Building Better Boards: A three-part series for Board Leaders and Executive Directors

Join this three-part series for board leaders and executive directors to discuss the board development challenges nonprofits face and how to overcome them by fostering a healthy board culture built on trust, candor, and mutual respect. Register for single sessions (descriptions below) or the entire series. For maximum benefit, attend as a team; discounts available on multiple registrations from the same organization.

Register for Full Series

Register for Session 1 ONLY

Register for Session 2 ONLY

Register for Session 3 ONLY


Session 1: Increasing Board Engagement: Governance as Leadership

Is your board struggling to effectively engage on matters of the greatest importance? Is it trapped by habitual tasks and routine, marginal work? Does it fail to ask the hard questions or any questions at all? Does it suffer from groupthink or, even worse, tend to listen to the same handful of board members over and over?

Many nonprofit boards, especially as we emerge from the pandemic, are rethinking how they govern in order to more effectively advance our missions in constructive partnership with the chief executive. Based on the book, Governance as Leadership, we will discuss how to effectively reframe the work of the board using the fiduciary, strategic, and generative modes. We will also explore how boards can cultivate a culture where assumptions are challenged and tough questions are asked to ensure due diligence and ethical decision-making. In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Better engage your board by offering more meaningful and consequential work
  • Increase the value of board contributions to fiduciary and strategic work
  • Invite your board to engage in generative thinking, the most underutilized of the three modes
  • Build a culture of inquiry in your boardroom


Session 2: Fortifying the Board-Executive Director Partnership

In today’s complex world, it is paramount for board leaders and the executive director to work in alignment and respect the division of labor between governing and managing. Yet these relationships are often challenged by differing understanding of roles, leadership turnover, personalities, and a lack of good communication. Too often we are content to accept an “ok” relationship rather than invest the time to build a stronger partnership that will advance the mission and strengthen the organization. It’s time to make this a priority. In this session, you will learn:

  • Key elements and proven outcomes of a constructive partnership
  • How to move from a good relationship to a great relationship
  • The importance of this relationship to overall board-staff relations
  • How to disagree and still serve as a strong leadership team
  • The integral connection between the board chair-executive director partnership and board culture


Session 3: Who’s Next: Proactively Navigating Successful Leadership Transitions

Strong leadership is integral to our ability as nonprofits to be adaptive and responsive in advancing our missions. Leadership transitions are inevitable, and yet we rarely prepare for them and seem surprised when they ‘suddenly’ appear. By avoiding the topic, one challenge is simply traded for a different one and a prime opportunity to strengthen the organization is missed. It’s time we reframed the conversation and shift the mindset about succession planning to one of deeper sustainability planning.

This session explores emerging practices in both executive and board leadership transitions. How are these processes different in the nonprofit sector vis a vis the corporate sector? What is the role of the executive director in succession planning? How do we ensure that our practices and procedures are culturally sensitive? Are we intentionally cultivating diverse candidates for leadership opportunities? In this session, we will:

  • Explore important considerations of nonprofit leadership transitions and change management
  • Deepen our understanding of the promising practices and emerging trends regarding executive succession planning
  • Identify concrete steps to better cultivate board members for leadership roles
  • Discuss lessons learned about what to do and what not do to increase the chances of a healthy, smooth, and positive transition


Register for the full series

Register for Session 1 ONLY

Register for Session 2 ONLY

Register for Session 3 ONLY

Event Date(s): 
Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 1:00pm to 2:30pm
For the series: $129 Members / $179 Nonmembers Individual Sessions: $49 Members / $69 Nonmembers
Susan Meier, Principal at Susan Meier and Associates, LLC and Senior Governance Consultant with BoardSource
Virtual Event
Anywhere, NC 00000
United States
Event Contact: