Meet Lon L. Swartzentruber

Lon L. Swartzentruber

Hi, I'm Lon!

Here to help you with more than 25 years of professional experience in strategic planning, fundraising, and organizational transformation & change.

I have walked alongside organizational leaders to help them articulate their vision, build consensus, obtain funding, and engage true and lasting change to realize that vision.

I earned my B.A. in Business from Goshen College and earned an MBA from George Mason University.

As an executive leadership coach credentialed by the International Coach Federation, Executive Process Consultant credentialed by the Society for Process Consulting, and an Accredited Practitioner with iEQ9 Integrative Enneagram, I am here to support you in a variety of ways.

Lon's Expertise & Certifications

Walking alongside leaders to help them articulate their vision, build consensus, obtain funding, and engage true and lasting change to realize that vision.

 EPC     ACC iEQ9 Accredited Practitioner (1)

 

How Can I Walk Alongside You and Your Organization?

Individual & Team Coaching

Coaching is walking alongside a leader by partnering with them in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

Executive leadership coaching is not about providing answers to questions. Coaching is about asking questions and providing a framework for a client to understand what help might look like and create a clear path forward.

Design Group International utilizes a co-active coaching process that develops a collaborative coaching relationship, an alliance, between two equals for the purpose of meeting the client's leadership goals.

 

Discover More:

  • Learn more about individual coaching.
  • Read more about the dynamics of highly effective teams.
Organizational Governance and Relational Leadership

Being a board member is perhaps the most difficult and challenging work in organizational leadership. Being the chief executive in that room has its own set of unique challenges. It is no small task to occupy either of these two roles.

The field of board governance and the writing that surrounds it is as complex as brain surgery and as opaque as a starless night. We need a different approach.

Understanding the relational nuances of governance takes a keen listening ear, a willingness to be vulnerable, and a deep commitment to the core underlying purpose of the organization you shepherd. 

By taking a step back to take a look at the purpose of this governing relationship is an excellent place to start developing your organization's governance model and the relationships necessary to implement it. 

 

What People Are Saying:

"Sometimes, as a nonprofit leader, one needs to make space to question things. How am I leading? What is the true potential of our organization? What is it about my personal experience that drives me to be passionate about this work?

These are the things typically questioned with other nonprofit leaders during happy hour, but those quickly turn into complaint sessions. Engaging Lon Swartzentruber to facilitate that sort of inquiry for both our leadership team and our board was a much more effective use of our time! After working with Lon, we all came away with a better understanding of how our personal strengths added to our mission, and more importantly, gave the board and senior staff permission to think beyond "the way we have always done things."

Under Lon's guidance, our leadership team grew closer and our board started thinking more courageously about our impact as an organization. If you are looking for someone to challenge your assumptions, push you to dig deeper, and help you envision a better and brighter future, Design Group International will help you find your way there."

- Jason Meyer, President/CEO @ Blandford Nature Center

 

Discover More:

  • Read a Case Study about my work with Blandford Nature Center.
Leadership Transition & Succession Planning

There is a lot packed into the words leadership transition and succession planning.

Some people may not even want to talk about it, others wish to push it off for a while, and still others believe that it should have started long ago.

An important place to begin is by asking why. Why do we want to be about a leadership transition and succession plan in the first place? Asking questions like this takes leadership, foresight, and sincere desire to live into the mission of the organization for years to come.

Developing a leadership transition and succession planning process that works for your organization requires listening, understanding, and helping you articulate a way forward that captures people's imagination, passion, and engagement.

By walking alongside you, together we co-create a plan that crafts the future of the organization as it emerges.

To learn more click here.

 

What People Are Saying:

"Lon took the time to explore what ‘transition’ meant to me, even when I didn’t know what it all meant at first. By using a process approach, Lon created space to pose questions, to help me get at what I really wanted to accomplish through my founder transition and succession plan.

Instead of bringing a canned approach, Lon walked alongside me to discovery my pathway forward as it was being revealed. In doing so, Lon helped me use my skills and gifts in analysis that I’m most comfortable with to develop the plan that I needed. At the end of the day, this was my transition, and this approach made it much more personal and tailored to me.

Lon also helped me think through and develop a timeframe for transition that I could tackle. Rather than being overwhelmed by it, Lon helped me realize that I was already part of the way through my transition and that it was a process and not a single event or point in time.

Our next step was to break down my ‘job description’ into components. We went from an unwritten role to defining several roles, including Founder, CEO, as well as President, all of which was extremely helpful. In addition, I’ve appreciated Design Group International’s faith-based approach to everything they do. Lon is very comfortable to work with and someone that I had no problem sharing confidential information with.
"

- Thomas Nobel, Founder @ Baruch Senior Ministries

Transformative Strategic Planning

Begin with the end in mind.

Understanding why your organization exists and rediscovering its true purpose is a critical first step in casting a bold vision for the future.

Crafting a comprehensive and transformative plan can take place when there is alignment to the shared vision, mission, and values for your organization.

Developing a planning process that works for your organization requires listening, understanding, and articulating a way forward that captures people's imagination, passion, and engagement.

Read more here.

 

What People Are Saying:

"Bellevue Christian School is a 70+-year-old institution with a deep reverence for the vision of its founders. It is at the same time in one of the most competitive independent school markets in the country. Developing a strategic plan that would address our future needs while honoring the past seemed a difficult needle to thread.

Thankfully, we were blessed to work with the good people at Design Group International. The process consulting methodology led us to ask the questions we needed to answer about our school and produced an exciting plan for our future. The encouragement and support provided by Lon Swartzentruber and Matt Visser helped us craft a clear vision for our school, and importantly, kept us on track to deliver the plan on time and budget.

Design Group International cares about the institutions that they engage with. Beyond the scope of their work, we benefitted from executive coaching, assistance with the transition of a brand-new chief advancement offer, and even a gift at our auction. I am pleased to give Design Group International my highest recommendation.
"

- Kevin Dunning, Head of School @ Bellevue Christian School

Comprehensive Capital Campaigns

Implementing a comprehensive capital campaign is an essential component to transforming and equipping your organization for the future.

Understanding why your campaign is needed is a critical first step in correctly positioning it in the hearts and minds of your donors and broader community.

Far too few organizations take advantage of critical advancement efforts that focus on building authentic donor relationships, major donor development, and robust volunteer engagement.

Learn more about the 3 Essential Elements to your next successful fundraising campaign.

 

Authentic Advancement

High-quality transformative advancement efforts are essential in order to achieve the mission of any non-profit organization.

By focusing on developing authentic donor relationships that are built on trust and shared purpose helps position a long-lasting relationship for success.

Equipping board members, executive directors, and advancement professionals to approach donor relationships from this perspective ensures that a true partnership exists.

Please read 3 Steps for Building Authentic Donor Relationships to learn more.
Process Design

One of the most significant leadership challenges of our day is to manage complexity. When we propose to do something new, or unfamiliar, or even something that we have done before, it is often helpful to make sure we have a solid process to help us get to where we need to go.

Process Design has many benefits, including:
  1. Understanding WHY you are wanting to do what it is you are wanting to do.
  2. Deliberately thinking through WHO is involved in the process and what role they play.
  3. Unpacking WHAT deliverables and desired outcomes you seek from the work being undertaken to achieve the WHY.
  4. Clearly articulating HOW you will proceed to achieve the outcomes and deliverables you desire, outlining WHO will be doing what along the way.
  5. Creating a road map for WHEN these deliverables and processes will be achieved.

Publications & Resources

4 Dynamics of
Highly Effective Teams

eBook

The People-Centered School: How COVID Helped
Us Find Our Focus
Published Article
A Cause
Greater

Blog

What Clients Say About Lon

"Design Group International’s listening, helping, and learning approach didn’t tell us what to do; they didn’t drop a list of recommendations my desk. Lon helped us get to where we could come up with our own answers and make our own decisions. He facilitated us through that process.

Once the whole board agreed what the community really valued and wanted from Blandford Nature Center, only then could the board and leadership together work as a cohesive unit and craft a plan forward."

"Lon took the time to explore what ‘transition’ meant to me, even when I didn’t know what it all meant at first. By using a process approach, Lon created space to pose questions, to help me get at what I really wanted to accomplish through my founder transition and succession plan.

Instead of bringing a canned approach, Lon walked alongside me to discovery my pathway forward as it was being revealed. In doing so, Lon helped me use my skills and gifts in analysis that I’m most comfortable with to develop the plan that I needed. At the end of the day, this was my transition, and this approach made it much more personal and tailored to me.

Lon also helped me think through and develop a timeframe for transition that I could tackle. Rather than being overwhelmed by it, Lon helped me realize that I was already part of the way through my transition and that it was a process and not a single event or point in time."

 "Lon has become an invaluable partner to Stepping Stones Montessori School over the past two years as we have developed our strategic plan. He asks lots of “why” questions and ties discussions and plans back to our mission and back to our philosophy. By starting with the big picture first, the details made so much more sense, and for Montessori professionals, that has been a great gift. Lon observes our team, asks great questions, and then listens with intent.

As a result, our school has a strategic plan that fits our school. We did not end up with something that is cookie cutter or that only follows a formulated process."

Jason Meyer, CEO, Blandford Nature Center Tom Nobel, Founder, Baruch Senior Ministries Elizabeth Topliffe, Head of School, Stepping Stones Montessori School
Jason Meyer, CEO, Blandford Nature Center
Tom Nobel, Founder, Baruch Senior Ministries
Elizabeth Topliffe, Head of School, Stepping Stones Montessori School

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