2017 Program and Presentations

The BoardSource Leadership Forum is a conference focused on nonprofit leadership at the highest level – the board of directors.

At the 2017 conference we gathered 1,000 board members, executive directors and CEOs, staff, and nonprofit professionals for two days to discuss the newest thinking and best practices in nonprofit governance.

Through plenary sessions, workshops, discussions, presentations, and networking events, our participants learn how to guide their organizations toward greater impact and mission fulfillment.

Wednesday, October 18th

The Board’s Role in Fundraising

Download session materials – Handout #1

Pre-session facilitated by: Chuck Loring

Leadership from the board of directors is a critical component in nonprofit fundraising success. Is your board comfortable in its fundraising role? Do your board members know the steps to successful fundraising? Do they know that fundraising is really not about asking for money? Do you know how to engage your board in meaningful fundraising? This interactive workshop answered these questions and identified resources to assist you in helping your board fulfill its responsibility to fundraise.

Thursday, October 19th

Thursday | October 19 | 8:45-10:00 – Opening Plenary

Igniting Leadership for Power, Purpose, and Impact



Anne Wallestad

President & CEO, BoardSource

Anne Wallestad serves as president and CEO of BoardSource, a globally recognized nonprofit focused on strengthening nonprofit leadership at the highest level — the board of directors.  Recognizing the critical partnership between boards and executives, and the impact of that partnership on overall organizational success, BoardSource helps nonprofit leaders invest in their leadership partnership by providing research, thought leadership, and practical supports that help transform board structures, dynamics, and perspectives.

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Thursday | October 19 | 10:15-11:30 – Concurrent Sessions

Courageous Board Leadership

Sessions materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4

One of three uniquely designed sessions for executive director/board chair teams. Pre-registration is required and limited (includes dinner with participants and facilitators), learn more.

Are you familiar with The Daring Way, a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Brené Brown, Ph.D.?  Designed for work teams and organizational leaders, the process explores topics such as vulnerability, courage, and trust. It examines the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that might be holding us back from developing authentic and wholehearted leadership and identifies new choices and practices that can help us move forward.

In this session, Janet Boguch, a certified Daring Way facilitator, will provide a useful perspective and tools that will help you build a courageous chief executive–board chair partnership while emphasizing the primary roles and responsibilities required of strong board leaders. We’ll discuss the importance of vulnerability, trust, authenticity, and courage to establishing healthy relationships and to cultivating a healthy board culture. We’ll explore common pitfalls and possible solutions for unhealthy relationships and develop a list of actionable things board leaders can do to lead courageously. Participants will leave this interactive session with shared new language and an energized approach for bravely stepping into their board and staff leadership roles.


Janet-BoguchJanet Boguch

Principal Owner, Non-Profit Works and Wide Angle Coaching

Janet Boguch, MA, ICF/PCC, is the principal/owner of Non-Profit Works and Wide Angle Coaching. She brings more than 35 years of experience in nonprofit management, leadership development, consulting, facilitating, and coaching to her work. She is also the founder, facilitator, and coach for TableTalks Peer Learning Groups and BoardTalks, cohort-based programs for leaders and managers who meet to discuss personal, professional, and organizational development. Janet is certified by the International Coach Federation and Hudson Coaching Institute. Among her many coaching clients are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Group Health Cooperative, and School-Based Health Fellows. For decades, Janet also has served as a faculty member at the University of Washington and Seattle University to share better and best practices and to ensure the next generation of nonprofit leaders. She is a former BoardSource senior governance consultant.


The Power of Possibility: Starting the Conversation around Strategic Partnerships

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 101

Board members are charged with serving the organization’s core purpose – often in an increasingly complex environment. Nonprofits might face funding or staffing shifts, policy changes, or new program opportunities. When these changes require board leadership, the challenge can quickly become framed as one of institutional survival or advancement. There is another way. Research has shown that high-impact nonprofits do not go it alone, and nonprofits of all kinds have tapped into the power of strategic partnerships to broaden reach, expand services, and create efficiencies.

In this session, you’ll have an opportunity to think differently about long-term, durable partnerships and how your board can integrate collaborative thinking into boardroom discussions. What long-term partnership options are available? How can board members explore them? What questions can board members ask in order to be prepared to seize opportunities? This panel discussion will share insights from real-life strategic partnership initiatives and introduce you to tools available to start the discussion from The Power of Possibility campaign.


Kate Barr

President and CEO, Propel Nonprofits

Kate Barr is president and CEO of Propel Nonprofits, whose mission is to fuel the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise, and capital. She oversees strategic and business planning, development, and external relations. She led the merger of the Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) with MAP for Nonprofits to create a premier resource for nonprofits. She is a national leader, speaker, and writer on nonprofit strategy and finance. Before joining NAF in 2000, Kate was a bank executive and an arts administrator. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards; she currently serves on the boards of Borealis Philanthropy and the Jerome and Camargo Foundations.

Bob Harrington
Partner, La Piana Consulting

Bob Harrington works hand-in-hand with nonprofits and foundations to help them make strategic decisions, create successful partnerships, and manage organizational change.

Using proven methodologies and insights gained from years of practical experience, Bob helps organizations align around common goals to achieve sustainable mission impact. His recent work includes providing education, assessment, and partnership exploration services in large-scale strategic restructuring initiatives in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. Bob has led engagements with nonprofits across all sectors to advance partnership strategies for mission achievement, with past clients including YWCA USA, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, Rogue River Watershed Council, Women’s Center – Youth & Family Services, Salud Para La Gente, and Watsonville Law Center. Bob is also a national leader, author, and speaker on collaboration and strategic restructuring in the nonprofit sector.

Prior to joining La Piana Consulting, Bob was executive director of Children’s Garden of California until it merged with Sunny Hills Children’s Services; he then served as COO of the merged organization. He has extensive nonprofit management experience working in complex human services fields. Bob has an MSW degree from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and a BA degree in psychology from the University of California at Davis.

Jenifer Gager Holland

Senior Director of Programs & Consulting, BoardSource

Jenifer Holland directs BoardSource’s consulting practice and helps lead the organization’s research-to-practice and sector leadership initiatives. In addition to supporting BoardSource’s governance knowledge creation and management, she is active in career development for social sector professionals as a mentor and peer.

Jenifer joined BoardSource in 2012. Prior to that, she was program manager at The Finance Project. Jenifer also helped found and served as executive director for the Alliance for Community Enhancement, a youth mentoring organization in New York City. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Washington.

Six Things You Can Do Right Now to Boost Your Board’s Performance

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 101

Board Leadership Boot Camp: One of four sessions identified by BoardSource as appropriate for individuals with five or fewer years of experience serving on a nonprofit board.

“The nonprofit board model is broken.” You’ve likely heard this sentiment uttered by nonprofit board leaders and philanthropists alike. While unquestionably provocative, there appears to be some truth to it. BoardSources’ national governance index, Leading with Intent, finds that boards earn on average a B- in overall performance. In other words, most boards are mediocre at best. Many others are failing the organization and its mission completely. It shouldn’t be that way.

There are several high-impact strategies that nonprofit executives and board members can immediately deploy to boost the performance — and thus, overall impact — of their organization’s board. During this session, you’ll learn six interventions to optimize your board’s performance. They fall into three key categories:

  • Driving enhanced board member contribution.
  • Making better use of board meetings.
  • Strengthening your board’s culture of engagement.

Change often takes months of planning, socialization, buy-in, and execution. This session is designed for executives and board leaders who need their boards to improve faster. Utilizing a highly interactive learning style, this session will arm you with innovative ideas and specific action steps that will accelerate your board’s performance now.


Rob-ActonRob Acton

Principal and Founder, Cause Strategy Partners, LLC

Robert Acton is principal/founder of Cause Strategy Partners and BoardLead, a social enterprise providing strategic counsel and board placement to F500 companies, foundations, and nonprofits with a focus on board and executive leadership. Rob formerly served as executive director of Taproot Foundation (NYC) and Cabrini Green Legal Aid (Chicago). Under his leadership, Cabrini Green Legal Aid received Chicago’s prestigious Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence. Rob is board vice chair of NPCC, the membership organization representing and serving 1,700 New York nonprofits. He is a member of the Bar of the State of NY.

The Power of Aligning Your Board’s Legacy Around Mission

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Everyone agrees that a critical function of the board is to set direction and support the mission. But, when pressed, many boards do not understand their role in actually driving the mission and ensuring mission impact. Three of the sector’s most experienced and respected governance consultants will showcase the power of aligning your board’s collective understanding of its legacy around advancing your organization’s mission.

Through the use of short case studies and round-table discussions, you’ll sharpen your understanding of the areas most critical to the board’s ability to advance the mission.

We’ll discuss

  • the distinction between your organization’s mission/purpose and your board’s role in strategically advancing it — board legacy
  • the difference between technical problems and adaptive challenges and why this matters
  • metrics and measures of success

We’ll explore board blind spots, examine common governance traps and pitfalls, and offer practical strategies for overcoming them.


Marla BobowickMarla Bobowick

Principal, Bobowick Consulting
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Marla Bobowick is principal of Bobowick Consulting and senior governance consultant for BoardSource. She is an experienced nonprofit professional with a history of creative problem solving related to board governance, strategy, research, and publishing. Prior to founding Bobowick Consulting, Marla was vice president of products at BoardSource, where she was also an active consultant, developed educational curriculum, managed regional capacity-building projects, oversaw the global program, and coordinated the annual conference. Marla holds a BA in English from Amherst College, and an MBA and certificate in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University. She is vice chair of the board of Maryland Nonprofits.

Susan MeierSusan Meier

Principal, Meier and Associates
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Susan Meier is principal of Meier and Associates and a senior governance consultant for BoardSource. From 2004 to 2011, she served as vice president of consulting and training for BoardSource. Susan brings more than 28 years of governance and nonprofit experience to her consulting, working collaboratively with nonprofit executives and board members to identify governance challenges and opportunities and to implement proven strategies to address a broad array of governance issues. She engages boards in a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities, strategic and generative thinking, concrete ways to maximize board meetings, and addressing culture and dynamics in the boardroom.

Cathy TrowerCathy Trower

Principal, Trower & Trower, Inc.
Vice Chair, BoardSource Board of Directors

Cathy Trower is principal of Trower & Trower, Inc., through which she provides a full range of board governance consulting services to nonprofit organizations. She is author of The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High-Performing Nonprofit Boards (Jossey Bass, 2013), Govern More, Manage Less (BoardSource, 2010), and “Flipping the Boardroom for Trustee Engagement: Why and How” (AGB – Trusteeship, March/April, 2015). Cathy has a PhD in higher education administration from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MBA and BBA from the University of Iowa. She serves on the boards of BoardSource, RiverWoods Retirement Community, and Wheaton College.

Leveraging the Power and Influence of Your Board through Advocacy

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4

Level 201

Changing political norms require boards to engage in advocacy. Traditions and assumptions have been upended. Board members must adopt the education of elected officials about their organization as an essential responsibility. A laser focus on the mission will help board members put aside their individual political beliefs to become advocates for policies that advance the mission.

In this interactive panel discussion, three Volunteer of America leaders — a member of the national board, an executive vice president of external affairs, and the CEO of Volunteers of America Oregon — will share challenges, insights, and recommendations from their work engaging board members in advocacy, including a Capitol Hill day for affiliate CEOs and board members. They bring extensive experience executing legislative initiatives to protect and support nonprofits.

Participants will take away techniques and strategies for working with staff and measuring impact as well as resources designed to help you ignite the board’s sense of urgency to align public policy with governance, budgets, and strategic plans.


Jatrice-Martel-GaiterJatrice Martel Gaiter, JD

Executive Vice President, external affairs, Volunteers of America
Board Chair, National Human Services Assembly
Board Member, MetroStage Theatre

Jatrice Martel Gaiter is the executive vice president of external affairs in the national office of Volunteers of America. She also is board chair of the National Human Services Assembly, a board member of the MetroStage Theater, and a member of Independent Sector’s public policy committee. She has worked as a chief executive of two nonprofits and as lead staff on public policy at three United Way organizations. A champion of the nonprofit sector, she blogs, writes opinion pieces, and Tweets as @Ms.Nonprofit.


Rubye-NobleRubye E. Noble, JD

Vice Board Chair, Volunteers of America

Rubye E. Noble, JD, currently serves as the vice chair of the Volunteer of America’s national board and the chair of its governance committee. Professionally, she is a senior assistant parish attorney and legislative liaison for Jefferson Parish in New Orleans. This position includes direct liaison and support for a 19-member House and Senate legislative delegation. Previously, she worked in project development and management and public policy for several nonprofits in local, state, and federal public and private environments.

Kay-ToranKay Toran

President & CEO, Volunteers of America Oregon

Kay Toran is president and CEO of Volunteers of America Oregon (VOA Oregon). As such, she provides the overall leadership and strategic direction for the organization. Kay joined VOA Oregon in July 1999 after serving six years as the director of the Oregon Department of Services to Children and Family. She has served in several key leadership positions in Oregon state government as well as assistant to the governor and director of Oregon’s affirmative action office under Governor Victor Atiyeh.

Succession and Transition Planning: A Holistic Approach

Session Materials:: Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4

Level 201

Succession and transition planning is often viewed as a series of tactical steps taken to replace a departing chief executive. Instead, it should be implemented in a holistic manner that ties conversations about your future leadership needs with deep analysis about your organization’s sustainability as it relates to its business model and strategy, resources, leadership, and culture. Succession planning is also an opportunity to align the board, chief executive, and senior leadership team around your organization’s leadership priorities in a way that traditional strategic planning processes may not.

In this interactive session, you’ll learn how to use an organizational sustainability framework to identify or clarify your organization’s leadership priorities, and how to align your board development efforts with succession and transition planning. We’ll discuss the roles of the board, the chief executive, and senior leadership team in implementing a succession and transition planning process, and the differences in approach between internal successions vs. external successions.


Rachael-GibsonRachael Gibson

Senior Consultant, Raffa, PC

Rachael Gibson serves as a senior consultant for transition planning, change management, and strategy at Raffa, PC. She has expertise in facilitating complicated transition planning efforts for organizations led by founders and long-tenured executives. Rachael’s prior experience includes managing grantmaking programs and spearheading capacity-building initiatives. She is former board member of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and is currently an adjunct professor at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology, where she teaches graduate-level courses in organizational development. Rachael earned a master’s degree in community and urban planning at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Karen-SchulerKaren Schuler

Managing Director, Raffa, PC

Karen Schuler leads Raffa, PC’s search, transition, and planning practice, serving as a senior advisor on complex projects.  She brings more than 30 years of experience to her work and has led projects for organizations across the US with annual revenues ranging from $1 million to over $70 million. Previously, Karen served as executive vice president of TransitionGuides, a national consulting firm. She holds an MBA degree, earned at the University of Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree, earned at Duke University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Engineering Equity into Your Organization

Session Materials:: Handout #1

Level 301

Nonprofit leaders are paying increased attention to what it means to have an equity mindset, to approach their work through an equity lens, and to make equity an imperative. This is occurring as the world around us becomes even more hyper-focused on the failed actualization of e pluribus unum. Driven to make noble decisions, we often find that it is easier to wrestle with the immediate issues at hand than tackle the deeper, systemic challenges that exist even within our organizations. The interdependent relationships between strategy, operations, and culture are complex, and there is no playbook that spells out how to infuse fairness into every critical decision and deed.

In comes the Equity Maturity Model (EqMM), a strikingly simple tool that enables organizational leaders to institutionalize their commitment to the assurance of equity. The model identifies 12 measurable dimensions of performance and behavior that constitute equity maturity, groups these dimensions into six focus areas, and describes five performance levels for each dimension.

In this session, we’ll explore the EqMM model, diagnose current nonprofit performance and behaviors that constitute equity maturity, identify gaps between reality and aspiration for comprehensive equity assurance, and clarify opportunities for growth. You’ll leave with the realization that an equity orientation can be systematically built and engineered to last within your organization.


Daria-TorresDaria Torres

Managing Partner, Walls Torres Group

Daria Torres is a sought-after strategic advisor, executive facilitator, and university lecturer with a breadth and depth of knowledge that spans sectors and industries and enables intersectional thinking and organizational insight. She founded Walls Torres Group in 2004 after serving as an engagement manager for McKinsey & Company. She began her career as a systems engineer for Lockheed Martin. The rigor and disciplined analytical approach in this role informs her work today. Daria earned a BS degree in systems engineering at the University of Virginia and a MSE/MBA degree at the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton School.

Maintaining Vision Momentum Under the Dark Clouds of Accusation and Investigation

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2

Level 201

You know achieving your organization’s mission and vision requires everyone’s energy and focus to be aligned. When board and staff are synchronized with partners, clients, and other stakeholders, the results can be amazing. However, perfect cohesion is never permanent. Internal and external parties can disrupt progress with an allegation of misconduct at any moment.

San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory (SDYS), the 2012 grand prize winner of the Prudential Leadership Award for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards, presented by BoardSource, has direct experience with responsibly investigating allegations against its chief executive officer while maintaining progress toward its vision. Join us to learn how the SDYS board chair, board of directors, and president & CEO have simultaneously  advanced SDYS’s vision to great success — including restoration of arts education to an entire school district of 30,000 children — and managed complex investigations. Instead of being hampered by these situations, SDYS has used them to strengthen its policies, culture, and communications. Learn how to be well prepared for the moment when an unexpected accusation requires your board’s attention and action. Take-aways include annual checklists and tactics.


Dalouge-SmithDalouge Smith

President & CEO, San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory

Dalouge Smith is in his 13th season as president & CEO of the San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory. He collaborated with the board to develop SDYS’s vision to “make music education accessible and affordable for all.” SDYS is nationally recognized for success restoring and strengthening music education in schools. Dalouge speaks frequently at conferences, public events, government hearings, and to the media about the benefits of music education. During his tenure as president & CEO, SDYS has gained national recognition for its strong governance practices, winning the 2012 grand prize of the Prudential Leadership Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards at the 2012 BoardSource Leadership Forum.

Ernest-SmithErnest Smith

Board Chair, San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory

Ernest Smith was an educator and principal in the San Diego City Schools District for 35 years. He was also an education leadership and teacher trainer at the University of San Diego (USD). Ernest is now board chair of the San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory, after tenures as vice chair of governance and vice chair of programs. Other community leadership roles have included serving on the board of the Preuss School at the University of California San Diego and on the advisory committee for the San Diego Foundation.  He presents regularly at USD’s annual governance symposium.

What to Ask of Your Corporate Board Member

Session Materials: Handout #1

Nonprofit boards often have unrealistic expectations about what benefits come with a “corporate” board member. Whether they are recruited through personal, professional, or electronic networks, board members who work for larger companies often have a ‘tool box’ of (invisible) resources available to them, even if it’s not a big check. In this session, corporate CSR and volunteerism professionals will provide some insight on what to expect (or not expect) of your corporate members, what to ask (or not ask) of them, and what they might need from your nonprofit to make board service a valuable experience for all.


Ann-CohenAnn Cohen

Principal, Ann Cohen and Associates
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Ann Cohen is the Chief Strategist and Change Agent for Ann Cohen and Associates and a Senior Governance Consultant for BoardSource. She is an experienced nonprofit professional with a corporate, government and nonprofit background. She believes in ‘making it work.’  In 18 years supporting nonprofits she delivers the leadership training, coaching, conflict resolution and learning required to lead, implement action and continue learning. Prior to founding her practice, Ann was Vice President at EDS, now HP, leading the strategy, pursuit, and profit/loss over a multi-billion-dollar operation. Ann began her career as a U.S. Department of Justice attorney prosecuting enforcement actions against Fortune 500 companies including before the US Supreme Court. Ann serves on both global and local nonprofit boards. She is Washington, DC based and graduated cum laude from Clark University and earned her JD from Antioch School of Law.

Katie KnutsonKatie Knutson

Community Affairs Manager, Thrivent Financial

Knutson has been with Thrivent Financial for five years as a member of the Community Affairs team.  Within that time, she has launched an employee board service program, managed multiple employee giving campaigns and corporate sponsorships, garnered an Emmy nomination for “Giving Thanks” (Public Television special), and recently secured Thrivent’s place at the Smithsonian Museum of American History as part of the “Giving in America” exhibition. Her previous experience includes community relations, theater marketing and publicity, and broadcast media.

Thursday | October 19 | 11:45-1:00 – Lunch Plenary with David Williams, PhD, MPH

Understanding and Effectively Addressing Diversity and Inclusion: Challenges and Opportunities

This presentation will provide an overview of scientific evidence regarding the levels and extent of inequality in the U.S. It will discuss theory and evidence regarding the influence of institutional, interpersonal, and individual factors that create these inequities. It also will describe promising, practical strategies that work to promote equity and build a culture of inclusion. And it will indicate that moving an equity, diversity and inclusion agenda forward is central to the personal and national interests of all Americans.

David-WilliamsDavid Williams, PhD, MPH

David Williams, an internationally recognized authority on social influence on health, is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and professor of African and African American studies and sociology at Harvard University. His research has enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which socioeconomic status, race, stress, racism, health behavior, and religious involvement can affect health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is one of the most widely used measures of discrimination in health studies.

He has played a visible, national leadership role in raising awareness levels of the problem of health disparities and identifying interventions to address them. This includes his service as the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America and as a key scientific advisor to the award-winning PBS film series, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

Download the slides



Thursday | October 19 | 1:15-2:30 – Concurrent Facilitated Discussions

Post-Plenary Discussions: Reflecting on the Nonprofit Sector’s Role in Addressing Racism

Session Materials: Handout #1

BoardSource is looking forward to the plenary featuring David Williams, PhD, MPH, during which he will share his insights from his groundbreaking work on racially based health and economic disparities and interventions. Immediately following the presentation, BoardSource will facilitate conversations for all conference participants focused on exploring organizational efforts to understand and address how race and racism impact the work we do. Whether your organization is deeply engaged in racial equity work or new to the conversation, these conversations will provide the space to reflect, learn, and share.

Thursday | October 19 | 2:45-4:00 – Concurrent Sessions

Ujima! Leveraging the Chief Executive-Board Chair Partnership

Session Materials: Handout #1  | Handout #2

One of three uniquely designed sessions for executive director/board chair teams. Pre-registration is required and limited (includes dinner with participants and facilitators), learn more.

A constructive partnership between the chief executive and the board chair can be the spark that ignites leadership for power, purpose, and impact, but what happens when there is a lack of meaningful collaboration and unclear organizational goals? This interactive session will explore the inherent tensions in the partnership between board members and the chief executive. Through the use of a case study, David LaPiana and Makiyah Moody will offer structural and relational recommendations for optimizing performance rooted in shared responsibility. The group will discuss board committee structure, communications and decision-making protocols, board culture, and a relational leadership framework.


David-LaPianaDavid LaPiana

Managing Partner, LaPiana Consulting

David LaPiana, managing partner of LaPiana Consulting, partners with major foundations and national nonprofits to develop practical solutions to complex challenges. The author of six books on nonprofit strategy, competitiveness, and mergers, he is a popular speaker who regularly contributes to the national dialogue on organizational effectiveness and the future of the sector. Previously, he was a community organizer and a manager with food security and refugee organizations. As a chief executive, he led an organization through 16 years of unprecedented growth. David has an MPA degree from the University of San Francisco and MA and BA degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He also studied at the University of Madrid.

Makiyah-MoodyMakiyah Moody

Senior Consultant, LaPiana Consulting
BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer

Makiyah Moody brings many years of experience and creativity to her work helping organizations effectively lead and manage teams, forge partnerships, and think and act strategically She has consulted to the Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University, is an executive scholar with the Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. Prior to joining LaPiana Consulting, Makiyah directed governance initiatives for the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, founded and led a consultancy, and served as the founding executive director of Leading Educators, Greater New Orleans. She has a master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Hispanic studies from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she currently serves as a trustee.

Saving San Diego Opera: Lessons Learned from a Near Demise

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

On March 19, 2014, San Diego Opera’s board voted at a hastily called board meeting to cease operations following the last performance of the season a month later. Sixty days later — following a drama worthy of an opera itself that included intense media coverage across the country and an outpouring of community support — a much leaner board voted to rescind its decision and move forward with a modified 2015 season with a significantly downsized budget and staff. Inherent in that decision was a mandate that “business as usual” was no longer acceptable and that great change was necessary to make the San Diego Opera a forward-thinking, community-focused, sustainable organization worthy of San Diego’s continued support.

What lessons did San Diego Opera from its near demise three years ago? What steps has the board taken to become a highly effective board that works closely with staff to fulfill the organization’s promise to its community? What challenges remain? In this session, two San Diego Opera board leaders will share their lessons learned — lessons that are relevant for any nonprofit that is striving for more effective governance. We’ll discuss red flags, board composition, and how to implement change.


David-BennettDavid Bennett

General Director, San Diego Opera

David Bennett assumed leadership of the San Diego Opera in 2015 after a nationwide search for a new leader with artistic, executive leadership, and community engagement skills. Previously, he was the executive director of Gotham Chamber Opera in New York City, which is known for innovative programming and creative collaborations, and a senior consultant with Arts Resources International, which provides advisory services to a wide range of nonprofit arts organizations. David earned MBA and MA degrees in arts administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and serves on the board of OPERA America.

Linda-SpuckLinda Spuck

Board Member, San Diego Opera

Linda Spuck serves on the San Diego Opera board. Professionally, she is vice president and senior trust officer at Union Bank and works with multiple nonprofits to help them effectively manage their endowments and planned giving funds. As a “recovering fundraiser,” she loves working with charitably minded individuals and families to help them establish and fulfill their philanthropic goals. Linda is a frequent speaker at conferences and meetings, has been a member of the San Diego Opera board since 2012, and is especially proud to have chaired the search committee that brought David Bennett to San Diego. She also serves on the board of San Diego Grantmakers.

Leadership Transitions: When Founders and Long-Time Leaders Leave

Sessions Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4  | Handout #5

Level 101

Every nonprofit was born out of the creative spark and passion of someone who saw an injustice and had the vision and energy to create a force for good. Founders take their passion, turn it into a mission, and then organize the people and build the nonprofit structure to carry the mission forward. Leaders who are with organizations for many years often share characteristics with founders — they too play a large role in shaping the identity and growing the core infrastructure of their nonprofits.

Because so much of an organization’s identity is linked with a founder or long-time leader (LTL), her or his exit is fraught with unique and complex dynamics that challenge both the board and the executive. The sector is peppered with stories of traumatic founder/LTL transitions, but not all end in failure or setbacks. With careful planning and support, a founder/LTL transition can be a period of positive transformation, allowing a nonprofit to emerge to a new level of service to the community.

This session will use a blend of mini-lecture, case examples, and small group discussion to provide participants with an understanding of the unique dynamics of founder/LTL transitions, the pitfalls to be aware of, and the strategies for managing founder/LTL transitions that will lead a nonprofit to a strong new phase of leadership.

This session is curated by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.


Catherine BradshawCatherine Bradshaw

Co-founder and Principal Consultant, Cadence Consulting LLC
Co-Chair, Executive Transition & Leadership Continuity Affinity Group, Alliance for Nonprofit Management

Catherine Bradshaw is an organizational development expert with more than 25 years of consulting experience. Co-founder and principal consultant of Cadence Consulting, LLC, as well as an affiliate consultant with Third Sector New England, she has helped numerous organizations through tumultuous executive transitions, both as a transition consultant and an interim executive director. Catherine earned her MA in whole system design and organization system renewal from Antioch University and her MSW from the University of Washington.  She holds certifications in transformational consulting, interim executive leadership and transition management, advanced board consulting, and emotional intelligence and diversity for teams, among others. Catherine is skilled in facilitation, strategic planning, board development, leadership coaching, interim executive leadership, transition consulting, and results-based accountability.

Creating a Culture of Leadership in Your Community

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 301

Research shows that communities are more economically viable when business and civic leaders have opportunities to form relationships. Nonprofit boardrooms provide these opportunities.

In this session, we’ll discuss how we can build stronger communities and create more opportunity for board service when we collaborate to develop a culture of community leadership. We’ll learn how to expand our thinking of leadership and develop a robust eco-system focused on nonprofit board service. When we come together to address board capacity as a community, rather than as individual organizations, we can build healthier communities and a healthier nonprofit sector while elevating the strength of our own organizations.

Join us to learn the process and take away valuable tools that will help you get started on creating a culture of leadership in your community.


Matthew-DowneyMatthew Downey

Program Director, Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University

Matthew Downey has worked in the nonprofit sector for nearly 20 years. He serves as the nonprofit services program director for the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, where he oversees technical assistance and capacity-building services for nonprofit organizations. Matthew has worked as a development officer with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, including the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Queens Borough Public Library, and the United Negro College Fund. He holds a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit arts management from Butler University and a master’s degree in public and nonprofit administration from Grand Valley State University.

Tamela-SpicerTamela A. Spicer

Program Manager, Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University

Tamela Spicer is a program manager in nonprofit services at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Her nearly 20 years of experience in the sector includes executive roles with The Salvation Army and the Arthritis Foundation. Tamela serves as board chair of Thrive: A Refugee Support Program. She holds a BSBA and a BA in religious education and theology from Aquinas College and a master of arts degree in communications from Spring Arbor University. Tamela is also adjunct faculty in the School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration at Grand Valley State University.

Charting a Path to 100% Participation in Fund Development

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Board Leadership Boot Camp: One of four sessions identified by BoardSource as appropriate for individuals with five or fewer years of experience serving on a nonprofit board.

Board members struggle with a fund development dilemma: They have ultimate responsibility for ensuring their organizations are adequately resourced but they typically have little experience or interest in fundraising, and thus are reluctant to get involved in fundraising activities.

So what are the best ways to engage even the most cautious members? In this interactive session, we’ll present a state-of-the-art approach to overcoming this challenge. You’ll learn how to apply it to your board and to ensure that no board members are left out. We’ll go beyond the issue of personal contributions to the highly varied roles that board members can play in providing counsel, support, and strategy. We’ll introduce you to an engagement model found to best empower board members and share our “Continuum of Fundraising Engagement” tool that helps determine the right path for individual board members. One-hundred percent engagement should be your goal. Join us to learn of a system than any organization can use to create the plans and set up the structure and support systems needed to get you there.


Jennifer-DunlapJennifer Dunlap

CEO, Development Resources, Inc.

Jennifer Dunlap is the co-founder and CEO of Development Resources, Inc. (DRi), an executive search and development consulting firm that helps nonprofits grow, thrive, and excel. Over the past 16 years, she has led DRi to develop strategic plans and high-impact fundraising initiatives that have driven service expansions at start-up and established nonprofits, including social service providers (Martha’s Table), academic institutions (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology), and cultural landmarks (Phillips Collection).  Previously, Jennifer served as a senior vice president at the American Red Cross, a vice president at CARE USA, and a senior leader at the United Way and Easter Seals.

How to Be a Board Diversity Champion

Level 201

Any effort to harness leadership for power, purpose, and impact that does not provide enough seats at the boardroom table for diverse members is destined to fall short. Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) has made a sweeping commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity in building its board and leadership pipeline — and we’ve rolled this commitment out nationwide in recognition of the premium our sector’s future leaders place on organizations and communities that truly value diverse perspectives.   

Many boards fail to recognize the urgent need to diversify and the many benefits it provides. And those who do often find it is one thing to state your commitment to diversity and another thing to put it into action. That’s where board diversity champions step in — board members who cultivate the buy-in and active engagement of their colleagues.

Informed by YNPN’s own experiences and the voices of its members nationwide, this session will equip board members and senior staff with the tools they need to shake up the status quo, “sell” diversity to their fellow organizational leaders, and champion this vitally important cause in their communities. 


Jamie SmithJamie Smith

Executive Director, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN)

Prior to taking the helm of YNPN, Jamie Smith was one of the organization’s 2016 interim co-executive directors and the former communications and network engagement director. In that position, she managed communications, social media, and public relations as well as resource development and programming for YNPN’s chapter leaders and members.

Jamie first connected with YNPN as a member of YNPN Chicago and was selected as a Launchpad Fellow in 2013. Before joining the organization full time, she was a freelance writer and content strategist working with nonprofits, technology companies, and travel brands to amplify their impact with clear and compelling communications. Jamie graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in public policy and has a master’s degree in communications from Northwestern University. Additionally, she was a 2016-17 Independent Sector NGen Fellow.

Sentari MinorSentari Minor

Board Member, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN)
Regional Director (Arizona), Gen Next

Sentari M. Minor is a social impact advocate and passionate relationship builder. As regional director of Arizona for Gen Next, Sentari oversees the development and engagement of accomplished and purposeful local leaders to ultimately drive global change. Prior to Gen Next, he worked to steward effective philanthropists and strengthen social enterprises at the venture philanthropy firm, Social Venture Partners Arizona.

A Phoenix native, Sentari continued his education in the Midwest and is an alumnus of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana where he studied English with an emphasis in creative writing. He is also a member of Class IV of the American Express Leadership Academy through the Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Nonprofit Innovation.

With an extensive background in high-touch stakeholder engagement, fundraising, public relations, and strategic planning, Sentari serves on the board of directors for a diverse set of nonprofits. Passionate about strengthening the social sector, Sentari speaks nationally on governance, leadership, and the concepts of venture philanthropy, nonprofit capacity building, and social entrepreneurship.

He joined the YNPN board of directors in 2017.

Facilitating Board Effectiveness — A Forum for Discussion among Consultants and Capacity-Building Organizations

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

While board leadership can do much to strengthen their board’s governance function and increase their organization’s effectiveness, in many cases an outside consultant can be more successful at bringing information to discussions, resolving conflicts, and facilitating change. This session will provide ample opportunity for consultants to discuss their approaches, identify common challenges they face in their work with boards, and hear insights from their peers.  Highlights from a recent survey on approaches to board consulting that was conducted by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s Capacity-Building Organization Affinity Group will be provided.

This session is curated by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.


Jeffrey R. Wilcox

President & CEO, Third Sector Company

Jeffrey Wilcox is president and CEO of the Third Sector Company and former senior vice president of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Valley of the Sun United Way (Phoenix). He is the nonprofit columnist of the “The Third Sector Report,” which appears in the Long Beach Business Journal. He is past chair, Executive Transitions Affinity Group for The Alliance For Nonprofit Management; past president of the Orange County (CA) chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; and a member of the board of directors of Advancement Northwest in Seattle. Named Alumnus of the Year in 2015 by Seattle Pacific University (SPU), he chairs the Executive Advisory Board of the School of Business, Government & Economics at SPU. Jeffrey is also a partner of Social Venture Partners in Los Angeles and Seattle and is an advisor to the Encore Fellows Program in Los Angeles.


Embracing the Growing Importance of Board Diversity to Philanthropy, Leadership, and Board Engagement

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Demographic changes in the ethnic and racial make-up of the nation are going to have a transformative effect on the concerns and goals driving the nonprofit sector in the 21st century. If nonprofits are to reflect the values of a pluralistic society, nonprofit leaders must embrace the growing importance of diversity now — in particular the recognition that women and a wide variety of ethnic and racial groups play key roles as donors and nonprofit leaders.

This session will preview new research focused on the relationship between nonprofit board diversity and organizational efficacy being conducted by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, BoardSource, and Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates using data from BoardSource’s Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, the Million Dollar List, and IRS Form 990s.


Una-OsiliUna O. Osili, PhD

Associate Dean, Research and International Programs, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Una O. Osili, Ph.D., is a recognized expert on economic development and philanthropy and associate dean for research and international programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She recently testified at the U.S. Senate subcommittee on the role of philanthropy and remittances in foreign aid and has been quoted by international and national news media outlets such as The New York Times, Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  She has served as a member of several national and international advisory groups, including the African Development Bank, Social Science Research Council, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the United Nations Development Program. She is a consultant with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and has worked for the World Bank.

Una leads the research and publication of Giving USA, the annual report on American philanthropy. Beginning in fall 2016, she has also led the research and publication of Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances and Index of Philanthropic Freedom.  She has pioneered new approaches to using data to better understand global and national trends in philanthropy with the Million Dollar List and the new Generosity for Life project.  She directs the Lilly Family School’s extensive research program, including the Philanthropy Panel Study, the largest and most comprehensive study of the philanthropy of American families over time. Una is the current chair of the research committee of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. She has served as a past or current board member for several nonprofit organizations, including the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis, the Immigrant Welcome Center, St. Richard’s School, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). She earned her B.A. in economics at Harvard University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Northwestern University.

Angela-WhiteAngela E. White, CFRE

Senior consultant and CEO, Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates

Angela E. White, CFRE, serves as CEO of Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates (JGA), providing day-to-day leadership to the firm and guiding the JGA staff, while continuing to provide tailored consulting services directly to her clients as a senior consultant. Angela has a high level of expertise in philanthropic consulting in healthcare, education, social services, arts, and faith-based organizations. She also brings considerable depth in strategic planning and data analysis. Before joining JGA in 1996, Angela was the executive director for institutional advancement at the University of Indianapolis. Prior to that, she served as vice president of institutional advancement at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Among Angela’s passions are women’s issues and women-serving organizations. She is a member of the faculty at The Fundraising School at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and often presents on behalf of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Angela is a CFRE and currently serves on the Committee on Directorship for CFRE International. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and obtained a master’s degree in business from Purdue University.

Leading with Intent: Which Board Characteristics Provide the Opportunity to Increase Your Board’s Impact on Organizational Performance?

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 101

In this session, you will learn insights from this year’s Leading with Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, where chief executives and board chairs shared their perceptions of their board’s impact on organizational performance. We’ll explore the board characteristics that seem to be positively linked to these perceptions and what this means for your board. Learn how your board compares to the more than 1,300 nonprofit organizations that participated in the study around composition, practices, performance, and culture, and identify opportunities for reflection and change within your board to ensure your board is positioned to have a positive impact on your organization’s performance.


Judith Millesen

Judith Millesen

Associate Professor, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University; Founder, Regional Nonprofit Alliance

Judith Millesen is an associate professor at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. She is also the founder of the Regional Nonprofit Alliance, an organization dedicated to strengthening nonprofit organizations in rural Appalachia by providing online resources, affordable workshops, and hands-on help. She teaches classes on public administration, nonprofit management, and nonprofit fundraising. Her research makes a strong link between theory and practice and focuses on nonprofit administration and capacity building in the sector with a special interest in board governance. She has produced research reports on the strategic decision-making behavior of community foundation boards, nonprofit capacity-building in the Pittsburgh region, the evaluation practices of nonprofits in New York and Ohio, board motivation in Maine, and most recently, philanthropy and community economic development in central Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in such journals as Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Quarterly, Public Integrity, and Voluntas. She was also a co-editor of Participatory Partnerships for Social Action and Research, which won the 2012 Distinguished Edited Book Award from the Applied Communication Division of the National Communication Association. Judy is a member of ASPA, the Academy of Management, and ARNOVA. Nationally, she serves on the board of directors for ARNOVA. Locally she serves on the board of directors for the Athens Foundation. Judy received an MPA degree from the University of Hartford and a Ph.D. in public administration from the University at Albany (SUNY).

Cathy TrowerCathy Trower

President, Trower & Trower, Inc.; Vice Chair, BoardSource Board of Directors

Cathy Trower is the author of The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership as well as the second edition of Govern More, Manage Less (BoardSource). She is nationally known for her expertise on board engagement, leadership, culture, organizational change, best governance practices, and strategic thinking. She is in high demand as a speaker, consultant, and advisor and works with nonprofit boards independently through her consulting firm, Trower & Trower, Inc.

Anne Wallestad

President & CEO, BoardSource

Anne Wallestad serves as president and CEO of BoardSource, a globally recognized nonprofit focused on strengthening nonprofit leadership at the highest level — the board of directors.  Recognizing the critical partnership between boards and executives, and the impact of that partnership on overall organizational success, BoardSource helps nonprofit leaders invest in their leadership partnership by providing research, thought leadership, and practical supports that help transform board structures, dynamics, and perspectives.

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Thursday | October 19 | 4:15-5:30 – Concurrent Sessions

Embracing the Future: How to Think Differently about Sustainability

Session Materials: Handout #1

One of three uniquely designed sessions for executive director/board chair teams. Pre-registration is required and limited (includes dinner with participants and facilitators), learn more.

Achieving organizational sustainability requires the intentional pursuit of reliable organizational systems and board accomplishment across a complex set of performance factors. Nonprofit leaders who seek to ensure their organization’s longevity must demonstrate discipline, innovation, and resilience while thoughtfully addressing long-range strategies, financial oversight, fundraising, board development, and leadership succession.  This session will focus on what you should do now to impact these structural and performance considerations.


Robin StaciaRobin Hindsman Stacia, Psy.D

Principal/Consultant, Sage Consulting Network, Inc.
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Robin Stacia Hindsman, Psy.D., is principal/consultant of Sage Consulting Network, Inc., based in Atlanta, Georgia, and a BoardSource senior governance consultant. She focuses on strengthening organizational operations and improving board and organizational performance. Robin’s ultimate objective is to provide clients with best practice tools and customized strategies that they can use immediately to improve organizational outcomes. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Robin had a 25-year health care career and served as the director of consulting and contract training for Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations. She is a Standards for Excellence® licensed consultant, received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Wright State University, and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Ohio University.

Better Governance in Three Stories

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2

Level 201

Board Leadership Boot Camp: One of four sessions identified by BoardSource as appropriate for individuals with five or fewer years of experience serving on a nonprofit board.

Much has been written about building effective nonprofit boards, but where does one begin to make a good board better? This session will use engaging, timeless stories to illustrate three foundational governance practices that will make your board better:

  • Getting the right people on the board.
  • Minding the interpersonal dynamics among board members and between board and staff.
  • Achieving alignment around mission and values.

After each story, you will have the opportunity to apply that practice to your own organization and then compare your ideas with your peers. Jim Schwarz, session presenter, will also share his “imperfect” attempts to apply these lessons on his own nonprofit board. All participants will leave with memorable stories and tangible take-aways, such as an action planning worksheet, to take back to their boards for consideration.


Jim Schwarz

President, Compass Development & Governance Group, Inc.
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Jim Schwarz works with nonprofits and associations to build high-performing boards through group effectiveness, meeting dynamics, board development, team building, and strategic thinking. He has worked with a variety of organizations, including Achieve, the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits, Commonfund, Ford Foundation, Heinz Foundation, International Code Council, Moody’s Foundation, SCAN Health Plan, and Wikimedia. Jim is also a regular and popular speaker at the BoardSource Leadership Forum.

Jim has been an active board volunteer at several nonprofits, including the Stamford (CT) chapter of the American Red Cross and SoundWaters Environmental Education Center. He is currently board chair of the St. Johns Riverkeeper in Jacksonville, FL.

How Nonprofit Boards Can Bridge Differences in Divided Times

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

A society is civil when its citizens are linked together by common interests and work together to achieve common goals. This noble and long-standing ideal feels fragile in today’s America. But there is a structure already in place that can bridge that divide. The country has 1.5 million nonprofits, whose boards provide a platform for people to come together across differences in race, political opinion, geographic location, income level, profession, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. They come together with a common purpose around a shared mission to do important work.

Good boards — the ones that govern well — exercise both strategic and thoughtful leadership in meaningful ways, building connections within and among communities. In this roundtable discussion, we will talk about the role that board membership can play in bridging the divide and the strategies and tools that boards can use to become part of the healing solution, such as strategic board composition, generative discussions, and embracing diversity that goes beyond race and religion. Participants will take home a discussion guide on how to deepen social connections through effective governance and collaboration on meaningful work.


Carrie-IrvinCarrie Irvin

President & CEO, Charter Board Partners

Carrie Chimerine Irvin believes that great public charter school boards make for great schools and student success. She is cofounder and CEO of Charter Board Partners (CBP), which helps boards and board members be more effective. CBP works in Washington, DC, Denver, Tampa, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and California. Carrie earned a master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and has worked extensively on K-12 education issues that affect economically disadvantaged students and communities. She is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow and chaired the board of the National Child Research Center, a model preschool.

Rick CruzRick Cruz

Board Member,  DC Public Charter School Board; Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships, The College Board

Rick Cruz was appointed a board member of the DC Public Charter School Board in October 2014 and now serves as treasurer and chair of the Finance and Operations Committee.

Rick brings to the board extensive experience in education management. He currently is the executive director of strategic partnerships at The College Board, a mission-driven nonprofit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. In this capacity, he works with corporations, foundations and nonprofit entities to structure partnerships that advance the organization’s mission, with a specific focus on underrepresented young people.

Rick has previously served in a variety of leadership roles in the education and social sectors, including CEO of DC Prep Public Charter Schools, vice president of mission advancement at America’s Promise Alliance, and vice president of regional operations at Teach For America.

Rick began his career in the professional services sector, working at the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in Washington, DC and London for more than a decade where he lead teams in supporting global corporations’ strategic planning, finance and risk management, and board development.

In addition to the PCSB, Rick serves in board positions at several nonprofit organizations, including Instruction Partners, the National Charter Collaborative, and Imagination Stage. He is also a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Rick earned a B.A. degree in philosophy from Yale University.


Seattle Stories of Transformative Change: How Local Board Leaders are Driving Innovation

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2

Level 201

While many nonprofits envision transformative change, few are able to execute their plans effectively.  How can we successfully translate our bright ideas into concrete innovation? Join us to learn how the governing boards and executives of Farestart and Seattle Humane — two prominent Seattle nonprofits — applied generative practices that led them to transformative change and sustainable rapid growth.

FareStart is a social enterprise pioneer in reducing hunger, poverty, and homelessness. Through a unique partnership with Amazon, it is doubling its size, opening new eateries, and launching an apprenticeship program for low-income food service workers. Seattle Humane has evolved from a small organization led by volunteer animal lovers to a leading regional player advocating for companion animals and placing 7,000 pets annually.  By partnering with the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Seattle Humane’s new facility allows it to launch programs with lasting impact.

In this panel discussion, the CEO and board secretary of Farestart and the CEO and board chair emerita of Seattle Humane will discuss their organizations’ decision-making processes, sharing how they achieved extraordinary results, are staying on the leading edge of innovation,  and what other nonprofits can learn from their successes.


Aggie-SweeneyAggie Sweeney

Senior Counsel, Campbell & Company

Aggie Sweeney is senior counsel of Campbell & Company. Since joining the firm 17 years ago, she has consulted with more than 100 nonprofits and is respected for her expertise on capital campaigns. She helps her clients achieve their visions and increase philanthropy to fuel their growth. Prior to consulting, Aggie was an executive for two nonprofits. She has served on several nonprofit boards and is now chair of the Giving USA Foundation.


Gregg-JohnsonGregg Johnson

Board Secretary, FareStart

Through his firm, Johnson Consulting Associates LLC, Gregg Johnson provides senior level advisory and coaching services to a variety of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The firm focuses on the issues of high growth and rapid change, working with leaders to successfully anticipate and navigate challenges, develop responsive strategies, and implement solutions to insure long-term sustainable results. Prior to starting his company, Gregg was a senior executive at Starbucks Coffee Company for more than 13 years, and was involved in virtually every area of the business. In his most recent assignment as senior vice president of Global Business Systems Solutions, he led a worldwide team in integrating Starbucks’s diverse international and domestic businesses. Greg serves on a number of nonprofit and for-profit boards.


Megan Karch

CEO, Farestart

Megan Karch has been with FareStart for 17 years. She has been an instrumental part of the organization’s significant expansion, paving the way for a broader impact on homelessness in King County — including increasing the number of individuals served by 400 percent, growing business revenue from less than $1 million to $6 million, and purchasing and renovating a new $13 million facilility. In 2016, FareStart prepared and served more than 800,000 meals to adults and children in need, and more than 261 individuals graduated from its culinary training program, with 91 percent achieving employment within 90 days. FareStart operates a successful catering and café business in Seattle and, through a national leadership initiative, is nurturing similar social enterprises in another 150 communities. In addition to leading FareStart, Megan has served on many nonprofit boards.

Kaycee Krysty

Board Chair Emerita, Seattle Humane

Kaycee Krysty is Seattle Humane’s chair emerita and former CEO/president of Laird Norton Wealth Management. Prior to joining Laird Norton, she founded her own financial management firm that later merged with Laird Norton. An author, researcher, and opinion leader, Kaycee is known for bringing creative ideas to conversations. She has served on multiple corporate and nonprofit boards. Since “retiring” earlier this decade, Kaycee served as co-chair of Seattle Humane’s successful capital campaign, helping make it possible for the organization to double its size and save 10,000 animals annually.

David Loewe

CEO, Seattle Humane

David Loewe joined Seattle Humane in 2006 after working for more than 20 years in various management operations roles for Kansas Gas & Electric, Taigo-America, and Connected NW-Nextel. As CEO, he has applied this diverse experience to help Seattle Humane scale up and become a high-performing nonprofit that is unique in its approach to shelter all companion animals.

Board Leadership and Shared Power: How to Prepare for the Board Chair, Vice Chair, or a Committee Chair Role

Level 201

Many are called, but just how prepared are those board members who are self-appointed or cajoled into serving in a board leadership position such as board chair, vice chair, or committee chair? In this session, you’ll engage in conversations and interactive exercises centered on the findings and practice implications gleaned from the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s 2017 research on the leadership of nonprofit boards. Together, we’ll examine how one best prepares for these roles as well as the benefits and challenges of shared leadership, an alternative to the solo leader model.  Come prepared to learn, have fun, and try out some new tools designed to support your board leadership development goals.

This session is curated by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.


Mike-BurnsMike Burns

Partner, BWB Solutions

Mike Burns has more than 20 years of nonprofit management experience, and, since 1994, has been a partner and organizational development consultant in BWB Solutions.  His work focuses on strategic and business planning, nonprofit governance, and helping nonprofits assess their readiness for mergers and partnerships. His skills include crisis management, conflict resolution, and market research and analysis. His blog, Nonprofit Board Crisis, highlights nonprofit governance matters. Mike served as a member of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s Board Chair Research Team, completing a national survey on the roles and relationships of nonprofit board chairs. Mike has a B.S. degree in business administration from Marquette University; a master’s degree in nonprofit management with a focus on governance from Lesley College; and, a graduate certificate in nonprofit marketing management from the University of Hartford.

Judy-FreiwirthJudy Freiwirth,  PsyD

Principal, Nonprofit Solutions Associates
BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer

Judy Freiwirth, Psy.D., is principal of Nonprofit Solutions Associates. An organization development consultant, trainer, and speaker, she has more than 30 years of experience consulting to and training national, regional, and community nonprofits, networks, and coalitions, primarily with a focus on social change. She is well known as the primary developer and researcher for an innovative governance approach, Community-Engagement Governance™, a framework in which community stakeholders are engaged in shared governance decision making. She has published numerous articles for The Nonprofit Quarterly and is a contributing author for two recently published books, Nonprofit Governance: Innovative Perspectives and Approaches, and You and Your Board: New Practices for Challenging Times from Researchers, Provocateurs, and Practitioners.  She serves as the chair/founder of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s Governance Affinity Group, a network of capacity builders focused on developing new approaches to governance, conducting research, and promoting research-based practice.  She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership and holds a doctorate in psychology, specializing in organization development.

Finding the Elusive CPI + 5% Investment Return Goal

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 101

Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. El Chupacabra. CPI + 5%.

Are each of these…

  • Mythical? Yes.
  • Hard to find? Absolutely.
  • The focus of a fanatical group of believers who devote their lives to discovering them? For certain.

We may not be able to prove the existence of the mythical creatures on this list, but we can sure help you find the elusive CPI+5% investment return goal. For most nonprofits striving to meet a 7 to 8 percent total return in this low-return environment, your traditional investment portfolio and investment management approach may not cut it. In this session, we’ll discuss the fundamental building blocks required to meet CPI+5%, the dynamic portfolio management strategies that can help ensure short-term volatility doesn’t derail your long-term goals, and how your investment policy statement needs to be structured to help ensure that your team has the flexibility to pursue this elusive goal.


Martin-JaugietisMartin Jaugietis, CFA

Managing Director and Client Portfolio Manager, Investment Division, Russell Investments

Martin Jaugietis, CFA, is a managing director and client portfolio manager for Russell Investments, in the multi-asset team within the investment division. He works directly with some of the firm’s largest and most sophisticated clients to develop custom total portfolio solutions, represents the firm externally in the marketplace, and is a lead contributor to the further development and refinement of Russell’s multi-asset capabilities, working alongside research analysts, portfolio managers, and strategists across all asset classes. Martin has almost 20 years of experience as an advisor, business leader, and investor and a skill set that covers a wide range of asset management functions. He led the team that created the Barclays-Russell LDI Index Series and was named one of the “World’s 25 Most Influential Investment Consultants” by aiCIO magazine in 2012.

Lisa-SchneiderLisa Schneider, CFA

Managing Director and Head of Nonprofit and Healthcare Systems, Russell Investments

Lisa Schneider is the managing director of Russell Investments’ nonprofit and healthcare systems business. In this capacity, she is responsible for leading the organization’s efforts in developing and delivering strategic advice and investment management solutions for nonprofit and healthcare clients and prospects. Lisa has a long history with Russell Investments in a number of analytical and client service roles, having joined the firm in 1988.

Disruptive Innovators: Reinventing the Leading Edge

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2

Level 201

The disruptive environment in which nonprofits are operating today requires board leaders to lead in an emerging reality. In this interactive session, we’ll test your assumptions around board member recruitment and selection. Are your current practices advancing your board’s ability to lead in a VUCA world marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity? As you toggle between performing in the present to imagining forward for an unseen, improbable, and non-conforming future, you may find that the traditional norms for valuable board members are no longer valid and may be inhibiting effective leadership.

Join us to learn what it takes to recognize high potential for leading in a disrupted present and future. We’ll discuss the traits of disruptive innovators, address the leadership behaviors that surpass existing models, and surface the motivations and reasoning that promote or inhibit transformation. We’ll explore ways to seek, promote, and foster competencies that current and emerging board leaders can tap to facilitate more agile and continuously innovating cultures for their organizations.


Loretta DonovanLoretta Donovan

President, iAttain

Loretta Donovan, president of iAttain, is an executive coach and nonprofit consultant with expertise in leadership excellence. She has advised complex health care, technology, and educational organizations in strategy, change management, and talent development. Previously, Loretta served as the chief learning officer for Health Quest Systems, St. Francis Hospital-The Heart Center, Girl Scouts of the USA, and the March of Dimes. As an adjunct at Columbia University, Teachers College, Loretta introduced courses on generative change to the curriculum. She has been published in the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations, Proceedings of the Academy of Management, and Social Knowledge: Using Social Media to Know What You Know.

Powering Up Your Board to Achieve Impact and Revenue Growth

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Boards should be every organization’s key leadership asset. Imagine if your board was fully engaged in your work as a true partner with your chief executive and staff to drive revenue growth. What would it take to power up your board to maximize its full potential?

In this session, you’ll learn from United Way about how it recruits, develops, and engages its board members to set and achieve ever-greater revenue and impact goals. You’ll then take a look at your own organization’s priority goals and the board’s role before mapping out strategies to build better understanding of who serves on your board, how they are currently engaged, and how they can be better engaged individually and as a full board. Each activity and tool builds on the last. When you leave the session, you’ll have not only new ways to recruit, develop, and engage your board but also be started on the journey toward building a partnership with a board that is truly assisting in achieving your organization’s impact and revenue goals.


Alex-FikeAlex Fike

Director of Board Development and Engagement, United Way Worldwide

Alex Fike loves tackling the most complex issues to fix some of the world’s trickiest problems. Today, as the director of board development, engagement & governance at United Way Worldwide, he helps all United Ways partner with their key leadership to achieve greater impact and revenue growth. Motivated by the power of collective action, Alex has spent stints as the business manager to the CEO of one of the largest United Ways, a legislative director, a case worker, and a policy architect. He own board service includes leadership across multiple sectors, including nonprofit, governmental, and political realms.

Lean In: Take Your Seat at the Policy Table

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2

Level 101

Are you advocating for your mission and making your voice heard in the policy arena? This interactive session will explore advocacy as an effective, workable strategy to accomplish your organization’s goals and mission, and how you can unleash your organization’s full potential by engaging board leaders more directly in your organization’s advocacy work.

You’ll learn more about The Stand for Your Mission campaign and our challenge to all nonprofit decision-makers to stand up for the organizations they believe in by actively representing their organization’s mission and values, and creating public will for positive social change.  We’ll explore advocacy from the governance, programming, and operations perspectives, so that you’ll leave with an understanding of the skills and systems needed to institutionalize this kind of work at your organization. You’ll walk away with a working definition of advocacy for your particular nonprofit, resources to share with colleagues explaining what is legal, and a plan of action to engage your board members, volunteers, funders, and staff in your advocacy efforts.


Abby-LevineAbby Levine

Director of Bolder Advocacy, Alliance for Justice

Abby Levine serves as the director of the Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy program. As such, she provides training and technical assistance to advocates, would-be advocates, and grantmakers, focusing on how federal tax and election law allows lobbying, ballot measures, and election-related activity for tax-exempt organizations. She conducts more than 30 trainings each year.

Vernetta-WalkerVernetta Walker

Chief Governance Officer and Vice President of Programs, BoardSource

Vernetta Walker, JD, has worked with many national and international nonprofit organizations addressing a wide range of governance issues, from how to start a nonprofit organization, to improving board engagement and performance and restructuring complex entities. Her areas of expertise include board roles and responsibilities, board self-assessments, understanding conflicts of interest and legal compliance, exceptional practices, and transformative governance. Vernetta provides governance counsel, training, and solution-based strategies to clients, which have included Habitat for Humanity International, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, YMCA, Smart Start agencies, US Black Chamber, and the Concordia University system, among others. Vernetta also leads BoardSource’s diversity and inclusion work to help nonprofit boards address the challenges and obstacles of integrating successful diversity and inclusion strategies and practices.

Vernetta brings a broad depth of knowledge and expertise to BoardSource. She practiced law for a large firm in Orlando, Florida, for several years and also served as associate general counsel for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, rendering technical assistance, consulting, and training to many of its 1400 member organizations. Prior to Maryland Nonprofits, Vernetta served as foundation advocacy counsel for the Alliance for Justice and as director of the Administration of Justice Grants Program for the Florida Bar Foundation.

Vernetta is a contributing author to Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, a Jossey-Bass publication (2011), and Investing in Change: A Funder’s Guide to Supporting Advocacy, an Alliance for Justice publication (2004). She has served on several boards, including Planned Parenthood, Lynx (Orlando’s regional transportation authority), the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, and the Valencia Community College Advisory Board. She received a JD degree from the Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri, and a BA degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. She is admitted to the Florida and Maryland state bars.


Sonya Campion

President, Campion Advocacy Fund;
Trustee, Campion Foundation

Sonya brings a 30-plus year career in professional fundraising to her leadership roles as president of the Campion Advocacy Fund. Her responsibilities include helping to set strategic direction, and incorporating building capacity in the sector and in our grantees into everything the foundation and advocacy fund does.

Sonya’s work to leverage change is not confined to her office in Seattle. Her civic engagement is an extension of her personal passions and her professional pursuits in bringing the sector together, and she can often be found in the halls of Olympia and Washington, DC using her own voice to fight for change. She is a founding board member of Funders Together to End Homelessness, a national network of foundations supporting strategic grantmaking and advocacy to end homelessness; a founder of Philanthropy Northwest’s Capacity Building Learning Circle, a network of 70-plus northwest foundations committed to strengthening the non-profit sector; and helped launch the national Stand for Your Mission board advocacy campaign with BoardSource to mobilize board members for effective social change and to change the advocacy environment by adding the nonprofit voice to the equation. In addition she serves on the boards of Seattle, King & Snohomish YWCA, Whitman College, and Independent Sector.

Previous to her work at Campion Foundation, Sonya served for 18 years as vice president of The Collins Group, a regional fundraising consulting firm, working with more than 100 organizations and raising more than $500 million in capital and major gifts campaigns. She is a national trainer and speaker on catalytic fundraising and innovative philanthropy and is committed to strengthening the fundraising profession to leverage more effective philanthropy. She has been honored for Professional Lifetime Achievement in Fundraising by the Northwest Development Officers Association (NDOA); as a “Woman of Influence” by the Puget Sound Business Journal; as the NonProfit Times Top 50 Power & Influence Nonprofit leaders in the country; and along with her husband, Tom Campion, as Philanthropists of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

She holds a B.A. degree in psychology with a minor in political science from Whitman College, and can often be found in wild, natural settings, from the Methow Valley to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Thursday | October 19 | 5:45-6:15 – Quick Talks

What is a Quick Talk?

Come to Willow A + B for entertaining and rapid-fire mini-sessions by your conference peers. Presentations will feature case studies, stories, lessons learned, best practices, and more. This is not a sales pitch, but a chance to engage with the community and hear stories from the field. This BLF first will be informative, inspirational, and fun. Light beverages provided, no registration required.

Friday, October 20th

Friday | October 20 | 8:30-9:30 – Mini Plenaries

What You Do Matters: Putting Your Work into Perspective

Session Materials: Handout #1


As a member of the board or staff, you give more than money or expertise to your organization. You give your time, one of the few commodities that can’t be replaced. Often, with the pace of change and the need for the board and organization to operate at peak efficiency just to keep up, we lose sight of what it’s all about. When was the last time you stopped and reminded yourself of your organization’s greater purpose? It may be time to step back and remember that what you do matters. In this session, Dave Sternberg, CRFM, BoardSource senior governance consultant and author of Fearless Fundraising for Nonprofit Board Members, will share how his work with four nonprofit organizations are connected directly to your organization. He’ll take you on a journey from Statesville, NC, to Kathmandu, Nepal, to Pittsburgh, PA, to rural Afghanistan, and then right back to your seat in Seattle, WA. You will leave the session and head home to your own community and organization with renewed confidence in your work and the energy necessary to re-enter the boardroom and tackle the next challenge.


Dave Sternberg

BoardSource senior governance consultant; principal, Loring, Sternberg, and Associates; and faculty member, The Fund Raising School at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Dave Sternberg joined the nonprofit sector soon after obtaining a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. Today, he is a faculty member of The Fund Raising School at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a BoardSource senior governance consultant, and an independent consultant with Loring, Sternberg and Associates. His consulting clients describe him as a gifted strategist, adept at assessing and identifying solutions for organizational and board challenges, and brutally honest. In partnership with BoardSource, Dave authored the second edition of Fearless Fundraising for Nonprofit Boards, which is one of the organization’s best sellers. He is active in the Indiana chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a board member of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis and Catch the Stars Foundation.

From Mired to Marvelous: Leading Board Transformation


When an organization is on the cusp of major change, the board needs to be more than a receiver of reports and approver of management proposals. To lead change, make a real difference, and be accountable, the board needs to ask questions — good questions, engage in conversations — hard conversations, and make informed decisions on issues — challenging issues.

In this mini-plenary, Cathy Trower, author of The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership, will introduce the common denominators of successful board transformation before asking three key leaders involved in a governance change process to share the barriers, enablers, and lessons learned in leading board transformation. Join us to learn from Cathy and the chief executive, board chair, and governance committee chair of The RiverWoods Group in New Hampshire how to move a board from mired to marvelous. There will be time for questions from the audience.


Cathy TrowerCathy Trower

Principal, Trower & Trower, Inc.
Vice Chair, BoardSource Board of Directors

Cathy Trower is principal of Trower & Trower, Inc., through which she provides a full range of board governance consulting services to nonprofit organizations. She is author of The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High-Performing Nonprofit Boards (Jossey Bass, 2013), Govern More, Manage Less (BoardSource, 2010), and “Flipping the Boardroom for Trustee Engagement: Why and How” (AGB – Trusteeship, March/April, 2015). Cathy has a PhD in higher education administration from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MBA and BBA from the University of Iowa. She serves on the boards of BoardSource, RiverWoods Retirement Community, and Wheaton College.


Bruce-MastBruce Mast

Board Chair, RiverWoods at Exeter
President, Bruce Mast & Associates

Bruce Mast, chair of the RiverWoods at Exeter board, is president of BMA, a firm known for helping individuals and organizations that are stuck or at a juncture point find a productive way forward through coaching, strategic planning, and leadership development. He also has taught organizational management and leadership in graduate-level programs and is currently an adjunct faculty member of the finance department at the University of New Hampshire’s Paul College of Business and Economics. In addition to serving as the board chair of RiverWoods at Exeter, Bruce serves on the governance committee for Strawbery Banke Museum and on the New Hampshire Hospice and Palliative Care Organization board. He has received several awards for his board and community service and has a master’s degree in peace studies (applied ethics) from the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminaries and a BA degree in social science, summa cum laude, from Bethel College.

Patty-PruePatty McCartan Prue

Board Vice Chair and Former Governance Committee Chair, RiverWoods at Exeter
Executive Coach and Management Consultant, McCartan Consulting

Patty McCartan Prue, vice chair of the RiverWoods at Exeter board, is an executive coach and management consultant. Prior to forming her own firm, McCartan Consulting, Patty was senior vice president of HR for a 36B global company and has extensive experience in international human resources and mergers and acquisitions. Her industry experience includes health care, pharmaceutical, electronics, engineering and financial services. Her professional certifications include Executive Coaching-Behavioral Coaching Institute, Leadership Versatility Index 360, and Emotional Intelligence (MSCEIT-Testing). She is a graduate of Stonehill College.

Justine-VogelJustine Vogel

President & CEO, The RiverWoods Group

Justine Vogel joined The RiverWoods Group in June 1994 as a member of the pre-opening team and director of accounting. She subsequently grew into the roles of CFO in 1997, COO in 2005, and president/CEO in 2007. A graduate of Rutgers University School of Business with a B.S. degree in accounting, Justin is a certified public accountant in the state of New Jersey and serves as a board member of Leading Age of Maine and New Hampshire. She is frequent speaker on strategic management, growth planning, culture development, and financial oversight. Her prior experience includes several years in auditing and financial analysis with Arthur Andersen & Co., Ernst & Young, and Chubb Life Insurance Company.

Friday | October 20 | 9:45-11:00 – Concurrent Sessions

What Every Board Member Needs to Know about Overhead

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

We all want to solve society’s most pressing problems. To do this, we need to build strong nonprofits that can deliver outcomes that matter. Tragically, we now know that 40 percent of even those most well-known and best-funded nonprofits are in financial distress with frequent budget deficits and inadequate reserves. One main cause is chronic underfunding of indirect costs. Something is deeply wrong with a system that so consistently undervalues investments in organizational strength and financial health. We believe there is a better way — one that supports strong programs and strong organizations.

How can board members contribute to the solution? What are the questions every board member should be asking? During this session, you will learn about the latest research on indirect costs in the nonprofit sector, come to understand how high-performing organizations are solving this problem and building organizational strength, and hear how board members can play a critical role in advancing the conversation.


Brian-BurwellBrian Burwell

The Bridgespan Group

Brian Burwell is a partner in the San Francisco office of The Bridgespan Group. He joined Bridgespan in 2016 to continue following his passion and commitment to make a difference on social issues. His focus is in the philanthropy practice, where he brings his particular experience in education and healthcare to breaking cycles of poverty. Prior to joining Bridgespan, Brian spent more than 35 years as a partner at Marakon, where he also served as CEO. As a management consultant, he has worked with some of the world’s leading corporations and nonprofit organizations on strategy, execution, organization, and leadership. Brian is deeply involved with sports, charitable, and educational organizations. He is on the board of a San Francisco based software company, on the dean’s advisory council at the University of California, Davis, and continues to serve as a senior advisor for Marakon. He received a BA degree in economics from the University of California at Davis and an MBA from Stanford University.

Tapping into Your Board and Community’s Potential

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 101

In this session, three board leaders from the Anacortes Family Center, a homeless shelter in the small community (15,000 residents) of Anacortes, WA, will present a strategic planning success story that can be replicated by others. They’ll explain how their board, staff, and community came together as a team to

  • develop a state-of-the-art program to help homeless families become self-sufficient
  • build two facilities totally paid for by community donations exceeding $3 million

Participants will learn ways to capitalize on the strengths and expertise of every board member; how to develop strategies for collaboration between your board, staff, and community to achieve a common goal; and the steps involved in conducting a successful capital campaign.


Dustin Johnson

Executive Director, Anacortes Family Center

Dustin Johnson is the executive director of the Anacortes Family Center (AFC). He has more than a decade of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, program administration, capital campaigns, and strategic planning. Dustin joined AFC in 2013, taking the organization from operating losses for three consecutive years to profitability in six months. He also has expanded the program by doubling net assets, doubled the staff, successfully executed a $2 million capital campaign, and maintained an 80 percent client success rate.

Ann Hutchinson Meyers

Board Member, Anacortes Family Center

Ann Hutchinson Meyers, Ph.D., is a national consultant who works in the field of housing and social services for the homeless. She is former vice president of transformational services at Haven for Hope in San Antonio, TX, the nation’s largest homeless transformation campus. Her community and philanthropic service ranges from serving as the board chair of SAM Ministries, cofounder of the DeNovo Foundation, and board member of the San Antonio Children’s Center to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Ann serves on the AFC board and chaired the capital campaign that raised $1.5 million for the building of the center’s new transitional campus, which opened in April 2017.

Vicki-StaschVicki Stasch

Board Member, Anacortes Family Center

Vicki Stasch, M.S., has worked for more than 30 years as a management consultant and facilitator for nonprofits and for-profits throughout California and Washington on strategic planning, team building, executive leadership development, and board development. She has been adjunct faculty for the California School of Psychology (Alliant University) and the University of San Francisco. Since 1985, she has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Anacortes Family Center, Habitat for Humanity, Food Link and Family Services of Tulare County, Rotary, and Sequoia Kings Park Foundation. She was board chair of the Anacortes Family Center during its capital campaign and oversaw board development.

The Board’s Role in Human Resource Management

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

How involved should your board should be in human resource matters? Striking the right balance requires careful thought and consideration. With the right partnership between your board and your staff, your organization will be strengthened and better able drive your mission forward by maximizing your most important asset — your people.

In this interactive session, you’ll gain insights on

  • the difference between governance and management as it relates to human resources
  • the role and importance of talent to mission and why your board needs to pay attention to human resources
  • the key components of a talent management program and where boards should focus their efforts
  • strategies to develop and delineate board roles related to human resources and talent management


Lisa-Brown-AlexanderLisa Brown Alexander

President & CEO, Nonprofit HR

Lisa Brown Alexander is president & CEO of Nonprofit HR. With more than 25 years of HR experience with both for- and nonprofits, Lisa is passionate about the importance of meaningful investments in people and organizational culture. She also has 15-plus years of experience serving on nonprofit boards, currently serving on the advisory council for Fund the People and on the board of the Prince Georges Cultural Arts Foundation and Community Youth Advance in Maryland.

Sidney-AbramsSidney Abrams

Managing Director of Consulting Services, Nonprofit HR

Sidney Abrams is the managing director of Nonprofit HR’s consulting services. He has more than 23 years of HR experience, 17 in associations and nonprofits. Sidney specializes in compliance and audit and is passionate about enabling HR teams to support nonprofit missions.

Beyond the Board: Alternatives in Nonprofit Governance

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 301

Nonprofit corporate governance is dominated by boards of directors, but a traditional board might not be the best structure or fit for every nonprofit. Recent developments in nonprofit corporate law (and some older, though little-used provisions) permit a great variety of alternative governance structures — designated bodies, authorized third parties, committees, and members — that can supplement or replace board governance. Use of these alternative structures can meet some nonprofits’ special governance needs, but implementing alternative structures requires careful consideration, planning, and drafting.

Join us to learn more about the alternative governance structures permitted by many states’ laws; the circumstances and issues that may make an alternative governance structure the best choice for your organization; and the legal technicalities involved in implementing alternative governance structures.


Bill-KlimonWilliam M. Klimon

Attorney, Caplin & Drysdale

William M. Klimon is a member of Caplin & Drysdale’s exempt organizations group in Washington, DC. Over the past 15 years, he has advised more than 600 charities and other nonprofit organizations from throughout the country on matters relating to corporate governance and transactions, intellectual property issues, and other legal matters. He is chair of the American Bar Association’s Nonprofit Organizations Committee and a regular lecturer on topics important to nonprofit leaders. William has a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law and an LLM in tax from Georgetown University Law Center.

Supporting Boards to Shift Mindsets and Habits

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2

Level 201

Creating a strong and resilient board capable of generating new ideas and choosing strategies in the midst of the complex worlds in which we live is challenging adaptive work. Boards and staff must shift their mindsets and their everyday habits.

Ron Heifetz and others who work in the field of adaptive leadership talk about a “holding environment” as those ties that bind people together and enable them to maintain their collective focus on the work at hand. Sometimes that holding environment needs to be a pressure cooker and sometimes it needs to be a gentle hug. All adaptive change requires that leaders be attentive to the quality of the holding environments they are creating and nurturing.

In this session, the presenters will share what they have learned about creating holding environments for boards working to adapt and grow stronger. They’ll discuss the elements required, such as data about the board’s performance, time away to reflect and learn, concrete tools and frameworks, resources to explore new experiments, and ongoing support from both peers and experienced coaches. Participants will hear from boards that have taken a journey of change through the Nonprofit Leadership Academy hosted by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. The session will provide time for you to reflect on how you might create more productive holding environments for your board.


Meredith-EmmettMeredith Emmett

President, Third Space Studio, Inc.

Meredith Emmett is a facilitator, trainer, and consultant known for her interactive and creative ways of engaging people in meaningful conversations and thoughtful action. As president of Third Space Studio, Inc., Meredith has worked with dozens of nonprofits in North Carolina and across the country. She has years of experience as a former nonprofit executive director and has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. Meredith has a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Duke University.

Valerie-StewartValerie Stewart

Director of Organizational Capacity, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation

Valerie Stewart is director of organizational capacity at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, where she develops trainings and customized skill-building for nonprofit staff and board members. She has served as a board member for Girls on the Run of the Triangle and continues governance committee work as a dedicated volunteer. Valerie earned her undergraduate degree in communications from Butler University and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Heather-YandowHeather Yandow

Consultant, Third Space Studio, Inc.

Heather Yandow brings more than a decade of experience as an outreach coordinator, coalition leader, project manager, and fundraiser to Third Space Studio, Inc., and its clients. She served on the board of the beehive collective, Democracy NC, and ncyt, North Carolina’s network of young nonprofit professionals. Heather earned a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University and a B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of North Carolina.

The Sustainability Mindset: A New Approach to Board Leadership

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Board Leadership Boot Camp: One of four sessions identified by BoardSource as appropriate for individuals with five or fewer years of experience serving on a nonprofit board.

When asked what is their number one challenge, most nonprofit leaders will say “fundraising!” But too often, the ability to raise money is not really the problem — it is the symptom of deeper cultural and structural issues.

For social sector leaders to achieve real outcomes and positive social change, they must end the culture of scarcity that has plagued the sector for decades and adopt a sustainability mindset. The board is the essential change agent that can drive the necessary cultural change to end the scarcity mindset that is limiting potential impact. For long-term profitability and sustainability, board leaders cannot afford to apologize for the burden of asking for money, to tolerate unproductive board dynamics, and to continue to exploit sweat equity to make ends meet. Sustainability, not scarcity, must become the norm.

In this interactive session, we’ll discuss what it takes to shift the board’s energy and leadership to a sustainability mindset that

  • offers investment opportunities for donors and funders
  • seizes the opportunity to grow the skills and networks boards need to succeed
  • invests in its people, systems, and infrastructure to drive growth
  • provides staff, volunteers, and constituents with the ability to work together to create meaningful, lasting change


David GrecoDavid Greco

President & CEO, Social Sector Partners

David Greco is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and consultant on creating a more sustainable and effective social sector. He brings more than 25 years of experience in driving the growth and impact of social sector organizations to his work. In 2013, David founded Social Sector Partners to provide funders and nonprofits with training and development to create a culture of sustainability that incorporates real cost, sustainable business and revenue models, and a focus on impact. He regularly speaks at national, regional, and local conferences and has trained thousands of nonprofit leaders on increasing their sustainability and impact.

The Language of Leadership: How to Use Language to Lead, Engage, and Advocate

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Adults use approximately 15,000 words per day. How effectively are you and your board leaders using those words to lead staff, engage donors and volunteers, and advocate for the causes you care about? In today’s always-on-overdrive culture, we move so quickly that we rarely make the most of our words — an extremely valuable and inexhaustible resource.

In this fast-paced and interactive session, we will look at research that reveals the biggest mistakes nonprofits make when it comes to language, and how leaders can fix these mistakes in their organizations. We will dive into how leaders can use language to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion and tackle the challenges unique to executive–board communications. You’ll learn how to identify your language style and how it relates to your leadership style, how to calibrate your language for different audiences and contexts, and how to improve your communications through simple yet effective techniques that will notably improve your ability to lead, engage, and advocate.


Erica MillsErica Mills

Director, Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy, University of Washington

Erica Mills directs the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy at the University of Washington, where she also teaches graduate courses in marketing and fund development. Her research and word focuses on the interplay between language and impact and has been featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She is the creator of Wordifier, a free online tool that helps nonprofits amplify their words, and author of “Pitchfalls: Why Bad Pitches Happen to Good People”. She also founded Claxon, a company that teaches nonprofits how to create remarkable messaging.

Nonprofit and Philanthropic Consulting: A Peer-to-Peer Dialogue

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

In this session, we’ll explore the field of nonprofit and philanthropic consulting. Two consultants and Alliance for Nonprofit Management members who have years of practice management experience and deep understanding of the field will kick things off with a brief overview of the market landscape. They’ll share what they have learned about building their practices and honing their technical skills, analyzing and diversifying their portfolios and services, and building and growing viable, small businesses. We’ll then break into small groups to discuss such topics as service design, business development, and integrating research into capacity-building interventions. All attendees will receive resources to further their exploration of the field.

This session is curated by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.


Marissa-PaineMarissa Q. Paine

Founder and Principal, The Painefree Coaching and Consulting Group
Interim Executive Director, Alliance for Nonprofit Management

Marissa Q. Paine is the founder and principal of The Painefree Coaching and Consulting Group, a leadership and organization development company providing coaching, training, facilitation, and transition management services. A corporate executive turned social worker, she brings more than 20 years of corporate, nonprofit, education, and faith-based experience to her practice. This includes serving as executive director of several health and human service organizations and directing a federally funded capacity-building program providing grants, training, and technical assistance to more than 70 nonprofits in the Greater St. Louis region. Marissa holds a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in social work administration. She is also a certified DiSC trainer and emotional intelligence and change management practitioner. Specializing in organizational change and transition, Marissa is currently serving as the interim executive director of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.

Anne-YurasekAnne Yurasek

Principal, Fio Partners
Board Chair, Alliance for Nonprofit Management

Anne Yurasek, principal of Fios Partners, has been an organizational development consultant and trainer for more than 12 years in the nonprofit and private sector.  Her strength lies in her ability to listen to her clients’ needs and develop customized solutions. She is also respected for her training and presentation skills as well as her ability to support organizations through inflection points, whether due to consolidation or growth. Anne’s role in many of Fio Partners’ projects is to gather information to support evidence-based decision making. Through informational interviews, surveys, and research, she is able to raise the information and present the findings to clients in an accessible format. Anne has an MBA in management from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wellesley College. She is the board chair of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.

Friday | October 20 | 11:15-12:30 – Concurrent Sessions

Board Meetings That Leave Them Begging for More

Level 301

Do your board meetings make your members laugh and cry and stay late to carry on rich conversations? Do your board members feel deeply connected to one another? Do they leave meetings on fire about sharing your mission and impact with others? Do they ask to help with fundraising? I didn’t think so.

In this highly interactive session, we’ll explore how to strategize board meetings that bring out all the wisdom and passion that your board members long to share — but don’t. You’ll discover how to elicit more authentic governance, more effective ambassadorship, and more powerful fundraising from the leaders you’ve already got. And you’ll leave with concrete, practical steps for implementing these simple tactics in your own boardroom.


Susan-HowlettSusan Howlett

Consultant and Author

Susan Howlett has been strengthening nonprofit boards for more than 40 years as a board member, a development director, an executive director, and — for the past 25 years — as a consultant to thousands of nonprofits across the continent. Author of two acclaimed books — Getting Funded and Boards on Fire — Susan has been a core faculty member of the University of Washington’s year-long fundraising program and a leader and mentor in professional associations throughout the Northwest for several decades. She speaks, trains, and consults nationally and is known for her humor, stories, audience engagement, and love of chocolate.

Your Mission, Your Voice: The Power of Board Advocacy

Level 201

All nonprofits are driven by a mission. One of the most useful assets to help you deliver on your mission is something that is very likely to be woefully underutilized — your board members’ voices. According to BoardSource’s 2015 Leading with Intent report, 41 percent of nonprofit executives identify ambassadorship as the area most in need of board improvement. Board members can serve as powerful champions for our missions, but often don’t.

During this lively, interactive session, leaders from two foundations that used their voices separately and together to drive bold change in Arkansas — the Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation — will share their stories. As they do so, you’ll learn (1) why it is critical for nonprofits and foundations to use their voices and stand up for their missions and (2) how to do it.


Kathy-SmithKathy Smith

Senior Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation

Kathy Smith has been with the Walton Family Foundation for 15 years. Her current responsibilities as senior program officer include education initiatives in Arkansas and Kansas City, Missouri, that promote systemic reform using the principles of accountability, transparency, choice, and incentives. Prior to joining the foundation, Kathy spent 21 years in public education in Oklahoma and Arkansas, first as a high school English teacher and eventually as a district secondary curriculum director. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Arkansas.

Sherece-West-ScantleburySherece West-Scantlebury

President & CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Sherece West-Scantlebury, PhD, is president & CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, a private, independent foundation with a mission to improve the lives of all Arkansans in three interrelated areas: development; education; and economic, racial, and social justice. Involved in philanthropy for 25 years, Sherece previously served as CEO of the Foundation for Louisiana and as a program associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Her professional career includes nearly 30 years of experience in community development, public policy and advocacy, and public service. In addition to managing the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Sherece is active in a number of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

The Grateful Dead: Why Planned Giving Rocks

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

The imminent retirement of 77 million Baby Boomers could change philanthropic giving as we know it today. Will Baby Boomers pull back from annual giving as their cash stops flowing? Will your organization make up this shortfall with bequest income? Do your board members understand the importance of their role in developing and implementing planned giving strategies? Join this insightful discussion about the importance of the “Grateful Dead” and how every board member can help your nonprofit craft a dynamic planned giving program.


Chuck Loring

Senior Partner, Loring, Sternberg, & Associates
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Chuck V. Loring, MBA, CFRE, is the senior partner of the Fort Lauderdale and Indianapolis-based firm of Loring, Sternberg, & Associates, which provides fundraising and governance consulting services to nonprofits. Chuck is also a senior governance consultant for BoardSource, offering expertise in board development and other governance issues to nonprofit boards across the country.

Chuck is a past president of the Indiana chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He is a former president of the University of California Alumni Association and a former trustee of the UCSB Foundation.

Chuck has helped hundreds of local and regional nonprofits across the country improve their governance, including such prominent charities as Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Girl Scouts USA, Make-A-Wish America, Easter Seals, Planned Parenthood, Feeding America, and The Smithsonian National Museum of The American Indian.

Every year, Chuck conducts dozens of training programs for funders, community foundations, and nonprofit centers interested in good governance. His repeat clients include The Hartford Community Foundation for Public Giving, The Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, The Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, The Waco Community Foundation, The Community Foundation of Broward County, The Philanthropy Center at Rollins College, and the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits to name only a few.

Social Justice and Equity: Getting on Board

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

In these politically and socially polarizing times, nonprofit leaders have the obligation and the opportunity to help close the disparities gap and correct social injustices. Too often, however, gaps exist within our own organizations between our “talk” about social justice and equity — as seen, for example, in well-crafted mission statements — and the “walk” of external programming and internal operations, especially human resources. This needs to change, and it starts with the board. All board leaders have a role in animating the “talk” about social justice into action. Eradication of injustice requires moving beyond once-a-year cultural competency and Diversity 101 trainings. In this dialogue-based session, we’ll discuss the newest thinking on social justice in the nonprofit sector and practical strategies for understanding the role of nonprofits, regardless of their mission, in courageously and safely pivoting toward meaningful contributions to social justice and equity in America.


Jacqueline Coleman

Principal, Vision Que! LLC

Jacqueline Coleman is founder and principal of Vision Que! LLC, a boutique consulting company. Drawing upon her extensive experience as a senior program manager and administrator, with a focus in workforce development, Jacqueline uniquely integrates theory, public health, and policy to facilitate community mobilization and policy/systems change initiatives. She has 20-plus years of experience assisting domestic and global public health agencies, private entities, and governmental and non-governmental leaders in maximizing their impacts. She has provided strategic consultation on gender-tailored programs, health equity initiatives, racial health disparities, policy development and advocacy, and organizational change management. Jacqueline is academically trained in communications, counseling and psychology, and business management.

Sandra Houston

Principal, Pivot Principles LLC

Sandra Houston is principal and founder of Pivot Principles LLC, an organizational development and coaching firm in NJ. A community health professional, she has more than 20 years of experience in project management, formative research, program planning, training, and technical assistance to public and private sector organizations. She has served as a coach and capacity-building specialist to numerous governmental agencies and community and faith-based organizations. Sandra specializes in identifying and resolving barriers that prevent organizations from reaching their full potential and in developing linkages between public and private organizations to address changing and newly emerging community needs.

Take the Lead: Become the Community Influencer You Want Your Organization to Be

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Many small nonprofits have not maximized their potential in the communities they serve. Join us to learn how! In this session, we’ll discuss the lessons learned by an organization in pursuit of $50 million to build a new world-class facility in its community. We’ll focus on how to

  • form and cultivate strategic partnerships
  • become a valued member of your community to maximize your influence
  • create and disseminate your messaging into the community to engage and form allies
  • maximize short-term volunteer positions to further long-tailed organizational goals requiring big sustained fundraising efforts
  • shift your board’s focus from a singular to a global view and how that can drive larger organizational initiatives


John-BitterJohn Bitter

CEO, Santa Clara Swim Club

John Bitter has been affiliated with the Santa Clara Swim Club for 11 years, eight of them as CEO and head coach. As CEO of one of the country’s leading youth sports organizations (it has produced more than 80 U.S. Olympians), he has gained extensive experience in organizational leadership, volunteer/staff maximization, and fundraising. In addition to serving the Santa Clara Swim Club, John serves on the boards of USA Swimming, Pacific Swimming, and the Silicon Valley Aquatics Initiative, which is committed to creating a world-class destination of aquatics excellence and becoming the swim capital of the world.

Getting to Good Governance Ain’t Easy: Taking Action on Change

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

Many boards and their CEOs know that their board must become more effective, more mission oriented, more generative and that their board composition needs adjusting.

This awareness comes about because of a self -assessment, board composition issues, a new chair promoting change, the realization that board demographics do not reflect the world, a consultant report for an effective governance structure and…in so many other ways.

Yet the board and CEO often do not know how to manage the change, to make the hard calls, to shift practices, to change board composition and do what it takes to get to good governance.

Through a discussion of case studies and real-world examples, we’ll focus on how to move from a good idea on where governance needs to be to implementation, composition and cultural change, and action which leads to governance impact.

We will discuss:

  1. How to introduce and manage change
  2. The importance of culture to change
  3. Board composition and resistance to change
  4. The role of advisory non-governing bodies
  5. The difference between board engagement and membership engagement

Using representative practices, your ideas, and practical insight, we will discuss the toughest of questions, how to manage them and what strategies will lead to implementation in a very practical sense.


Ann-CohenAnn Cohen

Principal, Ann Cohen and Associates
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Ann Cohen is the Chief Strategist and Change Agent for Ann Cohen and Associates and a Senior Governance Consultant for BoardSource. She is an experienced nonprofit professional with a corporate, government and nonprofit background. She believes in ‘making it work.’  In 18 years supporting nonprofits she delivers the leadership training, coaching, conflict resolution and learning required to lead, implement action and continue learning. Prior to founding her practice, Ann was Vice President at EDS, now HP, leading the strategy, pursuit, and profit/loss over a multi-billion-dollar operation.  Ann began her career as a U.S. Department of Justice attorney prosecuting enforcement actions against Fortune 500 companies including before the US Supreme Court. Ann serves on both global and local nonprofit boards.  She is Washington, DC based and graduated cum laude from Clark University and earned her JD from Antioch School of Law.

Ban the Bored Room: Fantastic Meeting Facilitation Skills

Level 101

Board members spend a good portion of their volunteer time in meetings — from board meetings to committee meetings to social gatherings. This is most often where vital discussions take place and critical decisions are made — but these meetings also can be a drag!  Strong facilitation skills can be the difference between providing your members with an engaging, fulfilling board experience or scrambling to find warm bodies to serve.

In this interactive session, you’ll learn new ways to keep your meetings focused and even enjoyable for your members. We’ll discuss facilitation roles, identify activities that will improve shared leadership in meetings, and explore methods to prioritize governance discussions and avoid reporting out. Take-aways include a sample agenda outline, rotating responsibilities matrix, and 14 facilitation tips.


Emily DavisEmily Davis

President, Emily Davis Consulting
BoardSource Senior Governance Consultant

Emily Davis is president of Emily Davis Consulting, author of Fundraising and the Next Generation, a 21/64 multigenerational family philanthropy consultant, and a BoardSource senior governance consultant. She serves nonprofits and philanthropists through planning, facilitation, and publications on governance, philanthropy, multigenerational issues, and nonprofit startup management.

Emily has served in board leadership roles for local, national, and international nonprofits. She also has served as a founder, grantmaker, staff member, and volunteer across a wide range of local and national organizations. Emily has a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University, where she is an adjunct professor, and was named one of the 40 Under Forty in Boulder Valley (CO) in 2015.

A New Approach to the Board’s Biggest Job: Managing Founder and Long-Term CEO Succession

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

No theme rises higher on The Bridgespan Group’s surveys of nonprofit organizational needs than succession planning, and nowhere is it trickier than with founders and long-term CEOs. Yet it’s an area with historically little hard data to guide boards. The research on founder and long-term CEO transition —based on Form 990 analysis, extensive polling, and interviews in collaboration with GuideStar and BoardSource —takes us beyond the myth of the clean break. Indeed, under the right conditions, organizations benefit when founders stay on in some role. This session includes a research snapshot, a fireside chat and Q&A with a founder and his/her successor, and table talks/exercises and share outs. We’ll discuss the conditions under which organizations benefit from a founder staying on, the roles he or she might play, and concrete steps boards can take years before a transition to lay the groundwork for success. Participants will have the opportunity to talk about their own succession planning needs, with worksheets for reflection and experience sharing.


Katie-MilwayKatie Smith Milway

Partner, The Bridgespan Group

Katie Smith Milway joined The Bridgespan Group as a partner in 2008, following careers in journalism, nonprofit management, and corporate strategy consulting. She worked for Bain & Company as a consultant in Toronto and Munich, then as a founding editorial director and global publisher. She also served as international program coordinator for NGO Food for the Hungry, and edited and reported for WSJ, Montreal Gazette, TIME. She has co-authored numerous articles on nonprofit management and leadership, including “The Nonprofit Leadership Development Deficit” (Stanford Social Innovation Review online, October 2015); “Get Ready for Your Next Assignment” (Harvard Business Review, November 2011); “The Challenge of Organizational Learning” (Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2011); “Finding Leaders for America’s Nonprofits” (Bridgespan.org, April 2009). A graduate of Stanford University and INSEAD, Katie has served on the boards of World Vision US, Veritas Forum, America SCORES Boston, and Anna B. Stearns Foundation.

Jari-TuomalaJari Tuomala

Partner, The Bridgespan Group

Jari Tuomala is a partner in Bridgespan’s New York office. He works with organizations across the nonprofit sector, both funders and nonprofits, helping them develop and implement new strategies, manage organizational change, and improve their operating models. His particular focus areas are International NGOs, founder-led social enterprises, and their funders. Jari co-authored the article “Stop Starving Scale: Unlocking the Potential of Global NGOs.”

Prior to Bridgespan, Jari spent 18 years with The Boston Consulting Group, where he led the Industrial goods and nonprofit practices in Washington, DC. He received his MBA with distinction from INSEAD and his MSc in industrial engineering from Helsinki University of Technology.

Donald-YehDonald Yeh

Manager, The Bridgespan Group

Donald Yeh is a manager in Bridgespan’s New York office. He joined Bridgespan from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where he was responsible for attracting new audiences and expanding access to the arts. Prior to this, Donald was a manager at Bain & Company, where he advised clients across sectors, including retail and consumer products clients. He was also a fellow at Civic Consulting Alliance. Donald earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he was a Siebel Scholar. He also holds a master of music degree from Northwestern University and a BS in mechanical engineering from Rice University.

Friday | October 20 | 12:45-1:45 – Lunch Plenary

Friday | October 20 | 2:00-3:15 – Concurrent Sessions

Leading for Purpose & Impact: Maximizing Board Diversity & Inclusion

Level 301

Organizations within the nonprofit sector have long recognized, and continue to wrestle with, the significant implications of the current diversity gap, which threatens to undermine the relevance, legitimacy, and ability of nonprofits to fulfill their missions.

This session will examine how to maximize diversity and inclusion in nonprofit boards of directors. It will draw on empirical studies on diversity within the sector and nonprofit governance as well as on leadership literature focused on the relationship between board diversity and performance outcomes and how intervening processes, practices, or contextual characteristics might shape these relationships. The session will offer insight into the mechanisms by which diversity is most impactful and provide practical guidance for achieving the benefits of diversity, based on the idea that increasing visible minority representation in nonprofit leadership positions is a critical first step, but depends on evolving into an inclusive organization that values leading and governing in partnership.

Achieving diversity is more complex than just numbers. Attendees will leave with an understanding of the significant differences between board diversity and inclusion, an understanding of the impact board diversity and inclusion have on board performance, and techniques that may be used to maximize board diversity and inclusion behaviors.


Ruth-BernsteinRuth Bernstein

Assistant Professor in Nonprofit Studies, University of Washington Tacoma

Ruth Bernstein, PhD, is an assistant professor in nonprofit studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. She earned her doctorate of management degree from Case Western Reserve University. Ruth is a regular presenter at ARNOVA (Association for Research in Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action). Her publication and research interests focus on (1) diversity, intercultural interactions, and inclusion within multicultural communities, including nonprofit boards, voluntary organizations, and universities, and (2) nonprofit governance. For the past two years, Ruth has served as a member of the governance section for ARNOVA. She is active with many Tacoma-area nonprofits.

Listen for Good: Learn How Nonprofits Across America are Hearing from the People They Seek to Help

Join BoardSource’s board chair, Rick Moyers, in conversation with Lindsay Louie from the Hewlett Foundation, to learn about a national initiative called Listen for Good. Listening to the people we as nonprofits ultimately seek to help is a critical way to gain insight into what’s working for clients and what could be improved. While most nonprofits collect client feedback, few do so on an ongoing, systematic basis—and even fewer have committed to regularly using feedback to inform their work. Listen for Good is dedicated to changing this by building capacity and enthusiasm for feedback among customer-facing nonprofits across issue areas, populations served, budget sizes, and geography. Through Listen for Good, organizations gather client opinions and perspectives using a simple question set that includes the Net Promoter System™. More than 100 nonprofits nationwide are already participating in Listen for Good, creating robust feedback loops that inform decision making; can lead to improved programs, services, and outcomescan help shine a light on structural inequities; and can become a tool for empowerment and self-advocacy.


Lindsay LouieLindsay Louis

Program Officer, The Hewlett Foundation

Lindsay Austin Louie is a program officer for the philanthropy grantmaking program at the Hewlett Foundation. This program is a part the foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group. Prior to joining Hewlett, Lindsay served as executive director of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2), a venture philanthropy partnership of individual donors. Before leading SV2, she ran business development for Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties. Lindsay is currently the board president of Counseling and Support Services for Youth (CASSY), a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit that provides school-based mental health services in more than 30 local public schools.

Rick Moyers

Independent Consultant
Board Chair, BoardSource Board of Directors

Rick Moyers is an independent consultant to philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. From 2010 to 2017, he was vice president for programs and communications at the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, a private foundation that supports nonprofits working to meet local needs in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Rick joined the Meyer Foundation as a program officer in 2003, and led the foundation’s work to support and sustain nonprofit executive directors and strengthen the region’s nonprofit sector.

From 1999 to 2003, Rick was executive director of the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and from 1992 to 1999, he held senior management positions at BoardSource. He is a co-author of “Daring to Lead 2011,” a national study of nonprofit executive directors, and is the author of The Nonprofit Chief Executive’s Ten Basic Responsibilities, published by BoardSource. Rick also writes about boards and governance issues for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. In 2009, Rick received the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s inaugural Grantmaker in Capacity Building Award. He is a past board member of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and Imagination Stage, a children’s theater in Bethesda, Maryland, and the World Bank Community Connections Fund. Rick is a graduate of Washington Adventist University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Baltimore.

Ignite Your Brain: Create Powerful Conversations with Impact

Session Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

We know that substantive discussion leads to better decision making, but do we know how to establish a board culture that empowers debate and creative problem solving? How to craft questions for maximum impact and discussion?  In this session, you’ll discover (1) the three levels of conversation and how each affects collaboration, (2) the role the brain plays in building a foundation of trust, and (3) why the phrasing of a question truly matters. You’ll also have the opportunity to put your learning into action by experimenting with the power of “and” during an improvisational activity. Geared to anyone wanting to engage in more powerful and impactful conversations. Come ready to explore and experiment in a fun and supportive environment.


Stacey-BryanStacey Bryan

Owner, Bryan & Associates
BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer

Stacey Bryan describes herself as an instigator of confidence, curiosity, and change. She is the owner of Bryan & Associates, an independent firm specializing in coaching, consulting, meeting facilitation, and speaking with a focus on leadership development. Stacey has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, communications, association management, and the legislative/governmental arenas. She has earned the professional certifications of Certified Association Executive (CAE) through ASAE, Associated Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation, and Certified Governance Trainer (CGT) through BoardSource.

Using Your Vision to Ignite Your Community, Gain Partners, and Strengthen Your Impact

Level 201

Your community is full of possibilities and opportunities. There are people and businesses just waiting to partner with you — people and businesses that can help you achieve greater impact, faster. The key to unlocking this power is in your vision statement!  In this interactive session, you’ll learn a simple technique for using your organization’s vision statement to connect with others who also want to see your community become the best it can be. We’ll then explore ways to open the door to mutually beneficial partnerships.

As a participant, you will break down your vision statements into strategic intents, each with its own power to gain community partners; practice a simple technique for using your vision statement to identify potential partners that are likely not on your radar; and learn how to approach community members in a way that welcomes them as a potentially valuable partner in strengthening the community and that positions you as not just another nonprofit with its hand out.


Terrie-TemkinTerrie Temkin

Founding Principal, CoreStrategies for Nonprofits, Inc.

Terrie Temkin, Ph.D., an award-winning speaker and engaging group facilitator, brings more than 40 years of nonprofit and adult education experience to her work. Considered a thought leader in governance, Terrie is a founding principal of CoreStrategies for Nonprofits, Inc.; coauthor of the Community Engagement Governance framework; and editor of You and Your Nonprofit Board: New Thinking from the Field’s Top Practitioners, Researchers, and Provocateurs.  Her work is found in many books, journals, blogs, and her popular monthly column, “On Nonprofits.” Terrie is active in her profession’s associations as well as local Florida organizations. She serves on the editorial committees of respected journals and newsletters and teaches a graduate-level course in nonprofit governance at Florida Atlantic University.

Organizational Risk — A Board Priority

Level 201

Effective risk prevention and management of an organization seeks to protect (1) those it serves, (2) its human, physical, and financial resources, and (3) its reputation and organizational stature. Strategically implementing a risk management program is essential to minimizing or eliminating events that contribute to losses. Because the board is ultimately responsible for the organization’s vitality, it must insist upon and support a comprehensive and systematic approach to risk management that is tied to mission and focused on quality.

This interactive session will highlight strategies and techniques to identify, manage, and report on areas of risk, such as human resources, finance, and technology, as well as critical incident reporting. The Council on Accreditation’s risk prevention management standards provide comprehensive guidance on how to implement an effective and collaborative system. It uses a number of tools to vet potential risks and to review past incidents to create action plans for reducing risk. Participants will take away tools that can be used at your own organization for incident management, specialized communication, and generation of training topics for staff and committee processes that enhance transparency and teamwork to protect your mission, clients, employees, and volunteers.


Richard Klarberg

President & CEO, Council on Accreditation

Richard Klarberg, JD, is the president and CEO of the Council on Accreditation (COA). Prior to joining COA in 2001, he was the senior vice president of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, executive vice president of the American Health Foundation, and a member of the law firm, Javits & Javits. He served two years in VISTA—the domestic Peace Corps—and taught developmentally challenged children in a New York City public school. He is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and Queens College of the City University of New York.


The Architecture of Action: How to Get Board Members to Do Things Differently

Session Materials: Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3

Level 101

We expect board members to do a lot — to advocate, fundraise, tell our story, read financials, and on and on. We need them to take action because our mission’s success depends on it. Yet, too often they fall short. We get frustrated; they leave or underperform.

“The Architecture of Action” challenges us to rethink how we move board members to action. Drawing on research in adult learning and behavioral economics, this interactive session expands on what we know about the connection between learning and action and how to set up and sustain action over time.  Traditional workshops focus on knowledge and skills in readying leaders for acting in a new way; our model addresses the importance of climate, tools, and feelings in inspiring action. We’ll present a framework being used by boards throughout the state of Washington that centers on mission, accountability, and reflection: “Boards in Gear,” Washington Nonprofits’s highly acclaimed, Washington Secretary of State-approved governance toolkit. Join us to learn how to bring an action mindset to your board and organization on at least one of your key strategic interests and improve your governance.


Nancy-BaconNancy Bacon

Director of Learning and Engagement, Washington Nonprofits

Nancy Bacon has been creating learning programs since 1996. Currently, she is director of learning and engagement for Washington Nonprofits, which is working to ensure that the 58,000 nonprofits in Washington have what they need to succeed. Nancy created the World Affairs Council’s award-winning “Global Classroom” program and has delivered fundraising trainings to Afro-Brazilian women in Salvador, Brazil. At Washington Nonprofits, she led the teams that created “Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits,” “Boards in Gear,” “Let’s Go Legal,” and “Strategic Planning in Nonprofits.” A former middle-school teacher, Nancy has degrees from Swarthmore College and the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

Laura-PierceLaura Pierce

Executive Director, Washington Nonprofits

Laura Pierce became Washington Nonprofits’ executive director in May 2017 after serving as the organization’s interim executive director and having been a member and partner with Washington Nonprofits for many years. She has been the owner and principal consultant of Laura Pierce Consulting. Laura has worked in and with nonprofits since 1989 in the areas of fund development, community organizing, and executive management. Since 1998, she has consulted with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, assisting with strategic planning, board development, organizational assessment, and capacity building.

The Conversation You are Not Having — and Should Be Having — about Measuring Your Fundraising Effectiveness

Level 101

There is a lot of attention paid to how nonprofits raise the dollars they need to support their missions. You don’t have to look far to find news stories and other advisories about organizations being accused of spending too much on fundraising.  But this orientation to fundraising fails to acknowledge how critically important it is for nonprofits to invest in strong strategic fundraising efforts. In this session, you will learn about a new framework that helps boards and leadership teams measure and reflect on the efficacy of their fundraising efforts. Developed by BoardSource in partnership with GuideStar, BBB Wise Giving, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, this new framework is an entry point to more informed conversations about fundraising strategy and avoiding the risks of underinvesting in fundraising efforts.


Anne Wallestad

President & CEO, BoardSource

Anne Wallestad serves as president and CEO of BoardSource, a globally recognized nonprofit focused on strengthening nonprofit leadership at the highest level — the board of directors.  Recognizing the critical partnership between boards and executives, and the impact of that partnership on overall organizational success, BoardSource helps nonprofit leaders invest in their leadership partnership by providing research, thought leadership, and practical supports that help transform board structures, dynamics, and perspectives.

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Andy Davis

Director of Education, BoardSource

As BoardSource’s director of education, Andy Davis is responsible for creating and delivering the public trainings that BoardSource offers to the nonprofit sector, overseeing the BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer program, and aligning BoardSource’s educational offerings across departments. Additionally, as a BoardSource consultant and trainer, Andy works with the organization’s clients nationally, developing and delivering our respected consulting and training services.

Push/Pull: A Framework for How Your Community Influences Your Mission and Money

Sessions Materials: Handout #1

Level 201

By gaining an understanding of your community and market, you are laying the foundation needed to identify and address needs, stay close with your constituents, partner with like-minded organizations, build long-term sustainability, and achieve impact. Most organizations utilize stakeholder interviews or focus groups to help them gain this understanding. Communities, however, are always changing, and nonprofit markets are complex systems, consisting of funders, people who utilize services, other for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and members of the public who actively support nonprofit missions. This interactive session provides a framework for understanding your organization’s market or place in your community, how your market may have changed over time, and how each component of your market might influence your organization’s strategy. We’ll also discuss how to engage your board in a process designed to help it better understand your market and to capture its valuable external perspective.


Steve-ZimmermanSteve Zimmerman

Principal, Spectrum Nonprofit Services

Steven D. Zimmerman is the principal of Spectrum Nonprofit Services, providing training and consulting in the areas of finance and strategy for community-based organizations throughout the country. He is the co-author of two books on nonprofit sustainability published by Jossey-Bass — The Sustainability Mindset: Using the Matrix Map to Make Strategic Directions, with Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint, and Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, with Jeanne Bell and Jan Masaoka of CalNonprofits. Steve is a certified public accountant and earned a BA degree from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA degree from Yale University.

Peer Solutions to Your Pesky Governance Problems

Level 201

Crowdsourcing — the process of obtaining needed ideas and solutions by soliciting contributions from a large group of people or community — is all the rage because it works! Why not apply this approach to your governance and leadership challenges?

In this fast-paced workshop facilitated by BoardSource governance experts, participants will have the opportunity to crowdsource with other session attendees. You will work collaboratively to help one another, contribute your insights and wisdom to the discussion, and learn what has worked or not worked for individuals tackling similar challenges. You don’t want to miss this chance to engage around real-life issues and walk away with practical approaches that you can take back to your board. Members of BoardSource’s consulting and training team members will focus on bringing out the wisdom that’s already in the room.

Space is limited.


Vernetta-WalkerVernetta Walker

Chief Governance Officer and Vice President of Programs, BoardSource

Vernetta Walker, JD, has worked with many national and international nonprofit organizations addressing a wide range of governance issues, from how to start a nonprofit organization, to improving board engagement and performance and restructuring complex entities. Her areas of expertise include board roles and responsibilities, board self-assessments, understanding conflicts of interest and legal compliance, exceptional practices, and transformative governance. Vernetta provides governance counsel, training, and solution-based strategies to clients, which have included Habitat for Humanity International, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, YMCA, Smart Start agencies, US Black Chamber, and the Concordia University system, among others. Vernetta also leads BoardSource’s diversity and inclusion work to help nonprofit boards address the challenges and obstacles of integrating successful diversity and inclusion strategies and practices.

Vernetta brings a broad depth of knowledge and expertise to BoardSource. She practiced law for a large firm in Orlando, Florida, for several years and also served as associate general counsel for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, rendering technical assistance, consulting, and training to many of its 1400 member organizations. Prior to Maryland Nonprofits, Vernetta served as foundation advocacy counsel for the Alliance for Justice and as director of the Administration of Justice Grants Program for the Florida Bar Foundation.

Vernetta is a contributing author to Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, a Jossey-Bass publication (2011), and Investing in Change: A Funder’s Guide to Supporting Advocacy, an Alliance for Justice publication (2004). She has served on several boards, including Planned Parenthood, Lynx (Orlando’s regional transportation authority), the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, and the Valencia Community College Advisory Board. She received a JD degree from the Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri, and a BA degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. She is admitted to the Florida and Maryland state bars.

BoardSource Staff and Certified Governance Trainers

BoardSource staff will be joined by BoardSource Certified Governance Trainers, a select group of accomplished professionals who have been trained to deliver BoardSource’s signature trainings in BoardSource’s training methodology.

Friday | October 20 | 3:30-4:45 – Closing Plenary with Eric J. Jolly, PhD

Putting Your Values into Action


Eric J. Jolly, PhD

Eric Jolly, president & CEO of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, has dedicated his life to educating, elevating, and giving voice to people in his communities. As president and CEO of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, he matches donors’ charitable resources with community solutions via a network of Minnesota foundations that includes The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Community Foundation, Mardag Foundation, and more than 2,000 charitable organizations and donor funds throughout the state. Eric has declared his intention to create a philanthropic arc to serve donors at all stages of life who are committed to strengthening their communities.

Widely recognized for his work with communities and policy makers, Eric has published articles and books and has lectured around the world about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for culturally diverse populations. He believes science is an essential literacy for civic and economic participation.