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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.

March 10, 2016

Register for Best Boards

View the agenda. (Note: speakers and sessions are subject to change; agenda will be updated.)


Keynote Speaker:

Jamey Rootes, president of the Houston Texans

Jamey Rootes serves as president of the Houston Texans and is responsible for all business functions of the club. Since joining the Texans, Rootes has overseen the team’s efforts to secure stadium naming rights and sponsorship, coordinated radio and TV broadcasting relationships, engineered the club’s successful ticket and suite sales campaigns, led the creation and launch of the team’s identity and developed the team’s highly-acclaimed customer service strategy.



Plenary Sessions:

Limited Leadership: Evaluation of the Houston Nonprofit Governance Environment

Angela SeaworthSpeaker: Angela Seaworth, Ph.D., ACFRE, Director, Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, is responsible for strategic planning and management for the Center. Dr. Seaworth recently defended her dissertation on nonprofit governance and diversity at Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  During her doctoral program, she authored a chapter of "Giving USA 2009," was a graduate fellow at the Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence, a doctoral intern for the Lumina Foundation, and held a doctoral assistantship at The Fund Raising School. Additionally, she was an adjunct professor at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and completed the Preparing Future Faculty program. Her professional experience spans corporate grant-making, community relations and public affairs, and more than 15 years of professional fundraising and nonprofit consulting. She worked in the Analytical Solutions practice for Marts & Lundy Inc. where she was responsible for capacity analyses, benchmarking studies and feasibility study design. In addition to serving on various nonprofit boards for 20+ years, including a national foundation board, Dr. Seaworth has served as a subject matter expert for CFRE International, preparing questions for the certification exam, and currently serves on the ACFRE credentialing board for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International.  She is involved in the International Leadership Association, ARNOVA and AFP, formerly served as vice president of professional advancement for the Greater Houston Chapter. Ms. Seaworth holds a BA from Denison University, an MBA from the University of Chicago and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Indiana University's SPEA.


Social Movements for Good: How Board Members Can Support and Encourage Staff

Derrick FeldmanSpeaker: Derrick Feldman, President, Achieve, is a sought-after speaker, researcher and advisor in cause engagement. He founded Achieve to help organizations address their most pressing issues through research and data-driven, strategically designed fundraising and awareness campaigns.Derrick is the lead researcher and creator of The Millennial Impact Project, a multi-year study of how the next generation supports causes. This ongoing study has been cited in hundreds of publications, including Forbes, TIME, Fast Company, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Through this research, as well as in his role at Achieve, Derrick has worked with companies and organizations such as AT&T, Facebook, BMW, PBS and the Case Foundation to understand how the next generation of donors, activists and employees are redefining cause work. He is the founder of MCON, the nation’s premier conference on Millennials and social good, which draws speakers from for- and non-profit organizations across the world. MCON explores the question of whether and how organizations are taking advantage of today’s heightened interest in causes to better serve their constituents. Derrick is a co-author of the book, "Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement" (2012) and is authoring the upcoming  "Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change," which will be available in January 2016He is a regular contributor to Philanthropy News Digest and the Huffington Post IMPACT Channel. Derrick is on the Leadership Faculty of the Points of Light Corporate Institute and a guest lecturer for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Derrick received an undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a graduate degree from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. He went on to lead national fundraising efforts for The LEAGUE and Learning to Give before founding Achieve in 2008.


Session Topics:

Risk Management

Bad things happen to good nonprofits every day. Risk management  is a tool that can help nonprofit organizations  review  susceptibility to unexpected losses and then develop strategies either to prevent losses from happening, or to reduce damage and expense when they do. Nonprofit organizations without risk management plans leave themselves vulnerable to events that could impose staggering costs upon or entirely shut down their operations. Speaker Jeff Cross will guide you the  fundamental steps that every organization should take in order to create a risk management plan. You will learn how to:

  • Assess potential risks
  • Mitigate those risks  
  • Determine appropriate insurance protection in the event a loss occurs

Speaker: Jeff Cross is managing director at John L. Wortham & Son L.P. With more than 40 years of experience, his areas of expertise include account management with an emphasis on nonprofit organizations, risk management and contract review. Previously, Mr. Cross served as partner and account executive at Langham, Langston & Dyer. Mr. Cross holds a B.A. from Washington & Lee University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.





Philanthropic Dynamism: Board Leadership in Challenging Times

Houston Grand Opera, Rice University, Methodist Hospital, Neighborhood Center, Inc., Regis School and Alley Theatre — a few institutions who led successful campaigns in a down, unsteady economy. The common denominator? Dynamic board leadership and the vital role they play in philanthropy, irrespective of organizational size. In this interactive session, hear from M. Anne Murphy, CFRE, and Deborah Ballard of Dini Spheris about success stories, recent philanthropic survey findings, strategies, and how to focus on stakeholder needs.

Speakers: Anne Murphy, CFRE, is principal and partner of Dini Spheris. She has more than 25 years of experience as a development professional, capital campaign manager and leadership training consultant. Ms. Murphy has served as executive director of University Advancement for the University of Houston Downtown and director of Development for the University of Houston Foundation and the Gulf Coast March of Dimes. Her national fundraising experience includes positions with Mary Baldwin College, the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation Campaign. She has served on the boards of Stephens College, The Chinquapin School, Downtown Historic District, the Chicano Family Center, the NSFRE Foundation Board and the Greater Houston Chapter of the NSFRE, now the Association for Fundraising Professionals, where she also served as president. She holds a master's degree in fundraising management from the New School University.



Deborah Ballard is a consultant at Dini Spheris. Her years of major gift fundraising in healthcare settings, like the Ronald McDonald House and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, reinforced her belief that the work of fundraisers and the generosity of philanthropists matter in so many unexpected ways. Having played integral roles in a range of nonprofit start-ups, as well as organizations with $1 billion campaigns, she knows the power of philanthropy and feels strongly that “the value of what we do in life is seen in the personal encounter with those we serve.” She expects results and knows that results flow from sound planning, solid research, right relationships and the special chemistry between counselor and client.




The Talent Imperative

Why do organizations succeed or fail?  Ultimately, it comes down to talent.  Almost without exception, today’s fastest growing and most impactful nonprofits realize that the only sustainable competitive advantage they have is their people. They maximize this advantage by using proven talent management strategies. In this session, a panel of professionals, with extensive experience working with non-profits, will discuss strategies and initiatives that address the most important aspects of the talent equation.   

Topics covered will include:

•    Significant talent issues facing non-profits today
•    The board’s role in the talent equation
•    Succession planning and executive search
•    Assessment of potential candidates and ongoing assessment of executive staff
•    Staff training and leadership development
Panelists: Ronnie Hagerty, United Way of Greater Houston; Jennifer Lopez, YMCA of Greater Houston; Charlie Rhoads, Lowry Rhoads & Associates; Vicki Vandaveer, The Vandaveer Group

Facilitator: Ann Turnbach is president of Ann Turnbach & Associates, a firm specializing in providing organizations with human resource and executive consulting services. She spent 23 years at the Houston Chronicle where she served as personnel director and vice president of human resources. As a result of her success with the Chronicle's programs, all Hearst Newspaper diversity and professional development programs were centralized and added to her area of responsibility. Ms. Turnbach was awarded the John Blodger Diversity Award by the Human Resource Media Association in 2002 and was named Best HR Executive by HR.com in 2005. She holds a bachelor's degree in education from Bloomsburg State College and a certification in human resource management from New York University. She was a participant of the Hearst Management Institute, an executive development program administered by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business.



Ronnie Hagerty, Ph.D., CFRE, assistant vice president of community relations and talent management for the United Way of Greater Houston, oversees community outreach and leadership development initiatives including the Nonprofit Connection and Project Blueprint. In addition, she has assumed responsibility for United Way’s talent management initiative. Prior to her transition to the nonprofit sector, Hagerty was a consultant with New York and Houston advertising and marketing firms. Hagerty serves on the boards of the Alliance of Community Assistance Ministries and ESCAPE Family Resource Center. She is currently chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Houston Chapter, and has been appointed by the Governor of Texas to serve as board chair for the OneStar National Service Commission. Hagerty holds a B.A. in journalism from St. Mary’s College/Notre Dame; an M.B.A from the University of Houston Graduate School of Business; a doctoral degree from Antioch University; and is credentialed as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). She is a lecturer at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A & M University, and an adjunct professor at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University.  


Jennifer Lopez, PHR, is the vice president of human resources for the YMCA of Greater Houston. She has been with the YMCA since January 2001. Prior to her work with the YMCA, Ms. Lopez held various human resources positions for NASA for nine years. Ms. Lopez holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology and has obtained her Professional Human Resources certification. She currently resides in League City with her husband, Angel and two children, Savannah and Jack.


Charles Rhoads has more than 30 years of corporate, operational and consulting experience in all facets of human resources. He started his executive search and human resource consulting practice in 1993 and has counseled numerous companies in a variety of operational and management issues. His practice during the last twelve years has focused on executive search engagements in the energy, energy services and process industries and for nonprofit organizations. Most recently, he was a partner in Boyden, the fifth largest international search firm. Prior to his consulting practice, Mr. Rhoads held senior management positions in the energy, manufacturing and financial services sectors. He was promoted to vice president, human resources for Gulf Oil Chemicals Company at the age of 33. He has also served as the vice president of human resources for Pennzoil Company; vice president human resources and administration for United Gas Pipe Line Company; and senior vice president human resources for First Interstate Bank of Texas.



Vicki Vandaveer, Ph.D., The Vandaveer Group, Advisor, executive coach and confidante, I work with exceptionally talented individuals who are in or preparing for significant leadership roles, who wish to achieve their potential as leaders, and/or are faced with leading significant organizational change. From the “C-Suite”, senior academic leadership, and/or managing partner executives – to mid-level high potential individuals - I help leaders and their teams (A) develop and fully evolve their “Personal Best” leadership formulae (a function of their unique makeup and nature of the organizational context); (B) develop / become high performing leadership teams; (C) effectively steward (or restore) reputation and credibility; and (D) improve business performance and results through effective Leadership. My thirty years of experience include 12 years inside two Fortune 50 global corporations and the past 20 years in national and international consulting in a variety of industries and in different cultures in 22 countries on five continents. Clients include large international, and medium-size and small companies in oil and gas, energy services, engineering and construction; consumer products; academic medical centers; healthcare systems, and professional services firms.



Conference Details

Hudspeth AuditoriumLocation: Anderson-Clarke Center, Hudspeth Auditorium (map)
Section Date: Thursday, March 10, 2016, 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. (breakfast, lunch and book provided)
Fee: $185
For AFP members: $135
For groups of three or more from the same organization when registering together by calling 713-348-4803: $135 per participant
CEUs: 0.6
Co-Sponsors: Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, Association of Fundraising Professionals — Greater Houston Chapter, United Way of Greater Houston






New Location: 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.