Monday, October 20, 2014

African American Board Leadership Institute Building Pipeline of Future Leaders

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2013 AABLI Board Leadership program participants: Kaci Patterson, Derrick Waters and Ikiah McGowan 

Premier organization prepares African Americans for board service

Numerous studies have underscored the need for increased diversity among the nation’s nonprofit and governing boards. A diverse board can enhance an organization’s effectiveness and better reflect the communities they serve. In California, the African American Board Leadership Institute (AABLI) is directly impacting this issue by recruiting, preparing and placing African Americans on a broad range of governing boards. Since February 2013, AABLI has successfully assisted in placing 47 African American professionals on nonprofit boards and local/state commissions. Their work is accomplished by providing a two-day board leadership program for professionals who require more in-depth preparation for board placement and for those who wish to sharpen their board skills, along with on-going professional development workshops in partnership with local organizations.

Katarina V. Eleby, manager of programs and operations for AABLI, shared with BlackGivesBack more about the importance of their work and how you can apply for the program.

How do you support AABLI in your role as manager of programs and operations?

As manager of programs and operations at AABLI, my primary focus is to connect nonprofit organizations with leaders that have a passion to serve the community. Diversity on governing boards leads to a more thoughtful allocation of resources and services to the populations served by the organizations. Through my work at AABLI, I am able to build capacity in nonprofit organizations by assisting with the placement of thought leaders in positions of influence and by developing accessible programs that provide insight into various areas of board leadership in the nonprofit sector.

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Katarina Eleby served as a speaker at the 2014 Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit in Washington, DC. In 2013, Eleby was appointed for a four-year term by
Governor Edmond Brown, Jr. to serve as the Public Member on the Physical Therapy Board of California through the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Why is it important that nonprofit, public and private organizations have a diverse board?

It is so critical to ensure African Americans have a seat at the table when important decisions are being made about underserved and minority populations. They are able to apply their personal experiences and a fresh perspective to the challenges many nonprofits face today. It is not uncommon to find nonprofit boards that are comprised of individuals who do not reflect the populations served by their mission. Now, more than ever, funders are examining the demographics of boards to ensure they are supporting organizations that have skills, experience and expertise necessary for long-term sustainability.

What are some of the topics presented in the workshop sessions?

AABLI partners with organizations across the state to provide outstanding professional development opportunities to individuals and nonprofit organizations in the community. The workshops are designed for lifelong learners who wish to share ideas and maintain ongoing membership in the organization. Previous topics have included: Public Policy Advocacy for Your Organization, Nonprofit Budgets & Business Plans, California State Boards & Commissions, Pathways to Corporate Boards, etc.

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AABLI Faculty: (bottom left) Brickson Diamond, COO, Executive Leadership Council; head faculty, Latonya Slack, Slack Global Consulting; Virgil Roberts, managing partner,
Bobbitt & Roberts; (top left) Zachary Green, Ph.D., associate director, University of San Diego, School of Leadership and Education Sciences; Paul C. Hudson, Paul C. Hudson Consulting

Share a success story.

Out of 47 placements, one alumna in particular stands out. She was elected to serve on the board of a nonprofit organization that assists women with addiction by providing wrap around services to ensure long-term sobriety. Although she has not served for very long, her presence on the board has already made a significant impact. Her experience and network from the entertainment industry has brought invaluable resources to the organization. Her enthusiasm to serve emanates from her personality and will have an immeasurable effect on the women’s lives who are touched by the work of the organization.

How can one apply and when does the next class begin?

Our next Board Leadership Program is scheduled for Spring 2015. To apply visit:

Visit the AABLI website to learn more about its programs, services and upcoming events.

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