Visionary Leader. Humble Mentor.

Visionary Leader. Humble Mentor.

When word gets out that the top leaders of a nonprofit in a small town have been misappropriating funds and behaving unethically, everybody hears about it. Everybody. And it’s up to the board to act quickly with integrity to find someone who can immediately step-in and LEAD—someone to help stop the bleeding, begin the healing process internally AND mend relationships with donors and the community externally. 

When today’s guest, Gino DeMaio, was approached to temporarily lead his organization through their crisis, he was totally up for the challenge. Under his leadership (which, by the way, is no longer temporary), the organization was completely transformed from the inside out. 

Listen in to this episode as Gino shares how he dared to lead his staff with vulnerability, how he discovered and developed leaders from existing staff, and how he has successfully repaired the relationship between board and staff and rebuilt trust between organization and the community.

It’s Mental Health Month, and I couldn’t let the month end without interviewing Gino DeMaio, the CEO of Sound Community Services in New London, Connecticut. I can’t wait for you to meet him, hear about his journey into nonprofit leadership, and learn about the important work SCS is doing to help young adults prioritize mental health. 

📌 Check out our Pinterest Board for Mental Health Awareness

🎧 Click here to listen to this week’s episode:

About Gino DeMaio

Gino in front of his book shelves

Here are the book shelves we discussed in the podcast. #jealous

Gino DeMaio, Chief Executive Officer of Sound Community Services, has always had a true passion for grassroots development and implementing change through action. His leadership style is about creating a shared vision and influencing those around him. His goal is to bring what he knows and what he is passionate about to his agency, the community and those served.

Before accepting the position of Chief Executive Officer, Gino embarked on a 20-year distinguished leadership career with the State of Connecticut, working with Commissioners from DMHAS, DDS & DCF where he was instrumental in creating and implementing a forensic services division that permanently changed the way agencies work in collaboration to influence change.

More notably, this division changed how individuals with Developmental Disabilities were handled when they encountered the Judicial, Probate and Mental Health Systems by changing standards and influencing outcomes around Competency to Stand Trial for these individuals.

🔗 Connect with Gino on LinkedIn

These legal and clinical efforts reduced the recidivism rate and influenced and forever changed the lives of individuals with Developmental Disabilities who encountered the Judicial, Probate and Mental Health systems. This development also led to the allocation of millions of dollars per year to divert individuals who would have otherwise been institutionalized or incarcerated without its development.

After spending almost 20 years traveling around the State of Connecticut influencing change in most cities in the region, Gino is elated to be able to use his leadership skills to influence change at Sound Community Services and the City of New London, a place where he is wholeheartedly grateful to call home.

In his downtime, Gino enjoys sharing his love of photography, music, and sailing with his beautiful wife, Lisa. They can often be found taking in the natural beauty that Southeastern Connecticut and Long Island Sound has to offer.

Sound Community Services

Connect with Sound Community Services:

Mentioned in This Episode:

Articles that Document the Change and Impact of SCS:

Here are my favorite Brené Brown books (a.k.a. ALL of them). What are some of your favorite leadership books? Share your list in the comments below.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.
I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough"

The Your Nonprofit Life Podcast is produced by the


Nonprofit Leadership Lab

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What's your reaction?


  • Frances
    Posted May 25, 2020 2:09 pm 0Likes

    So glad you are doing this and putting out such great information.

    What a blessing you are to the world!

    • Laura
      Posted May 25, 2020 3:38 pm 0Likes

      Thank you, Frances. That means a lot coming from you! 🧡

  • Susan
    Posted May 26, 2020 11:28 pm 0Likes

    Beautiful podcast…such important work — in trauma informed services, those who fall between the cracks, the challenges in various life circumstances, the populations in between…Proud of your work my friend. Continue the tremendous work you are doing Gino. Not at all surprised. But it still makes me smile. #ItMatters

    • Laura
      Posted May 26, 2020 11:38 pm 0Likes

      Thank you. It’s an honor to interview such amazing leaders!

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