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A Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Boosting Board Engagement (Lea Williams)  

January 2022

The best nonprofit leaders create and maintain strategic partnerships between themselves, their staff, and their board. If you are looking to take your board to the next level, check out episode #140 of the Path Podcast where Dr. Lea Williams and I discuss five tactics for creating and sustaining a dynamic board of directors. Building off our work together with multiple boards, our conversations with our Mastermind participants, and Lea's background as a meetings scientist, we reflect on characteristics of successful boards and how nonprofit leaders can cultivate a higher level of engagement with these important stakeholders. We discuss the importance of creating confident ambassadors, clarifying board member responsibilities through onboarding, building comfort around the organization's financial model, building a pipeline of board leaders through year-round recruiting, and hitting "reset" on your board meetings. Listen for these strategies and other tactical recommendations to help with your nonprofit board development efforts. 


"Two key challenges face nonprofit leaders: being micromanaged by their board OR their board is totally disengaged."


ABOUT LEA

Lea is an Organizational Scientist who joined the PMA team in June of 2020. Prior to joining the firm, she dedicated her time to two main areas: earning her Ph.D. in Organizational Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and serving 15+ nonprofits through pro-bono consulting engagements through the Volunteer Program Assessment. In addition to her nonprofit work, while obtaining her Doctorate, Lea also worked in several Talent Management/Organizational Development roles at large organizations in Charlotte, such as Ingersoll Rand, Duke Energy, TIAA, and Jacobsen. Given her strong research background, she is skilled at gathering input and synthesizing it to help nonprofit leaders develop innovative solutions. Her specialties include meeting effectiveness (the subject of her dissertation), leadership, board, and staff training and development, data analysis, strategic planning, survey design, stakeholder research, and volunteer retention/engagement. She also received her Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Davidson College. 


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