Learn from the experience of our winners!

The annual EXCEL Award goes beyond honoring exceptional nonprofit leadership in our region; it serves as a platform for exploring innovative practices that drive excellence.

Presenting the Center’s 4th annual EXCEl Video Shorts, featuring insightful interviews with remarkable leaders. Meet award winner Ari Brooks from Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, along with honorable mentions Gabby Mulnick Majewski of the DC Affordable Law Firm and Dr. Donney John of NOVA ScriptsCentral.

First release: Getting Comfortable Being Innovative

Cast: Ari Brooks, Executive Director at Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC)
Guest appearance: Trevor Williams, representing GRF CPAs & Advisors, EXCEL Award sponsor

In our first interview, we explore the multifaceted nature of innovation, which can differ based on an individual’s career stage, an organization’s life cycle, or the scale of its resources. The availability of resources that foster innovation often plays a pivotal role. While not everyone naturally possesses creative or innovative skills, embracing these qualities becomes indispensable for leaders. In our conversation with Ari Brooks, we delve into her transformative journey, focusing on how she cultivated an innovative and visionary leadership mindset.

Second release: Innovation Through Partnerships

Cast: Dr. Donney John, Executive Director of NOVA ScriptsCentral
Guest appearance: Trevor Williams, representing GRF CPAs & Advisors, EXCEL Award sponsor

In this discussion, we delve into the nature of innovation needed when organizations lack the sole authority, power, or resources to fulfill their missions or visions. Highlighting the necessity of collaboration with other entities to reach agreements and achieve objectives, we delve into Dr. Donney John’s viewpoint regarding partnerships and their practical importance.

Third release: Taking Risks to Innovate

Cast: Gabby Mulnick Majewski, DC Affordable Law Firm
Guest appearance: Trevor Williams, representing GRF CPAs & Advisors, EXCEL Award sponsor

Upon assuming leadership of her organization a mere two months before the pandemic, Gabby faced an urgent call for innovation to navigate this challenging period. Throughout her tenure, she not only maintained existing services but also led their expansion, achieving remarkable success. In this interview, we delve into the journey filled with crucial decisions and the necessity of taking calculated risks amidst uncertainty to move forward.

Congratulations to the 2023 EXCEL Award Winner!

Ari Brooks, Executive Director, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County

Ari Z. Brooks boasts extensive expertise as a fundraiser and nonprofit manager, having occupied leadership roles in three not-for-profit organizations for over twenty-five years across Maryland and Pennsylvania. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to mobilizing and motivating the community to contribute volunteer efforts and philanthropic aid to meaningful initiatives. As FOLMC executive director, Ari leads one of the largest Friends groups in the DC region.

And we’d like to congratulate our honorable mentions:
Gabby Mulnick Majewski, Executive Director, DC Affordable Law Firm
Dr. Donney John, Executive Director, NOVA ScriptsCentral

Click on their names to learn more about these individuals, and stay tuned for our upcoming series of video shorts reflecting on best practices! Thank you to our sponsor, GRF CPAs & Advisors, and selection committee for their continued time and efforts.