Laurie Kirkegaard, CFRE

Principal & COO


Laurie has 34 years executive management in higher education, healthcare, and human service/cultural nonprofit organizations as both a consultant and practitioner. She has personally directed 22, multi-million capital campaigns and has provided counsel, coaching and training to over 200 organizations globally. Early in her career she served as: 

1) Executive Director of Development, Alumni Relations and Government Affairs at Rockhurst University; managing six departments

2) Executive Director of Resource Development at the Kansas City Museum- designing a $250 million campaign; and 

3) Associate Vice President and Consultant with IDC, a NY-based consulting firm serving large health care and educational institutions in fundraising campaigns. 

She is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).  Laurie assisted in teaching a graduate management consulting course at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. She is a graduate of Boston College with a degree in Philosophy and participated in the Executive Fellows Business Education program at Rockhurst University.


Laurie’s passion is coaching, teaching and helping client teams achieve their highest 

potential based on shared values and motivational visions. Throughout her career, she has inspired not only client board members and executives. but also visionary philanthropists to achieve higher aspirations. 

James Kirkegaard

Principal & CEO


Jim has 32 years experience designing business strategies, operating systems and sustainable business models for domestic and international organizations in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. He was employed by The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Enterprises for ten years, and other fortune 100 companies directing large infrastructure and technology projects. Additionally, Jim has served worldwide nonprofit organizations with NPL Impact Consulting.  Jim’s perspective from both the nonprofit and for-profit worlds allows him to design and implement measurable returns, whether they be financial or social. He has helped multiple corporations to actualize their corporate social responsibility platforms by way of connecting them to impactful global charities. Jim is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He is a graduate of Washburn University with a degree in business and accounting. He also studied at The University of Copenhagen and Loyola University of New Orleans.


Jim focuses on a holistic approach to critical thinking, integration of resources and planning-- always seeking innovative and effective solutions to recurring problems.

NPL Consultant Resources

Zia Khan - Design Strategist

  • Zia has led the NPL team in client branding and communication processes for organizations such as LightHawk, HeritX (a startup enterprise to help eliminate BRCA cancer), The Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General and others. He has 25+ years experience as a designer, and founded and led a 10-person communication design/branding firm for 20 years. Zia continues to launch additional business ventures. His work at NPL has involved working with boards and executive leadership during key inflection points to identify innovative and pragmatic ways to reposition themselves in current and new markets. Working with other NPL strategists, designers and storytellers, Zia uses contextual research, critical analysis and design thinking to surface unexpected opportunities for clients.

    Bangalore University-Physics, Math Geology 1978-1981
    Portfolio Center-Graphic Design 1984-1986
    Emory University Goizueta School of Business-Executive Education 2008
    Yale School of Management-Executive Education 2012  

Eleni Jakub - Corporate Research Strategist

  •  Eleni has worked for NPL Impact Consulting since 2006, as a Research and Strategic Networking Strategist.  She has served clients such as The Order of St. John, Earth University, The Fund for American Studies, LightHawk, and many others, helping to design strategic networking systems for finding philanthropists “off the grid” and corporate partners that might not be on everyone’s suspected list. Eleni has been a faculty member at the NPL Learning Center© instructing NPL clients in the firm’s unique research techniques. Prior to working at NPL, Eleni was a Vice President Business Development for the Americas at global business consultancy Control Risks Group (CRG) which works for 98 of the Fortune 100 companies. Also worked as a Senior Management Consultant for CRG helping companies expand into Western and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  Prior to that Eleni worked in various analystical capacities for the US government in the US and abroad. She has a Master of Arts in International Relations and Affairs from Lancaster University 1985-1986 , and a B.A. from American University in International Global Studies 1982-1985. 

Melissa Chaikhof - Research Analyst

  • Melissa has contributed her talents to NPL since 2002, servicing clients across continents such as the Children’s Hospital of Costa Rica, Earth University, Lighthawk, Rotary International, the National Geographic Education Foundation, Advocates for Children, Global Soap, Hopital Sacre Coeur in Haiti, the Order of St. John and others. Her approach in matching foundations, corporations and individuals with clients is highly strategic and involves an integrated process with the full NPL design team to surface new leads and prospects both in the US and elsewhere with stake in our client’s missions. Melissa is a faculty member and trainer at the NPL Learning Center © where we share our donor research methodology with clients. Prior to her work at NPL, Melissa was Outreach Director for the Auditory-Verbal Center of Atlanta and a Systems Analyst at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA. She is one of the founders and current President of Usher 1F Collaborative, Inc.,  Melissa holds an M.S. in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in applied math. She lives with her husband, Elliot Chaikof, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, Department of Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. 

Mitch Apley - Digital Content Producer & Storyteller

  • Mitch is a seasoned producer and an innovator in the digital marketplace. He has collaborated with the NPL team to produce high quality short films for NPL clients such as The National Geographic Society, Communities in Schools, The Coca-Cola Company (on philanthropic initiatives such as the C5 National Youth Association), The National Counsel for Geographic Education and the National Black Arts Festival. Mitch and the NPL Principals have developed a unique platform for telling each organization’s unique story in a manner to attract corporate sponsors and long-term funders. In so doing, Mitch and the NPL team have also profiled stories of client sponsors such as Walgreens, Abbott Laboratories, Nissan, GameStop, Cardno, ESRI, StanTek and others. Mitch is Senior Director of Broadcast|Print Production at Abelson-Taylor in Chicago. Prior to that, he was an Executive Producer for Resolution Digital Studios and Senior Producer at Post Effects. He worked on high profile projects with ABC and other networks, including a two-hour special for A&E with Kurtis Productions about the complex relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Hosted by Bill Kurtis, this special ran several times in 2003, and received solid ratings and critical acclaim.

Maureen Darcey - Corporate Community Affairs Strategist

  • Maureen joined the NPL team in July, 2017 with a 25-year background in corporate community affairs with particular expertise in diversity inclusion (D&I). Prior to working at NPL, Maureen was Chief of Staff for diversity and inclusion initiatives at Georgia Power. In her role, she was responsible for envisioning and managing employee engagement to enhance the company’s recruitment, innovation, retention, and brand. She is proficient in designing best-practice strategies to drive business performance through training, leadership development, employee resource groups, community outreach, and metrics. In addition, Maureen was a collaborative community relations/nonprofit leader working to enhance the impact of nonprofits and grassroots organizations with a focus on education, diversity, health, community development, and advocacy. This included not only decision-making authority on the outlay of Georgia Power’s corporate/foundation funding to these community focuses, but also working directly with nonprofits at all levels of board membership and as acting CEO. Maureen has served on numerous boards in Atlanta and elsewhere as a volunteer. Maureen is a graduate of the University of Florida with a B.B.A. in Computer Science. She also is certified through Boston College in the area of Corporate Community Involvement and is a Harvard Executive Education fellow in Nonprofit Excellence. 

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