David Dahlin

CEO

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As CEO of Geneva Global, David brings over 30 years of social sector leadership experience to help clients achieve their philanthropic goals and visions. He has expertise in strategy development, organizational design, program management and communications. With his ability to connect deeply with people and facilitate critical conversations, he is a valuable partner in the design and delivery of philanthropic strategies.

David is passionate about helping individuals and organizations release their potential and increase their effectiveness. He is an advocate for the social sector and the role that it plays in creating vibrant and healthy society. His interests are broad and integrated, ranging from international development to arts and culture, from human rights to environmental sustainability, from health and fitness to spirituality and philosophy. He believes that individuals and communities need a wide diversity of experiences and broad options of expression to thrive and achieve their potential.

David spent much of his career in international development with one of the world’s largest child-focused charities, Compassion International. As Executive Vice President, he managed a $650 million annual budget, 3,000 global staff, 7,000 project sites and 50,000 volunteers. He was responsible for all aspects of global operations including strategic planning, program design, marketing and communications, fundraising, finance, HR, and IT. He has extensive global experience and cross-cultural skills and has traveled to over 50 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

More recently, David was CEO of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, that region’s oldest and largest cultural institution.  He led an organizational turnaround to help the financially-struggling organization achieve sustainability by building a coalition of board members, donors, staff, and community leaders to broker a merger that resulted in expanded programs and an additional $30 million of endowed funds.

As an independent consultant, David has advised a range of clients on organizational strategy and design, board management, and business expansion opportunities.

David earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. Olaf College and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He studied theology at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary and went on to earn his Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas.

What book, film or quote has shaped the way you think?

The most challenging and enlightening book I have read in the last decade is “The Marriage of Sense and Soul” by Ken Wilbur. He brilliantly articulates new ways to think about the intersections of science and spirituality and envisions a way forward that reconciles seemingly irreconcilable truths.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I don’t know yet. Ask me in a year.

Who or what has inspired you to do the work that you do?

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror!” Whether you’re a Michael Jackson fan or not, these are pretty good words to live by. More fundamentally, I grew up with parents dedicated to doing good and my sisters and I were raised to be of service and to consider how we can best be of benefit to society.

Why did you decide to work at Geneva Global?

I was a Boy Scout and one of the maxims of scouting is to “leave the campground better than you found it.” I have some grave concerns about the planet and human society and what kind of world we will be leaving for our children and grandchildren. Geneva Global is unleashing the potential of the philanthropic sector that can transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people and create a sustainable future. If I can do that for my kids and grandkids and yours, why not?!

What’s an interesting fact that others would not know about you?

I was struck by lightning when I was 14 years old. That may explain a lot.

What’s your best travel advice?

Pack light. Just don’t forget your passport and two credit cards.