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Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

Best Boards Conference

The Best Boards conference is an all-day program designed to help nonprofit board members and staff work together more effectively. The program is designed to be valuable to both new and seasoned board members and nonprofit executives. It is most beneficial to an organization when teams attend because they more readily implement what they learned.

Save the Date: March 9, 2017

Register for Best Boards







Keynote Speaker:

Tony Chase Chairman & CEO, ChaseSource, LP
Tony Chase is Chairman & CEO of ChaseSource, LP. He grew up attending Houston public schools. Tony received a Stouffer scholarship for the purpose of integrating elite private schools and attended Episcopal High School in Virginia. He is an honors graduate of Harvard College, received a law degree from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Currently, Tony owns ChaseSource LP, a staffing and real estate development and construction firm. ChaseSource LP is presently ranked by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the nation’s largest minority owned companies. Tony also is an owner of the Marriott Hotel at George Bush InterContinental Airport in Houston. Mr. Chase currently serves on the Boards of Anadarko (NYSE), Paragon Offshore (NYSE), and The Plaza Group. Non-profit board memberships include Houston Endowment, Greater Houston Partnership, University of Texas School of Architecture Dean’s Advisory Council, Texas Medical Center, MD Anderson Board of Visitors, St. John’s School Board of Trustees, Houston Zoo Development, Foreign Affairs Museum Council and KIPP Schools. He has also served as Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.


Afternoon Plenary Session: Successfully Navigating Messaging Milestones

Every nonprofit evolves through lifecycles of beginnings, growth and renewal that require regular reformulation of messaging. The relevance of an organization’s mission and impact of its services pass through milestones of messaging that contribute to both its success and the strength of its bottom line. This presentation will explore clearly defined milestones experienced by organizations of all sizes and the messaging strategies necessary for successfully navigating ever evolving lifecycles.

Kelli B. Newman, APR President, Newman & Newman

Kelli B. Newman brings 30 years of communication experience to her position as President of Newman & Newman, where her responsibilities center on formulating messaging strategies, developing communication plans and producing communiation tools for both nonprofit and for-profit clients.  Prior to joining Newman & Newman in 1996, she spent 11 years as in-house public relations counsel for Baylor College of Medicine (including the DeBakey Heart Center) and Texas Children’s Hospital.  Her work has received numerous awards, including the Grand Excalibur, PRSA Houston’s highest recognition of professional standards.  Accredited in 1989 by the Public Relations Society of America, Ms. Newman has published several articles regarding public relations strategies, electronic media, and the experience advantage of online video.  Her article, “Conveying the Essence of Your Organization” appeared in the fall 2014 issue of the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Advancing Philanthropy magazine.



Breakout Session: Evaluation as a planning tool and an assessment strategy: Basic Concepts for Measuring Results

For every nonprofit, evaluation is (or should be) an integral part of strategic planning and program implementation. Everyone has a role to play in this sometimes complex process of assessing success. So what is the story of your nonprofit? How do you move beyond anecdotal feedback to real numbers? What are the right data to be collecting? What is the most valid interpretation of that data? And how is this information (or “intelligence”) aligned with development and marketing efforts? Finally, how do you effectively communicate about evaluation with the board and the staff? In addressing these questions and others you bring to the discussion, you may come to realize you already have a sound foundation for integrating the evaluation mindset into the work of your nonprofit.

Dr. Catherine Oleksiw Measured Transitions LLC

Dr. Catherine Oleksiw currently has a management consulting practice offering technical services and coaching primarily to nonprofits and government entities.  With over 30 years in leadership roles in state government, higher education and private industry, Catherine Oleksiw has led research and evaluation teams for government- and foundation-funded education and health projects for the US Department of Education, the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and the Centers for Disease Control Division of Adolescent School Health.  Her primary expertise is in education research and evaluation with a secondary focus on providing technical assistance and coaching to build the capacity of leadership and staff in strategic planning, performance measurement, monitoring and evaluation, and Return on Investment (ROI) methodology.  Dr. Oleksiw earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Columbia University in New York and is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation.   She is a member of the American Education Research Association (AERA), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and the American Psychological Association (APA).  Throughout 2016, Dr. Oleksiw led the Third Eye metrics team for the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University.  She is presently engaged with several nonprofits in the Dallas Fort Worth area and also provides leadership coaching to nonprofit executives and boards.  


Breakout Session: Interim Executive Leadership  

Leadership transition can be a challenge, but it can also be an incredible opportunity. In this session, we will explore the pros and cons of hiring an interim executive leader, factors to consider in deciding whether to hire an interim versus a permanent leader, how to prepare for an interim leader, and some tips on making the most of an interim leader's time with your organization.

Claudia Gee Vassar Claudia Gee Vassar Consulting

Claudia Gee Vassar is a nonprofit professional specializing in intentionally interim executive leadership. She has served as an interim ED in a variety of nonprofit sectors and with organizations at various stages of growth. Claudia loves seeing all the amazing work being done in Houston and serving alongside so many passionate and talented people working to create lasting, positive impact for our community.


Breakout Session: Upcoming Changes to the Presentation of Not-For-Profit Financial Statements

This session will provide participants an understanding of the recently issued FASB Accounting Standards Update, Presentation of Financial Statement of Not-For-Profit Entities. The session will review the key provisions of the new standard, highlight significant changes from current practice and identify the effective date and transition options.

Laurie Gutierrez Audit Partner, Blazek & Vetterling

Laurie Gutierrez, audit partner, joined Blazek & Vetterling in 2003 and became a partner of the firm in 2008. She began her accounting career with Ernst & Young where she spent eight years serving healthcare and nonprofit clients. In that capacity she participated in the audits of hospitals, long-term care organizations, independent practice associations, and other health care related organizations. She subsequently spent six years in health care management. Her health care management experience includes approximately 2 years as Chief Financial Officer of PowerBrief, Inc. and its predecessor Integrated Orthopaedics and 4 years as controller of Memorial Sisters of Charity Health Plans. In addition to the overall direction and operations of the finance departments, she was responsible for financial reporting, regulatory reporting, and compliance monitoring. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in 1988. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Texas Society of CPA’s, and the Houston Chapter of CPA’s. Laurie is President of The Parish School Board of Directors and serves on the finance committee. Laurie serves on the Board of Directors and Finance Committee and is a past-president The Women’s Home.

Breakout Session: Optimizing and Building a Sustainable Board of Directors

Moving from the concept phase to the reality of developing a strong yet strategic board takes purposeful action and true grit. This session, Optimizing and Building a Sustainable Board, will walk attendees through the steps of building and assessing the board of directors. Using real scenarios and recent leadership data, we will uncover techniques used when developing a board of directors, re-inventing a current board, and delivering board orientations that work.

April Day President, Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance

April Day serves as the president of the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA). The WBEA is a leading third-party certifying organization that serves 750 women-owned business enterprises representing nine billion dollars in revenue and more than 40,000 jobs in 94 Texas counties. Her primary role is to increase opportunities for women-owned businesses and corporate members through education programs and professional networking. Under her leadership, the WBEA has enjoyed increased membership, efficiency and revenues; received more than half a million media impressions; and will soon participate in its first global trade mission to China. Additionally, she developed a Giving Tree scholarship and mentoring program for start-ups; a non-profit management and business ownership college internship program; and partnered with the City of Houston to launch the Kauffman New Venture and Growth Venture business development initiatives. Ms. Day serves on several boards including the WBEA’s Business Enterprise National Council’s Leadership Council, the Government Procurement Connection, Port of Houston Authority, Will’s Kids, the Parris Foundation and the University of Houston Non-profit Leadership Alliance.  She is a business trainer for the Houston Community College’s Center for Entrepreneurship, guest lecturer for the University of Houston’s School of Social Work and a mentor for the Me to We Foundation. A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Ms. Day holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Houston and an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University.



Parking: Parking is in West Lot 4 near the Anderson-Clarke Center. View map.  Registered participants will receive a parking pass to print and bring with them through email.