Entrepreneur Spotlight Carlyn Madden

When it comes to business growth, entrepreneurs must find a core mission. The purpose must be so motivating to their teams and clients that they decide to invest, attend, support, or advance their business. Though Carlyn Madden began as a consultant, her creative vision to bring inclusion and diversity to nonprofit leadership was the driving force that brought acceleration to her business.

Carlyn is the CEO of Good Insight, an executive search firm and government consultancy that serves social impact and nonprofit organizations. Her entrepreneurial vision has evolved from nonprofit consulting to a niche that uniquely positions her to impact philanthropic companies.

Carlyn began her career in philanthropy. However, over time, she moved towards the flexibility and freedom of nonprofit consulting. After about five years into consulting, Carlyn drew observations that made her want to pivot her profession towards a more impactful and meaningful mission. She discovered that there was an increasing need for executive search.

“The vast majority of nonprofit executives are white women. There are structural inequities in hiring practices, homogenous networks…I wanted to approach executive search through an anti-racist lens,” said Carlyn Madden.

When Carlyn considered optimizing her business, she observed inconsistent rate expectations. She realized that there were more sustainable business models with established industry rates.

As Carlyn explored the idea of transitioning her business model, she was accepted to participate in the Washington Area Community Investment Fund’s Ascend Capital Accelerator program. In this multi-week entrepreneur development program, Carlyn accessed valuable information, relationships, and guidance that gave her the knowledge and tools to advance her business.

Based on her experience with nonprofit consulting and philanthropy, Carlyn understood that changing the demographic of the leaders could change the world. With a team of resilient, insightful entrepreneurs cheering her on, Carlyn gained the confidence to restructure her business, gain access to capital, and make her initial team hires.

After this strategic shift, Carlyn’s team grew from one to eight. Carlyn was determined to develop a culture where people could comfortably express their identities without fear of judgment. Good Insight aims to build a racially diverse nonprofit executive workforce, ensuring people can show up as themselves.

“Good Insight reflects optimism about the future. We help good people find good people,” said Carlyn.

The executive search firm also saw a revenue increase, from $200K to over $1M in business in just four years. Carlyn is committed to a laser-sharp focus on the future by recruiting to meet the future demands of nonprofit organizations.