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Licensed Consultant Journey: Robin Talbert, J.D.

The Standards for Excellence® Institute continues to build a national network of qualified nonprofit consultants licensed to provide training, consulting, and support on the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. Standards for Excellence Institute Licensed Consultants come from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences. In anticipation of the upcoming Licensed Consultant Training, we're highlighting the journeys of some of our consultants.

My Standards for Excellence license has made me a better consultant, a better volunteer board member, even a better spouse. 

After a career in-house at a variety of nonprofit organizations, I have spent the last five years consulting. Having worked in a nonprofit think tank after college, a legal services agency after law school, and eventually spending over 20 years at AARP, I thought I knew the sector pretty well. I have always liked variety in my work and moved across departments while at AARP, never staying in one role too long. So eventually, as I began to look for more flexibility and less 9 to 9 stress, consulting seemed worth exploring.  

I was referred by a colleague to Maryland Nonprofits and applied to the three-day Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultant training in 2011. My goals were to: 

  • Identify and fill in gaps in my knowledge on nonprofit management and governance, 
  • Access tools and resources with which to build a consulting practice, and 
  • Gain confidence to market my experience.  

And that’s exactly what the training did. Five years later, the Standards for Excellence Codebook and resources are my go-to for the myriad issues nonprofits face. Whether I am helping an organization create a strategic plan, conducting a survey, or strengthening board and staff relations, I have the Institute's trusted, tested, and thorough materials at my fingertips. In addition, staff are accessible and responsive when I have questions about a particular topic or resource.  

I keep a supply of Codebooks on-hand and give them out freely to potential clients as well as to friends and colleagues in the sector. I rely on the resources for my own volunteer work with organizations and on boards. And finally, since my husband leads a small national advocacy organization, I regularly give him advice and information from Standards. 

He gets my discounted hourly rate.  

-Robin Talbert, J.D., Standards for Excellence Institute Licensed Consultant

The Licensed Consultant Training is an exclusive professional development initiative available annually to a limited number of qualified applicants. To participate in this three-day licensing seminar you must successfully complete an application and screening process, including a review of professional experience conducted by Standards for Excellence Institute staff, and be accepted to the program. Learn more here.

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About the Author: Robin Talbert

Robin Talbert is an accomplished nonprofit consultant dedicated to helping organizations define and achieve their goals. She excels in developing collaborative approaches, leading change, focusing resources, and building organizations that benefit individuals and society. Talbert brings a breadth of experience in nonprofit management, having served as an executive, board member, and consultant for both large and small organizations. As President of the AARP Foundation, Talbert led a staff of more than 200 and a volunteer cadre of more than 38,000 that served low income seniors across the country. During her tenure, revenue more than doubled and nearly one million donors were added. Prior to being appointed head of the Foundation, Talbert served in several leadership roles in AARP. She now brings that experience to her consulting practice, helping organizations to excel in today’s competitive environment. Talbert is a licensed consultant with the Standards for Excellence Institute and an associate consultant for Maryland Nonprofits. A former legal services lawyer, Talbert also served as a volunteer mediator with the DC Superior Court. She has been a speaker at numerous conferences and has been featured on television and radio. She has authored articles on topics such as dispute resolution, philanthropy, aging, and consumer issues. Talbert received a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is based in the DC metropolitan area. Contact Robin: