BRITE Women Project moves forward with fall boot camp, training sessions
Published: August 27, 2019 / Author: Melissa Jackson
A University of Notre Dame initiative aimed at increasing gender diversity on nonprofit boards is gaining momentum after its first event in August drew more than 60 women, said organizers of the BRITE Women Project (Board Readiness Initiative to Empower Women Project).
The endeavor, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Nonprofit Professional Development at Mendoza College of Business, seeks to equip women to provide transformational nonprofit board leadership that benefits their communities.
Joan McClendon, operations program director for Nonprofit Professional Development, noted that the kick-off networking event in August drew women from diverse backgrounds and experiences.
“They are exactly who needs to be in the room to better represent the communities that our nonprofits serve,” she said. “We had young professionals and retirees, entrepreneurs and female executives, women with different life experience from across the socioeconomic spectrum. Their voices can only enrich the work of our nonprofits.”
Vivian Sallie of Sallie & Associates in South Bend, a panelist at the event, agreed. “It’s very important for senior management teams and boards to have a wide range of perspectives and experiences in order to best navigate complex issues. That’s why today there’s finally a seat at the table for women and minorities who are increasingly sought after to serve.”
The BRITE Women Project has also attracted interest from nonprofits seeking women to join their boards and those who are looking for training resources, McClendon said. BRITE is working on how to help connect women interested in serving with nonprofits seeking board members.
“In addition to offering training and connecting women with opportunities to serve, we also want to empower more women to move into roles as board presidents and treasurers, as well as facilitate conversations about the issues that veteran board members face,” McClendon said.
Networking Night Out Photo Gallery
The evening featured a panel discussion and roundtable activities that focused on different aspects of nonprofit board service such as knowing when you’re ready to serve; leveraging your executive presence; effectively communicating your value proposition; and enhancing your professional networking skills.
Participant Leslie Eid, a labor and delivery nurse at Memorial Hospital, volunteers through Center for Hospice Care in South Bend and serves of several committees at the hospital including a team that works with mothers living with addiction and working toward recovery.
“The BRITE Women Networking Night Out was more than I could have hoped for,” she said. “It has given me fresh eyes and insights. I will not soon forget this opportunity and look forward to the ways it will inspire and inform my future, as well as my work as a nurse in this community.”
Panelists at the Aug. 14 networking event included Mary Adeniyi, a learning & organizational development consultant at Notre Dame; Kim Becker, founder and president of the nonprofit Hello Gorgeous! of Hope Inc.; Amanda G. McKendree, the Arthur F. and Mary J. O’Neil Director of the Fanning Center for Business Communication and associate teaching professor in Mendoza’s Management & Organization Department; and Vivian Sallie of Sallie and Associates. Bethany Hartley, director of diversity and inclusion at the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership, facilitated the event, and Amish Shah, CEO of Kem Krest, also spoke.
McClendon says feedback from the networking event will be used to develop more specific training opportunities later this fall. In addition to offering a BRITE Women Boot Camp certificate program Oct. 17-19 at Mendoza College of Business, she is working on offering in-person and virtual workshops on specific topics starting in November.
The boot camp is a certificate program that features sessions on financial, managerial and communication topics that are critical to effective board service. It also includes four additional professional development sessions. Space is limited and registration closes on Oct. 10. To receive the $300 off the $995 registration cost, sign up by Sept. 15 with the promotional code BRITE300. Register here.
For more information about upcoming BRITE Women Project events, go online to Mendoza.nd.edu/BRITE. To sign up to receive news about future opportunities, contact Joan McClendon at 574-631-5320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.