Dan Leal

  • Name
  • Dan Leal
  • Title
  • Executive Director
  • Organization
  • Seedling
  • Years as Executive Director
  • 10 months (started end of August 2017)

  • What does your organization do?
  • Seedling provides innovative research-driven, school-based mentoring for children of incarcerated parents in the Greater Austin area. Seedling has provided mentoring since 2006 upon the request of principals in Austin ISD seeing the increasing needs of this hidden population of children. Seedling provided mentoring for 597 children in the 2017-18 school year and seeks to grow by 10 percent for the upcoming school year.
  • How did you become interested in this work?
  • I had a cousin who was incarcerated, and I befriended a volunteer at a former organization who had been in prison his whole life. Both of these men had children who did not have their father for a large portion of their childhood. This brought different consequences for the children as they grew older, and I know mentoring would have made a huge difference.
  • What drives your passion?
  • Serving and bringing attention to causes involving children who have had adverse childhood experiences.
  • Did you have a mentor or role model?
  • My grandmother was a great role model for me during my childhood. I also had a great volunteer mentor in my previous job. Today, I am proud to call Tod Marvin a mentor and One Voice Buddy! Thank you Tod!
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?
  • My biggest challenge is wanting to do too many things to elevate the organization while not driving my staff crazy.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?
  • "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?
  • A. Be humble not afraid to ask for advice and help. B. Consider your Board your teammates and a valuable resource for you. C. Take good care of your people, and they will do great things to advance your organization.

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