Better Board Governance

Presented By:

Kim Starkey Jonker, executive director, Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership

William F. Meehan III, writer and speaker on nonprofit strategy, director emeritus, McKinsey & Company

Kathy Spahn, president and CEO, Helen Keller International

Moderated By:

Michael Slind, senior editor, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Time: 11:00am–12:00pm PDT, 2:00pm–3:00pm EDT

Most nonprofit boards are ineffective. Although some might sit on a board that they believe performs at a high level, most in the nonprofit sector are unlikely to deny the larger point: Like government inefficiency, technological change, and failed diets, the ineffectiveness of nonprofits boards tends to be something that we accept as inevitable. But exceptional nonprofit boards do exist. And any board can improve its performance if its members are willing to confront the people, processes, and behavior challenges that drag competent people into an abyss of ineffectiveness. There is much at stake. Weak board governance can significantly diminish the impact that a nonprofit has on its beneficiaries and ultimately cause it to founder and even die.

Learn how to make significant improvements in your organization’s board governance by joining these social sector leaders for a discussion of the nine attributes of effective nonprofit board governance. In this webinar, Kim Starkey Jonker and William F. Meehan III will expand on their recent article “A Better Board Will Make You Better,” from their online series “Fundamentals of Nonprofit Management.” They will discuss the difficulties of achieving consistently effective governance and provide actionable suggestions for overcoming these challenges. Kathy Spahn, president and CEO of Helen Keller International (HKI) and recipient of the 2014 Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, will join Jonker and Meehan to discuss HKI’s governance experiences and provide real-world examples about what works.

This webinar is for social sector board members, executive directors, funders who assess and influence grantee board governance, and managers/staff that work with board members—anyone who seeks to create an organization with consistently effective governance in order to radically increase impact for beneficiaries. Webinar registrants will have the opportunity to ask Meehan, Jonker, and Spahn questions at the end of the webinar, which will be moderated by Michael Slind of Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Thanks to the generosity of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, this webinar is complimentary.

Speaker Biographies:




Kim Starkey Jonker is the executive director of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership and a consultant to nonprofits, philanthropists, and foundations on topics of strategy, board governance, evaluation, and organizational effectiveness. She is a visiting practitioner at the Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) and serves on the board of the Thrive Foundation for Youth. Previously, Jonker was a consultant for McKinsey & Company and a Farber Fellow with The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF). As a Harry S. Truman scholar, Jonker earned an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, a master’s degree in economics for development from University of Oxford, and a master’s degree in international relations from London School of Economics and Political Science.



William F. Meehan III is a regular writer and speaker on nonprofit strategy, governance, performance measurement, philanthropy, and the role of the Internet and impact investing. At Stanford University, he is a founding member of the advisory board for the Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) and a member of the Arts Initiative Council. He is currently leading an initiative and working group on frontier markets private equity as part of the recently launched Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED). Meehan is a retired board member of Guidestar, a long-time governor of the San Francisco Symphony, a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Endowment Board, and a member of the North American Council of Ashoka. Meehan retired in December 2008 after over 30 years at McKinsey & Company, where his focus was working with chief executives and senior leaders in technology, private equity, retail, financial services, and media on topics of top management strategy, organization, and leadership, including mentoring more than a dozen new CEOs in shaping their agendas.



Kathy Spahn is president and CEO of Helen Keller International, an international development organization working in 22 countries to save the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Spahn also served as president of ORBIS International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of blindness in the developing world, and as executive director of God’s Love We Deliver, an AIDS service organization dedicated to combating malnutrition and hunger among people living with HIV/AIDS. Spahn is a member of the board of directors of InterAction, and served as its chair from 2010 to 2013. She also serves on the boards of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, the Bernadotte Foundation for Children’s Eyecare, and other organizations. In 2014, Spahn was awarded the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership for her work at Helen Keller International.



Michael Slind is senior editor of Stanford Social Innovation Review. He has extensive experience as a writer, editor, and publishing professional. Slind is coauthor, with Boris Groysberg, of Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012). Previously, he worked at Harvard Business School, where he wrote widely used case studies on corporate strategy and entrepreneurial management. Earlier in his career, he served as managing editor and as a senior editor at Fast Company magazine.

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