Ben Mangan presents Best Board Practices at the 2016 BBF Fellow training

Berkeley Board Fellows Attend Board Leadership Training

By Kate Chadwick

The Center for Social Sector Leadership’s (CSSL) team is growing, we are excited to welcome Kate Chadwick. A new program manager to our staff, Kate will contribute her skills to PhilanthropyU, The Berkeley Board Fellows program, and the Social Impact Collective. Prior to joining CSSL in December 2016, Kate spent over ten years working both domestically and internationally in the non-profit and humanitarian aid sectors, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the American Red Cross, and Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Kate recently served as a peer coach at the Berkeley Board Fellows (BBF) training workshop where she provided guidance and support to new BBF Fellows. Here are Kate’s highlights from the BBF training:

The Berkeley Board Fellows program recently convened 2016–17 BBF Fellows for training on nonprofit organization (NPO) board service. In teams of two, BBF Fellows support a local Bay Area NPO in addressing a critical board need, while also learning the particulars of NPO board service by spending the academic year participating in regular board meetings. In addition, participating NPOs assign a board member to mentor the Fellows and provide project guidance and insights into the functions of the organization. CSSL further supports the Fellows with a training session on NPO board service at the Haas School of Business.

CSSL Executive Director Ben Mangan kicked off the November 2016 BBF Fellow Training with a presentation on NPO board service best practices. Mangan’s six best practices include:

  • Get good at the basics
  • Get good at constructive conflict
  • Get good at failing forward
  • Get out of the way when needed
  • Get comfortable with “Why?”
  • Get focused during crises

In particular, Mangan encouraged Fellows to start their consulting projects by first evaluating the problem introduced by their NPO clients, and then working towards providing solutions.

Paul Connolly presents on board service at the 2016 BBF Fellow Training

Following Mangan, Paul Connolly, Director of Philanthropic Advisory Services at Bessemer Trust, presented on “What to Think About When Thinking About Joining a Board”. Connolly spoke to Fellows about the particulars of NPO board service, such as NPO board trajectories and life cycles, board member roles and responsibilities, and the legal duties of a board. Connolly also produced a list of NPO board matching and training resources, and highlighted the wealth of information available to Fellows at BoardSource.org.

Rounding out the presentations portion of the BBF Fellow Training, Aviva Altmann, Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, advised Fellows on how to scope client projects. Altmann provided Fellows with insights into the types of questions to ask and factors to consider when scoping consulting projects with respective NPO board partners. Altmann emphasized the importance of focusing on the decision or question facing the NPO board, collecting data and conducting rigorous analysis, and engaging with key stakeholders and board members.

BBF fellows participate in the 2016 BBF Fellow Training

To conclude the training, Fellows broke into groups for a peer learning session led by BBF alumni. The lively table discussions allowed current Fellows to describe their initial interactions with their NPO board clients and mentors, their understanding of their respective board projects, and any observations they’ve made thus far on the functioning of their particular NPO boards. Meanwhile, BBF alumni shared lessons learned from their fellowship experiences and contributed thoughts on project scope development.

2016–17 BBF projects are now underway, and Fellows will complete their board service and present project findings later this spring. Additionally, at the end of January, CSSL will host partner NPO board members and staff for a professional development training session on NPO financial management. Stay tuned for a summary of the 2017 BBF Professional Development Workshop.

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