Tosca B.

Principal Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Author at Five Oaks Consulting, Inc.

Nonprofit Organization Management

Education: Leiden University, the Netherlands - Leiden University, the Netherlands
Syracuse, NY, USA


Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken is an international speaker, consultant, team coach, and facilitator. She has worked on (inter)national nonprofit issues for 30 years, in practice, in academia, as an author and thought leader, and as an independent consultant. Her work with nonprofit leaders focuses on leadership development, team coaching, change management, governance, organizational culture, talent strategies, and organizational effectiveness. Tosca's clients include major global nonprofit brands such as Amnesty International, Oxfam International, Greenpeace International, World Vision International, and many others; she has also served small and start-up nonprofits that have ambitions to move mountains.

Tosca is co-author of the book ‘Between Power and Irrelevance: the Future of Transnational NGOs’ and is the host of the podcast NGO Soul+Strategy. She is a Core Practitioner at Corentus team coaching company, a renowned provider of team coaching to nonprofits and private sector organizations alike. Tosca founded a course on Virtual Team Leadership. She has served as a board member of several nonprofit organizations and trains other nonprofits in effective board governance.

The name of Tosca’s consulting practice, Five Oaks Consulting, is a translation of her difficult-to-pronounce Dutch last name 😊. While the Netherlands was her original home country, Tosca has lived in Upstate New York since 2001. She has also lived in Ireland, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, and Vietnam and has traveled to many other countries for work as well as speaking engagements.


It's my passion to provide rigorous, high-quality, evidence-based, and research-backed leadership development to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. This includes coaching, team coaching, change management advice, board development, and virtual team leadership skills. Too much of the content offered on these topics lacks these qualities. Let's do something about that!

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

I generally get paid for speaking but make exceptions


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Best Story

I am of Dutch origin, and we tend to be thought of as very planful, often 'overly structured' people :). You should hear my husband Jim Bruno comment on that! Yet, most of my career journey has been shaped by fluke and coincidence. I learned quickly I need to go with the flow, be flexible - and *always* keep learning. This allowed me to gain experience across five sectors -- think tanks, management consulting groups, the United Nations, World Bank, academia, and (now) running my consulting, coaching, and speaking practice. Not to speak about 4 continents! *And* I learned many new vantage points and world views along the way! So how's that for learning to be flexible and agile?

Origin Story

As a speaker, consultant and coach I serve the 'do good' sector. Yet, from the time I was a student, I was skeptical of a do-gooder mentality; I was clear that I wanted to work on public issues and public causes rather than private sector concerns, but primarily I wanted to aim to do good quality work. And now, there is rightfully a lot more critical analysis in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors on what some call the 'helper' mentality. I am glad I had this instinct from the beginning!

Example talks

Transforming Together: Navigating the Human Side of Organizational Change

The short (21-minute) sample talk which I link to below was recorded in my own office at the request of a client for a cohort of nonprofit and local government leaders. The client permitted me to share it. This talk is a sample of how I cover crucial evidence-based concepts and frameworks for how people at work navigate organizational change. I discuss what employees go through when experiencing big organizational change processes, the psychology of change, and what to expect as a change leader or change manager.

My more extensive signature talk offers you practical tools for how to communicate about change, how to interpret as well as navigate resistance to change, and why a large percentage of big organizational change projects fail to achieve their objectives - and what to do about it as a leader.

While the example talk below was prepared for nonprofit and local government leaders, the lessons shared are just as valid for managers and leaders in the private sector:

Here's an example of a blog post I wrote about change management in the nonprofit sector, after having headed a team that performed an External Assessment of the effectiveness of Amnesty International's change management approach during a big wave of change:

And here is a short introduction to my identity as a public speaker:

Virtual and Hybrid Team Leadership: rediscovering the joy of leading your team

Are you still struggling with lagging motivation in your virtual or hybrid teams? Difficulty building trusting relationships, that lead to candor and boost performance? Still missing experiencing moments of joy in your team? Wasting time with inefficient communication? No idea how to manage conflicts in the virtual space?

It does not have to be this way! Virtual and/or hybrid teams are here to stay. This is the time for you and your organization to invest in your virtual team leadership skills! Because, while some leadership skills that are valuable in co-located teams apply just as much to virtual ones, some challenges and some solutions are distinct to virtual and hybrid teams. It is a myth to think there are no differences, and I will help you learn how to navigate these differences.

At the end of my talk, you will walk away with proven, evidence-based tools for managing and leading your virtual or hybrid teams that will lead to greater team performance and effectiveness and a more cohesive team. These tools work across international teams and have been validated by many other nonprofit leaders who have taken my training sessions. See what other nonprofit leaders said about the difference my content made to their team leadership skills:

If you want to rediscover joy as a virtual or hybrid team leader, then invite me as your next speaker!

Here's an example of the many times I have blogged about virtual team leadership essentials - and note: this was well *before* the global pandemic!

Beyond DEI training: evidence-based organizational practices that actually work

In the past few years, nonprofits have followed the lead of many corporations and government entities and adopted diversity and inclusion *training*. But what’s the evidence that these actually are helpful? Not much, when you look at it closely. In this session, let’s discuss what really works, based on research-proven, evidence-based practices.

Here's an example of how I think about these things:

Speaking Engagements

2024 Women’s Global Leadership Forum

Shared Leadership: Swift Decision Making, Strong Teams, 05/08/24