEO of Villa Maria Residential Services, Jim has served as an executive leader and advancement professional for over two decades, serving educational and nonprofit organizations. Throughout his career, he has been able to help nonprofits, schools and community organizations raise over $100 million dollars.

A graduate of Gannon University, Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an STL (Doctor of Divinity equiv.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome Italy. In 2010 he received a Master in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) from Geneva College. Mr. Bird served in ministry from 1990 -2003 as a deacon and priest of the Diocese of Erie, as administrator, chaplain, counselor, teacher and pastor. He served as the first Vice President of the Academic Excellence Foundation at Cathedral Preparatory School in Erie, PA. Later he served as Director of Development for George Junior Republic, one of PA’s largest private nonprofit residential treatment facilities for court adjudicated and dependent youth. During that time, Jim oversaw, managed and supervised the transformation of the campus through an $11 million capital building project. Its successful capital campaign helped to open a state of the art 62,000 square foot academic center and recreation/program center.

Jim later assisted in the formation of the Corporate and Foundation Giving Office of the Clarion University Foundation, Inc. of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He served as its first director. Nominated by Gov. Rendell and confirmed by the legislature, Jim was a public member of the Board of Examiners for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2014 he was a presenter at the Emerging Philanthropy Conference in Pittsburgh, and lead a discussion on organizational readiness for grant making.

A community volunteer, Jim serves on the board of the HMHI Foundation, a housing group in Ohio and the board of the Mission and Ministry Foundation of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

CULTIVATING CONNECTIONS: DEVELOPING SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIPS

The truth of the familiar phrase “No man is an island” is being proven as research shows how valuable connection is to personal wellbeing and overall success in life. Studies show as people increase in age, so does their sense of wellbeing. However, wellbeing greatly...

Is your culture good or bad?

  How's your Culture? It's a fashionable 21st century question. Culture is a conference buzzword, making for stimulating discussion, but little change. Culture is the most important aspect of building a successful and sustainable business, but most leaders don't know...

How Healthy Self-Love Creates Dynamic Leadership

Self-love may be considered a “soft topic” among leadership circles but it’s a topic foundational to leading a life that’s fulfilling and impactful. If our highest call in life is to love and serve others in our relationships, business and community, we’d better take...

Designing your best year EVER

All great movies, novels, and speeches are built around great stories. As my friend Dale Karmie has said many times, “Life is a story.” Your life is an unfolding story and you have the tremendous opportunity to create it. You have the ability to create adventure,...

DOING > SAYING

One time after speaking at a company, an associate approached me. When he was near, I turned my back and spoke to someone else. He became angry and stormed out of the room. Later, he went to HR, and told them what happened. He called me a fake, saying I didn’t care...

How to identify a successful leadership training course

WHAT MAKES EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP TRAINING COURSE? I’ll never forget my frustration. I spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours working through the videos, conference calls, books, and exercises for my coaching and leadership certification program. To earn the...

3 keys to learning anything in the world

      TEACHABLE Pascal was a very smart young man. He had the ability to figure things out through observation. DeAndre was smart, but often needed help learning new things. Because Pascal knew he was smart he didn’t listen to the advice of others. DeAndre, on the...

Does love work at work?

  For years musician Johnny Cash was addicted to pain killers and amphetamines. It wasn’t until he met the love of his life, June Carter, that he began to seek freedom from his addiction. In his autobiography, Cash said he had crawled into a literal hole to die when...

Overcoming adversity & reaching your goals

On June 11th, 2017, the Pittsburgh Penguins  won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row. If you’ve ever won a championship you know the elation, joy, and appreciation. But, you also know victory doesn’t come without overcoming adversity. Without it, victory...

Formula of Success: Belief and Risk

Life isn’t what is—life is what we believe it is. Belief is our starting point. Our actions follow our beliefs. To stretch our beliefs, we have to risk. Risk is a number of things. Risk is becoming vulnerable in a relationship. Risk is handing over a role of...

This one question will stir your life

A few months ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with brain cancer. He's in his early 30's with two young kids, a beautiful wife, a budding career, and friends that love him. The doctors gave him a year to live. When I heard his diagnosis I was devastated for him and...

Does the world need better workers or leaders?

A few days ago a leader (let’s call him Joe) was lamenting to me. “The younger (millennial) generation doesn’t want to work,” he said. “They’re always asking ‘why’ instead of just doing what I tell them. Then if there’s a moment of downtime they’re on their phones...

5 practices for lasting business relationships

I’ll never forget my first day in Corporate America. I was anxious, excited, terrified, inspired, along with a myriad of other emotions. Just before I left the house my Dad put his arm around me and said, “Just remember, if you take care of people, money will take...

7 wishes you have control of

Wouldn’t it be great to have a magic genie grant you three wishes? What would you wish for? Who would you help? What world problem would you eliminate? What would you do for yourself? The magic genie scenario is fun, but it also helps us keep focused on what we want...

4 excuses leaders make for not knowing their employees

Leadership sometimes gets a bad rep. It’s often looked at as the “soft” side of business. Which, if you consider influencing people the soft part of business, you could make a case. But, as I tell leaders all the time, leadership is the hardest skill you will ever...

8 ways to improve your leadership TODAY!

Leadership starts with influence. You can influence people through position, social status, skill or reputation, but that will only last so long. To increase and strengthen influence you have to touch people's heart. Remember these important points: - People rarely...

13 toxins of a bad culture

Have you ever worked for an organization you dreaded going to every day? Have you worked under a leader who crushed your confidence and made you feel unimportant? Have you been bullied, ostracized, or shunned by your team members? If you’ve answered “yes” you’re not...

What, why, and S.E.R.V.E. of Servant Leadership

WHAT IS SERVANT LEADERSHIP Servant leadership is the unwavering belief that people are the most valuable asset to any organization. A leader’s greatest service is to draw out the best of their people for the benefit of the organization. Servant leaders create...

5 keys of Authentic Leadership

I’ll never forget my first job in the corporate world. I worked under an Executive Vice President who wore many faces. In front of other leaders, she was pleasant, charming, and kind. In front of customers, she was helpful, humble, and amiable. But in front of her...

Top 25 Leadership Books of All Time

I’ve heard it said, “Leaders are readers.” I don’t necessarily agree. Great leaders are continual and veracious learners and reading is an excellent way to gather knowledge, but leadership isn’t a knowledge gathering contest. Leadership is an interdisciplinary...

An open letter to corrupt leaders

To corrupt leaders throughout the world, I don’t write this because I’m perfect. I’m fighting to be the best I can be and I screw up every day. I write this because I need this as much as everyone else. I also write this because I’m tired of seeing people beat down by...

3 exercises for evaluating your culture

A reader posted a few questions about the eBook 13 character traits of a great culture: ·        How do you know clearly and for sure that "people are encouraged to take their time"? ·        How do you know clearly and for sure that "people value each other more than...

5 ways to get to know YOURSELF

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He adamantly instructed his students to know themselves in every area of life. Knowing yourself takes hard work, intense contemplation and discipline. Therefore, you must remain committed to learning more about...

3 facts of Othermindedness

WHAT IS OTHERMINDEDNESS? Othermindedness (yes, it’s a made up word) is thinking of others before yourself. It is, to paraphrase St. Paul, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility considering others better than yourself. It’s looking not...

The Power of Appreciation

The Power of Appreciation begins with sincerity. Dale Carnegie stressed this in his timeless book How to Win Friends and Influence people. “Flattery is from the teeth out. Sincere appreciation is from the heart out.” You cannot fake appreciation; it is established by...

The Truth about Confidence

Years ago while teaching I asked all students who struggle with confidence to raise their hands. Every student raised their hand, except one young man. He (we’ll call him Andre) was a star football player, an academic achiever, and attractive. To my shame I thought...

The 7 “If” Questions

My dream has always been to help people live their dreams. Nothing gives me more pleasure than having a “front row seat” in others success. Early in my career I had no clue how to help people live their dreams, I just knew I wanted to help as many people as possible....

Great teams are built on principles, not players

As a basketball coach I know a team cannot win without talent. More importantly I know you can’t win consistently without principles. At a practice a few years ago one of my players was giving me attitude. This kid (let’s call him Tommy) was the most talented player...

3 disciplines to repeat every day

Jim Rohn said, “Success is a few simple disciplines repeated every day and failure is a few simple errors in judgment repeated every day.” He went on to say “discipline weighs ounces and regret weighs tons.” These phrases sank deep early in my career and I decided to...

Looking behind to forge ahead

All great movies, novels, and speeches are built around great stories. As my friend Dale Karmie has said many times, “Life is a story.” Your life is an unfolding story and you have the tremendous opportunity to create it. You have the ability to create adventure,...

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