Jeanne Drake Ward

Jeanne Drake Ward's areas of expertise include strategic planning, board development and governance, leadership development, program and organizational development, and volunteer development. Ward's consulting work is rooted in more than 20 years in the nonprofit human and social service arena, including more than 15 years in nonprofit management consulting, case management services, and government-contracted program administration. She's put her expertise to work at organizations providing citywide services in New York City and statewide services in Georgia, as well as through her speeches, writing, and workshops.

Prior to joining GCN, Ward operated her own consulting firm, focused on building nonprofit capacity through strategic planning, board documents, and leadership development. Ward has also worked internationally, facilitating volunteer development and projects for the International Bilingual Montessori School in Frankfurt, Germany. Her foundational experience running programs in a 300-bed men’s shelter, serving mentally ill inmates transitioning back into the community, and supporting a welfare-to-work population as they rejoin the workforce allows her to understand and empower the social service organizations she works with. Ward's focus is always on utilizing the strength of leaders, managing processes, and monitoring outcomes.  

Ward is also the founder and current Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, providing a unique curriculum in physical, social, and emotional topics. She co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the Social Service Career Network (sponsored by Georgia’s chapter of the National Association of Social Workers), and organized a summit for NAMI Georgia that was attended by more than 100 organizations. In addition, Ward has held board leadership roles for multiple local and statewide organizations.  

Ward holds an MSW and an MA in forensic psychology from the City University of New York, and a BA in psychology from Emory University. She is also an avid runner and loves being outdoors, especially with friends. When not running for exercise, Ward is usually chasing after her nine-year-old son.

“Jeanne’s obvious command of the subject matter, and the depth of her experience, really made a difference as she guided us through the arduous but very important process of strategic planning. She did an excellent job working with groups and with individuals. She always kept me updated, and delivered on every commitment. In the end, we created a solid, workable plan for fulfilling our aspirations that won the enthusiasm of the board and staff. We could not have done it without Jeanne.”

—Robert Kinsey, CEO, Spruill Center for the Arts

“We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support and resourcefulness in guiding us through the formative stages of setting up our board.  Your insights on the positive dynamics between board and school leadership have been key in helping us create an organizational structure that values and maximizes each of our strengths. ”

—Ande Noktes, Founder and Head of School , Midtown International School 

“Today’s experience changed the way we see ourselves as individuals, as leaders, and as board members. That is no small feat. Jeanne’s passion for empowering others is evident, and her ability to do so is impressive. Thank you for contributing your talent to the development of our board and each of us.”
—Tanya Washington, Board President, The Kindezi School, 2010-12, and Professor of Law at Georgia State University   


Strategic planning
Board development 
Leadership development
Program development 
Program administration
Organizational development
Volunteer development
Case management services


The Kindezi Schools
Georgia Chess Association
Bluehair Technology Group
Midtown International School
Dress for Success Atlanta
Zoetic Dance Ensemble
United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Regional Commission on Homelessness
Macon Arts Alliance
Theatre Macon
Tubman Museum 
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
New American Pathways
Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential
Spruill Center for the Arts