2015 Alliance Conference Agenda




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Conference Schedule:

  • Registration starts at 7:30 am on Tuesday, October 6. The conference ends at 1:30pm on Thursday, October 8.
  • Workshop sessions will run throughout the three days. Keynote speakers and plenaries will be held Tuesday and Wednesday morning and during lunch on Wednesday.
  • Registered conference participants may attend any workshop sessions they choose. Please note that session capacity is limited to room size and by request of presenters as noted in the conference agenda.
  • Participants interested in attending any of the Research to Practice sessions are asked to read materials prior to the sessions.
  • Full conference agenda_10.4.15
  • Speaker and presenter bios.



Conference Keynote Speakers:

Patrisse Cullors

Cullors P-Photo (High Res HEADSHOT)
Social Activist & Co-Creator of The Viral Twitter Hashtag And Movement, #BlackLivesMatter

With an impressive resume of social activism in response to social injustices, Patrisse Cullors was naturally inspired to action by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Starting the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, Cullors (together with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi) prompted activism nationwide and introduced the banner under which this generation’s civil rights movement marches. Patrisse also serves as the Truth and Reinvestment Campaign Director for The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, working to build the response capacity of communities who are affected by state and law enforcement violence.

For our Wednesday, Oct 7 lunchtime keynote, we will hold a dynamic plenary session featuring Patrisse in conversation with Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, the Alliance’s partner at the Building Movement Project. They will address and explore how social justice movements like Black Lives Matter have unique opportunities and challenges to building capacity.


Beth Kanter

Speaker, Author, Trainer

Thought leader and author of the award winning Networked Nonprofit books, Beth Kanter will share some provocative ideas from her next book, a work in progress. The book will help nonprofits redefine organizational culture, and improve attitudes and personal habits for sustainable impact.   This keynote will set the stage for a design lab where participants can explore these ideas in greater depth and contribute to the book’s research.
For our Wednesday, Oct 7 morning keynote, Beth will speak about “The Nonprofit Work Ethic Reinvented in An Age of Hyper Connectivity: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout.” As social media has become more widely adopted in the nonprofit sector, hyper connectivity is contributing to the state of overworked and overwhelmed that is so common to many. While nonprofits can engage today with practically anyone to achieve their goals, there are human limits and costs to connectivity. A new mindset and approach is desperately needed for individuals and is also a cultural imperative for the organization as a whole. But disconnecting is not an option and is not the only challenge. Many nonprofits operate with a scarcity mindset: work long hours with few resources and don’t encourage or invest in self-care. This is an outdated work ethic that is not sustainable. But what if things were different? What if nonprofits took a more people-focused approach to how they do their work and created a culture of replenishment and abundance?

Beth will also lead a workshop on Wednesday afternoon, “Design Lab: How can we reinvent the nonprofit work ethic? Strategies for Impact without Burnout” and will speak at NAO’s annual meeting that evening.


Rusty Stahl

Rusty_Stahl1President and CEO of Talent Philanthropy Project

In 2014, Rusty launched Talent Philanthropy Project (aka #FundThePeople), a national campaign  to make the case, equip for action, and build a movement for maximum investment in nonprofit talent. Talent Philanthropy is guided by an Advisory Council of champions from across the sector, and is supported by a growing coalition that now includes the Kellogg, Kresge and Packard foundations. Rusty is also a Visiting Fellow in Residence at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Previously he served as the founding Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), and as a Program Associate at Ford Foundation. He holds a masters in philanthropy from Indiana University.

This provocative plenary will be held on Tuesday morning and will address the need to put people first in nonprofit management, philanthropy and capacity building to ensure that nonprofit people are healthy, happy, and high-performers. Rusty will kick things off by sharing current research and ideas coming out of Talent Philanthropy Project, a new national campaign to maximize investments in the nonprofit workforce. His keynote will be followed by a panel of national nonprofit leaders, including Lisa Brown Morton, SPHR, President & CEO Nonprofit HR and Lindsay Jensen, Board Chair, Young Nonprofit Professional Network.


2015 Conference Areas of Focus:

  • Cross-sector alliances and partnerships: frameworks and practices that support leaders in working across organizations and in developing strategic alliances with other nonprofits, the public and private sectors; addressing complex community needs and strengthening progressive social movements.
  • Emerging and transitioning leadership: frameworks and practices that foster and develop the nonprofit sector’s current and future diverse leaders in dynamic and changing environments
  • Culturally-competent capacity-building: frameworks and practices that appreciate a community’s assets in its own cultural and historical context, creates equal access to resources for building a community-centered process, and is based on partnering with the community for social change

Conference Tracks for Capacity Builders:

  • Emerging and Promising Practices: Serving as a spotlight for new, emerging, and front line practices that have increased impact and effectiveness in the nonprofit sector, these sessions will feature local, national and even international organizations who are actively and successfully creating and using new, innovative and promising practices to advance their work and build capacity
  • Practice Development and Support: Sessions will focus specifically on increasing the capacity of capacity building providers, whether they are independent practitioners or from for profit or nonprofit organizations. Sessions will provide practice development and management support, networking opportunities, peer to peer learning opportunities, and methods to improve practices. The sessions will appeal to a broad spectrum of capacity builders including consultants, coaches, pracademics, researchers, and capacity building funders.
  • Research to Practice: Sessions will examine the latest research and data on key practices and demonstrate how this research impacts practice in the field. Sessions will include experiential exercises and discussions as opportunities to delve deeply into the sector’s new data and discuss the resulting implications. These tracks will be led by academics and researchers who have extensive knowledge of the field and can present an overview of current research in the specific topic area.


Conference Track for Nonprofit Leaders:

This track is designed for nonprofit leaders, board members and volunteers and will take place on Wednesday, October 7. Sessions will provide skills training, management and leadership advice, peer to peer learning opportunities, and strategies to increase the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations and impact they have on our communities.


Tuesday, Oct. 6, 8:30-4:30


From Anecdotes and Convention to Research-based Practice: Moving the Governance Field Forward
Join Speaker Vernetta Walker of BoardSource for this Cutting Edge Innovation Lab!

Why are so many governance practices based on anecdotal information or convention rather than evidence? Over this past year, the Governance Affinity Group has been taking steps to answer this question, working together on several exciting research to practice projects, with the goal of advancing the field of governance through researched-based practice. Using the creativity of the participants and based on evidence based-practice, we plan to develop a series of unique “research-based practice tools focused on specific governance practice areas and consulting approaches: 1) governance inclusion and diversity; 2) board leadership; 3) board’s role in fundraising; and, 4) board engagement. Vernetta Walker will join us to share the latest research on board diversity and inclusion: New members are most welcome! Please join us for this innovative and provocative session; participants are asked to attend the full innovation lab. FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE