In this story, I talk to a long-time corporate executive who joined several boards after retiring. He reflects on how last year’s protests have advanced his journey around understanding bias and the need of board members to champion social justice and systems change — because the system treats people differently. He also discusses how he thinks COVID will change nonprofit boards in the future. Every Board Needs to Stand up for Social Justice Told by a board member somewhere in the US. I was in the corporate world for a long time and served on many corporate boards. When I… Read more
Let's start a conversation: How can boards be most effective? What lessons — good and bad — have you learned from your experiences?
For this post, I spoke to a CEO who started just before we all went into COVID lockdown. Being new, her board asked for regular reports on her activities which became even more important once COVID hit. She realized that board members cannot truly appreciate the importance of equity and antiracism if they don’t understand the day-to-day work of the organization. She also observed that holding meetings online became an equalizer for a diverse board. CEO Reports Leads Board to Better Understanding of Equity As told by a CEO somewhere in the US I was Chief Program Officer before I… Read more
We all know that the standard, one-size-fits-all model of governance does not work for every organization. In fact, it probably does not work for most organizations. In my reading, I came upon the Reimagining Governance Initiative of the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) in Toronto. I reached out to the co-leads, Linda Mollenhauer from Ignite NPS and Erin Kang from ONN to hear more. Here is what I learned: How did Reimagining Governance get started? Linda: About three and a half years ago, a few governance consultants were talking about our frustrations with the way governance was working and it occurred… Read more
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
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