Rhonda Allen

CEO, /dev/color

Russ sees me as I aspire to see myself.

In the midst of all that’s happening in our world and in my work, Russ is excellent at separating the signal from the noise and coaching me to do the same.

His investment in my success is persistent and unwavering. Our work together provides a level of support and accountability that I need amidst all of the competing commitments and distractions. He helps me ground myself in what I want to be true for myself, my team, my company, and the world.

Russ lives this stuff. He walks the talk of his values and helps me to do the same. Side by side, we work through mission-critical, high-stakes choice points, interrogate the seen and unseen, and land decisions that are increasingly aligned with what I want to be true for myself, my work, and the world.

Photo of Eli Bildner

Eli Bildner

Co-Founder, Rivet School

I didn’t think it was possible to feel known by a near-stranger until I first met Russ.

I’d just introduced myself, I’d spoken for maybe 10 minutes, when Russ’s response conveyed a deeper understanding of me — of my hopes and hang-ups and neuroses — than I could reasonably expect from my closest friends.

Russ is oracular, yes, but hardly austere. Far from it — he’s one of the menschiest people I know. Even in times when we haven’t been working together, hardly a month goes by without an email from Russ asking how I’m doing, or suggesting someone I might connect with.

I would tell you to drop everything and work with Russ, but engaging with Russ never feels like work. Russ is a cultivator of relationships, someone who probes, pushes, and deciphers not as a matter of craft, but as a manifestation of a deep sense of care.

Photo of Meg Busse

Meg Busse

COO, Roddenberry Foundation

You honestly won’t ever meet anyone like Russ. That has its pros and cons. Because this is Russ’ website, let’s focus on the pros. There are a bunch of cliched words that I could use to describe Russ which are 100% true: generous, hilarious, thoughtful, innovative, sincere, perceptive, wise, curious, present, altruistic. How all of those words come together is anything but cliche. Russ is one of those rare folks who gives you his undivided attention, wants you to succeed (maybe more than you do), and can not only help find innovative solutions to the problems you’re dealing with…but help you uncover problems you don’t even know you have.

Russ is one of those folks who is infinitely accessible and easy to talk to. After a bit of time chatting with him though, you also realize that he’s one of the smartest, funniest, most perceptive people out there. There are few folks who are both as humble and multi-faceted as Russ. At a career inflection point? Starting a new organization? Trying to refine your revenue model? Struggling with your board? Want to trade Golden Girls quips or Dolf Lundgren quotes? Need all of the above at the same time? Russ has eons of success stories that he’s too humble to share…but which are a testament to his deep and wide wisdom on personal and professional situations. A conversation with Russ is worth its weight in gold.

I’ve known Russ for well over a decade (only one of us shows their age), and from the first interview in 2007 to the most recent phone call this week, I walk away from every conversation with Russ feeling more at ease, more confident, and more optimistic about what’s possible. I’ve had the good luck to work with Russ in a multitude of different situations – from watching him scale and grow an international nonprofit, to benefitting from his worth-its-weight-in-gold advice on a variety of career pivots, to partnering on building a new fellowship program for activists across the US. In every situation, Russ brings a nuanced view of what’s possible, where the roadblocks are, and what’s needed to help people reach their full potential. Russ not only has an epic track record of success…but legions of devoted fans. The quotes on this page are only a glimpse of the people for whom Russ has had an outsized positive impact. For any question, situation, or issue you’re struggling with, Russ should be your first call. Except dating. But he’s your guy for absolutely everything else.


Kat Calvin

Founder, Spread the Vote

As a founder you’re often isolated and alone. A lot of responsibility rests on your shoulders, people are counting on you, and it is a challenge to find someone who understands what you’re going through. Russ always gets it because he is a founder and he counsels founders. He’s the person you can talk to about the weird, scary, complicated life of running a business or organization and he always has advice, or knows who you should talk to, or will just tell you to chill out this is normal everything is fine. Whether it’s your first or one hundredth time running a business, you need someone outside of your organization who knows what you’re going through and Russ is that person.

Will Cordery

Will Cordery

Donor Advisor, Leverage Philanthropic Partners

As a career coach, Russ listens to both what you’re saying and what you’re not saying. He provides me with thoughtful nudging and kind interrogation that has helped me quickly establish a consulting practice and a strategy for my long-term career trajectory that aligns with my values.

Photograph of Michael Crawford

Michael Crawford

Cultural Director, MoveOn.org

Russ is uniquely passionate about finding the right problems to solve with innovate solutions and about making work better for more people. He makes connections between concepts, ideas and people in ways that open up possibilities grounded in strategic thinking. When I need a thought partner who can help me to see opportunities outside of my current way of thinking, I turn to Russ.


Stefanie Cruz

Founder, DigiGeeks Collective

It's no exaggeration that I wouldn't be where I am today without Russ. During a very difficult time in my career, Russ reminded me that I had options. He helped me to prioritize what mattered most to me and helped me to create the work experience that worked best for me and my family. He's more than a coach, he's a friend, someone you can confide in, and someone who will always be in your corner.

Matt Davis

Matt Davis

Founder, Matt Davis Communications

Russ is more than a coach. He takes a genuine interest in people. He invests in you. Over more than a decade he’s supported me through more career pivots than I can count, been patient when I’ve faced repeated challenges, and given me support over the long and short term at a moment’s notice. There are very few people I’d call immediately in a moment of career or even personal crisis, but Russ is on that list. Likewise, I can honestly say Russ could take credit for more than half of my professional success. He’s modest, so he won’t tell you this. But working with him is like a multiplier effect on your chances of thriving.


Jonathan Lykes

Founder, Liberation House

Russ was the first professional coach I had as a young founder and activist. Over the past three years he has grown to become more of a family member who is willing to journey with me through the unpredictable undertakings of professional life. Whether if I am moving through the difficulty of national political uprisings and pandemics, or dealing with the growing pains of starting an organization, Russ has consistently been in my corner serving as a brilliant thinker that prioritizes building transformative relationships over short term professional transactions. He has supported me with fundraising, organizational development, strategic planning and more. But overall he has been a connector and an extraordinarily gracious human being who dedicates his time to see both the work and lives of founders flourish.


Sam Pressler

Founder, ASAP

After my first few conversations with Russ, I remember thinking, ‘who is this guy?’ Without asking for anything in return, he offered to partner with me throughout my leadership transition–from advising me on communicating with my board, to helping develop the search process, to partnering with me as I worked through the more personal challenges of handing off the organization that had become my sole purpose for the past five years. What stood out was Russ’s true belief in and care for me as a human being. He had no agenda, he just wanted to support me as I worked toward personal and professional fulfillment. In a challenging period of my life, Russ was among the select group of people who I could always count on. I was–and continue to be–deeply grateful for Russ.

Photograph of Ross Morales Rocketto

Ross Morales Rocketto

Co-Founder, Run For Something

When you are in the middle of the storm Russ is an anchor to help you navigate. He is calm and rational in just about every situation. If you're a founder there is basically nothing you can say that he hasn't experienced before, which is comforting and super helpful because he's speaking from deep experience. On top of that, he has an uncanny ability to help you align your values with your actions. Russ is an amazing coach, mentor, and friend.

Edgar Villanueva

Edgar Villanueva

Founder & Principal, Decolonizing Wealth Project

For more than a decade, Russ has been a coach, thought-partner and gifted advisor as I’ve navigated my career options in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.  Russ brings an intersection lens of justice to his work and listening is his superpower.