InterAction CEO Recognized for Leadership in NGO Advocacy and Capacity Building

WASHINGTON—On August 1 the NonProfit Times announced the selection of InterAction CEO Sam Worthington for its 2016 "Power & Influence Top 50” list. This marks Worthington's third selection for the "Power & Influence" list.

For almost two decades, The NonProfit Times has honored exceptional and innovative leaders in the nonprofit sector who have made significant contributions to work both in their communities and the larger NGO community over the past 12 months. In announcing its latest list of the sector’s top executives and strategists, the publication said: "Managing a nonprofit, let alone innovating, is a tall order. Mastering that balance between sustainability and change is why these 50 executives have been selected for the 2016 NPT Power & Influence Top 50.”

Worthington was honored for leading “…more than 200 members to recognize the advocacy role of large NGOs as catalysts and for building local capacity.”  Other InterAction member leaders honored this year include Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children and Douglas Rutzen, President and CEO, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.

Worthington and the other awardees will be honored at a ceremony at the National Press Club next month.

First Person: A Quick Q&A with InterAction CEO Sam Worthington

Q: How did you get your start as a CEO?

A: It was totally unexpected. I was 35 years old and as a Vice President of Programs I had just returned from a long trip to India. Our Board Chair called me on Sunday to say that I was the acting-CEO. My first call on Monday was from the media asking what had happened.


Q: What advice do you have for young professionals entering the global development and humanitarian assistance fields?

A: Getting into the field takes persistence. After a Fulbright fellowship I applied to many InterAction members only to have them turn me down. Don’t hesitate to move overseas to get some international experience. Today’s NGOs are global and they need a workforce from across the world. Your ability to wear a global hat will serve you well for years to come. 

Q: What issues are you excited to work on in the coming year?

A: Our sector is reinventing itself. I am interested in helping donors reframe how they approach U.S. NGOs and shaping their understanding of the sector’s role in the world; influencing the thinking and ability of NGO leaders to increase the long-term relevance and impact of their organizations; and driving change that helps CEOs evolve their organizations to work with new partners and innovative financing.