Topic: Self-Care for Leaders, Teams, and Organizations

Self-care for nonprofit leaders is about mindsets. Our "mental models" about how we are to interpret and react to the volatility of our work often creates unrealistic expectations—consistent feelings of not achieving enough, disappointment, and suffering. In this workshop, participants will identify the mental models they use and engage in exercises to more objectively assess their validity. Next, participants will "visit the brain spa" and practice practical, easy-to-use strategies to lower stress, gain perspective, and increase productivity without adding time. In particular, strategies focused on changing leaders’ relationship with fear will be emphasized. Fear is at the root of many decisions—or lack thereof—that leaders make and often regret. Rather than avoiding, resisting, or masking fear, the strategies shared will provide participants tools for embracing fear, tolerating its discomfort, and learning what it is teaching them. These brain science-inspired strategies transform the limitations of preconceived mindsets and fear-avoidance behavior into alternative habits that increase production, promote equanimity and lead to better decisions with less anxiety.  

Learning Objectives

  • How unrealistic and often harmful mindsets are self-imposed and performance limiting
  • Exercises designed to illuminate realistic perspectives to enhance performance and focus
  • The powerful role fear plays in leadership behavior and decision making
  • Exercises designed to explore the possibility of a new relationship with fear
  • Additional brain-based tools and resources for embedding healthy mindsets and embracing fear  


  • Frank J. Kros, executive vice president and COO, The Children's Guild (@FKros)

Frank J. Kros
Executive Vice President and COO
The Children's Guild

Frank Kros is a career child advocate who has served as a child care worker, child abuse investigator, children’s home administrator, consultant, college professor, attorney, writer, and speaker. He currently serves as president of The Upside Down Organization, executive vice president and COO of The Children’s Guild, and director of the National At Risk Education Network (NAREN).

Kros leads professional development workshops and consultations worldwide to students, parents, educators, child-serving professionals, and their leaders on various topics including brain-based learning, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, neuroscience of the teenage brain, and brain-inspired leadership. He has presented his workshops at national education, and social work conferences and his work has also taken him to Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, Canada and Latvia. In addition to lecturing nationally and internationally, he has co-authored the books Creating the Upside Down Organization: Transforming Staff to Save Troubled Children and Creating the Upside Down Organization: Reinventing Group Care. Kros earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Creighton University, a master’s in social work from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a law degree from Notre Dame Law School.