You've Gotta Have Heart

You've Gotta Have Heart

You've Gotta Have Heart

You've Gotta Have Heart


We all know that the definition for success in the corporate world is fairly straightforward. To be considered great, companies first need to turn a profit. For organizations in the social sector, however, the challenge is much bigger. To be truly effective, they must stay relevant and, above all, stay true to their mission. For the past thirty-five years, Cass Wheeler has ensured that the American Heart Association has fulfilled its calling to save lives and educate the public about heart disease by adopting some of the same strategies used in the for-profit sector.

In You've Gotta Have Heart, he shows people at all levels of a nonprofit how to make sure their hard work really pays off. Using examples of some of the American Heart Association and others, Wheeler reveals the leadership skills that will help employees, volunteers, and board members excel at their jobs, become good role models, and build a more visionary, creative, and disciplined nonprofit organization. Readers will discover:

why a mission statement is not the same as a sense of mission
• the characteristics of successful nonprofit leaders
• how to combine the nonprofit mission with the management lessons of the business world
• how to define an organization's core values and business model

Filled with honest, practical, and thoughtful lessons from the author's own experience, this book will ensure that nonprofits of every size continue to do great and be great.


When Jeannie was born in February 1986, she was to be immediately given up for adoption. But because she had a serious heart defect and other medical issues, her adoptive parents-to-be backed out.

A second family, the Bornemanns, claimed Jeannie as their daughter. They saw her for the first time when she was just three days old. She had IVs in her head, chest, and both hands and feet, and she had tubes in her nose.

Their first words were “Hi, teeny Jeannie! Mommy and Daddy are here!”

Jeannie had an extremely rare set of conditions—transposition of the great vessels, pulmonary stenosis, and a ventricular septal defect. Her heart’s chambers and arteries were reversed. Not much was known about this condition then—more research was desperately needed.

Jeannie’s doctors inserted a flexible tube called a shunt to increase blood flow. It was all they could do. They hoped that she would get bigger and stronger and that research would provide new knowledge and tools to help them help her.

Jeannie didn’t grow normally. When she was 5, she weighed just 22 pounds and was 29 inches tall. But she was finally strong enough for the corrective surgery that doctors had been waiting to do.

Jeannie’s quality of life improved a lot after her surgery. She went to school, played T-ball and soccer, and followed her medical instructions without complaint. Despite a severe hearing impairment, she became a fanatic music lover, especially the music of Elvis. She loved people . . .

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