Let's start a conversation: How can boards be most effective? What lessons — good and bad — have you learned from your experiences?

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Boards Must Democratize Decision Making

We have been in lockdown nearly a year. I reached out to a board chair who serves on several boards and asked him to reflect on the impact of this turbulent year. The lessons he learned were about the need for communication, transparency, and democratizing decision making. We Need to Shine a Light on Board Work Told by a Board Chair Somewhere in the US I serve on several boards. All are focused on children and youth. They are unique organizations and the last year has played out differently for each. COVID Forced Re-prioritization of New CEO Hire For one… Read more

COVID Forces Hard Decisions

I spoke with the CEO and several board members of an organization that focuses on immigrants and refugees. We talked about the impact of COVID, protests, and the election on their organization and the people they serve – and how the board was involved in the tough decisions they have had to make. Work with Your Board to Develop Contingency Plans CEO: We went into the pandemic thinking we would be tapping our board to do more. There were lots of questions of the impact it would have on the economy, on foundations, on philanthropy. Our board has a governance… Read more

A Year of Pandemic, Protest, and Propaganda — What Now?

We made it to 2021 — happy to get beyond 2020 – the year of pandemic, protests, and propaganda. There is a light at the end of the tunnel as COVID vaccines are approved and distributed. We will have a new president who believes in science and real facts. Our journeys toward racial equity are accelerating. What now? Seize the opportunity. Now is the time to make changes – some long overdue, some bold. Center Equity The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others plus the subsequent protests have – hopefully – catalyzed our country to… Read more

Changing Course for More Impact

How a Supportive Relationship Between Board Chair and ED Led to Successful Change By a Dedicated Board Member, Somewhere in USA I was board chair when the organization made a big shift in its work to drive more community impact. To me, the most interesting thing that came out of that experience is the reflection that leadership and management are very different skills. When an organization decides to go through significant change, it is often a charismatic, high-energy leader who initiates it, gets people inspired, and drives it forward. But often a really inspirational leader still may not have the… Read more

The Journey to a More Diverse Board

I shared this story about creating a more diverse board about 18 months ago. Before COVID, which disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Before the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which sparked protests and drew the world’s attention to longstanding systemic health and social inequities in our society. Most nonprofit organizations have understood these inequities. Many have centered racial justice in their missions for a long time. But now all understand the urgency to remove barriers. They also understand that making change starts at the top. Recently, several people have asked me about how to… Read more