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The 2017 Governance Conference for Practitioners and Researchers

The Many Faces of Nonprofit Governance
The 2017 Governance Conference for Practitioners and Researchers

Convened by
The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
University of Missouri - Kansas City
and
The Nonprofit Quarterly

April 27-28, 2017
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.


The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC and The Nonprofit Quarterly, in collaboration with the Governance Section of ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action) and the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, are pleased to invite you to attend our 2017 Biennial Conference on Nonprofit Governance. This year's conference theme, The Many Faces of Nonprofit Governance, reflects both our appreciation for and recognition of the need to continue to grow our understanding of this important field. Research on nonprofit boards and governance has developed substantially in the past decade, and we are learning more every year as scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and fields provide important new insights and knowledge about governance and the work of boards. For all of our progress, however, we still have much to learn, especially about the practice of governance and the work of boards in the myriad of different contexts and organizational types. How does governance differ in settings as different as associations and member-serving organizations, federations and networks, collective impact initiatives, multi-level organizations and systems, and even social movements? This conference will challenge practitioners and researchers as they come together to examine from multiple perspectives how we engage in governance and how governance and the work of boards is and will continue to be evolving in these challenging and dynamic times.

This highly participative conference will employ the Midwest Center model that has been successful in our previous academic-practitioner conferences and will offer multiple opportunities for formal and informal discussion and dialogue among consultants, executives, and academics who are most engaged in addressing these challenges. A key element of the conference is sharing highlights and insights emerging from recent governance research. Equally valuable are the opportunities to build on and go beyond the theory and research - for experienced leaders who are exploring new and innovative strategies and approaches in their communities and organizations to share their perspectives in facilitated and informal discussions. Half of the conference sessions will be facilitated (non-presentation) dialogue sessions, each focused on a specific issue or topic of interest.

The conference is designed to be a relatively intimate gathering of those who are serious about sharing and shaping governance ideas and learning. To facilitate active dialogue, the conference will be limited to 150 participants, about half of whom will be nonprofit and community leaders and practitioners.

This year's conference will include keynote presentations by:

  • Vernetta Walker of BoardSource, presenting the 2017 “Leading with Intent” governance survey,
  • Dr. Beth Gazley of Indiana University, sharing her insights into Transformational Governance, and
  • Dr. David Karpf of George Washington University, speaking on "Analytic Governance: How nonprofit leaders can use new media to engage more effectively."

Conference includes presentations by leading researchers and engaging facilitated dialogue sessions on:

  • The Changing Nature of Governance in a Digital Environment
  • Social Entrepreneurship, Hybrid Organizations, and Governance
  • Governance in Networks and Multi-Organizational Alliances
  • Governance in Associations and Other Member-Benefit Organizations
  • The Challenge of Effective Leadership Succession for Boards and Executives
  • Who Really Governs? Talking Honestly About Inclusion, Engagement, and Governance
  • A Critical Conversation on Board Development

Thursday, April 27, 2017 (Conference Preliminary Schedule)

7:30 a.m. - Noon - Conference Registration


7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. - Networking and Breakfast
Note: Buffet breakfast will be available until 8:30 a.m.


8:30 - 10:30 a.m. - Opening Plenary

Welcome
Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly
David Renz, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership

Plenary Address
Vernetta Walker of BoardSource, presenting the 2017 "Leading with Intent" governance survey.


10:45 - 11:45 a.m. - Introductory Dialogue Session
Dialogue sessions have no formal presentations. Rather, they are facilitated discussions on a specific topic among interested participants.


Noon - 1:30 p.m. - Luncheon Plenary

Plenary Address
Dr. Beth Gazley of Indiana University, sharing her insights into Transformational Governance


1:45 - 3:15 p.m. - Concurrent Paper and Dialogue Sessions

Session A: Paper Presentation Session: What Happens? Examining the Process of Governance

Factors that Influence Governance Priorities and Needs
William Brown, Mark Engle

Governance in Corporate Foundations
David Renz

Filling the Gap in Nonprofit Technical Capacity to Account for Board Performance: Factors Associated with Intentional Changes in Governance Behavior and Practices following Use of an Online Board Performance Assessment Application
Yvonne D. Harrison

Session B: Dialogue Session: Who Really Governs? Talking Honestly About Inclusion, Engagement, and Governance

This discussion will explore questions about who really gets to participate in governance in organizations and networks. Are boards really just for the rich? For those who are most aggressive and driven? What actors in and around nonprofits have the power to influence governance, how is this evolving and changing, and with what consequences? Which stakeholders and other actors in and around nonprofits have the power to influence governance and decision making, what do we know about the dynamics by which influence is exercised in the governance process (and with what consequences)? What are we learning about the implications of more- or less-inclusive governance arrangements and systems, and how stakeholders may take the initiative to exercise influence on organizations and their systems of governance?


3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Concurrent Dialogue Sessions

Session C: Social Entrepreneurship, Hybrid Organizations, and Governance

With the increased attention that is being paid to social entrepreneurship and "blended value" social enterprise, interesting questions emerge about the ways in which governance and board work are similar to or different from that of conventional nonprofits. What are the implications for board-executive relations, for risk management, for decision making, and for accountability? Is there such a thing as socially-entrepreneurial governance? In practice, are boards of social enterprises different? Do they behave differently? Further, as nonprofit and for-profit forms of enterprise continue to blend, what are we learning about social enterprise governance that might help us understand the governance for each?

Session D: The Unique Character of Governance in Associations, Multi-Organizational Alliances, and Other Member-Benefit Organizations

A significant share of the research and writing on governance and boards has focused on public benefit and community-serving organizations, yet there are many other kinds of organizations that have received relatively less attention. How does (should?) governance and board work compare differ in associations, cooperatives and collectives, and other member-serving organizations? What might we learn from governance research and board practice in these kinds of organizations? How is governance in these forms and contexts similar and different, and what are the implications of these for process and social impact?


5:00 - 7:00 p.m. - Reception
Join your conference colleagues and Kansas City nonprofit leaders for informal conversation and hors d'oeuvres.


7:00 p.m. - Dinner on your own
(Visit www.countryclubplaza.com or www.westportkcmo.com for restaurant ideas)

Friday, April 28, 2017 (Conference Preliminary Schedule)

7:15 - 8:15 a.m. - Alliance for Nonprofit Management Governance Affinity Group Meeting


7:15 - 8:30 a.m. - Networking and Breakfast


8:30 - 10:00 a.m. - Concurrent Paper and Dialogue Sessions

Session E: Paper Presentation Session: Who Participates? Examining Involvement and Engagement in Governance Processes

The Many Faces of Nonprofit Governance: Maximizing Nonprofit Board Diversity
Ruth Bernstein

Community Engagement GovernanceTM: An Innovative System-Wide Governance Model for Community Impact: New Findings from a Participatory Action Research Study
Judy Freiwirth

The Dilemma for Small Human Service Nonprofits: Engagement in Networks and Working with a Limited Number of Salaried Staff
Mirae Kim, Shuyang Peng

Session F: Dialogue Session: The Changing Nature of Governance in a Digital Environment

How is the digital environment changing the nature and content of governance and the ways that boards engage, work with, and ensure accountability to constituents and stakeholders? How and in what ways are social media and social networking changing the dynamics of governance, and what are the implications of these changes affecting the work of boards and other governance structures?


10:15 - 11:45 a.m. - Concurrent Dialogue Sessions

Session G: Succession Planning and Organizational Effectiveness: An Obvious and Challenging Connection to Make

Most researchers and consultants agree that well-led organizations out-perform those that are not well-led. We also know that even the happiest, highest-performing leaders will eventually transition out of the organization; some expected, some unexpected. Despite the obvious case, however, it can be very challenging for boards, executives and managers to spend meaningful time on succession planning. In this facilitated dialogue session, we will exchange our successes and barriers to effective succession planning and executive transitions and explore the merits of making succession planning an integral part of governance practice, just as strategic planning is today.
Session Co-Facilitators: Tara Levy and Marissa Paine (Alliance for Nonprofit Management)

Session H: A Critical Conversation on Board Development

Board performance remains a perennial complaint and concern of many leaders and constituents of the sector, in spite of the fact that a growing number of consultants and academics have (for more than two decades) focused on understanding and developing boards. What have we really learned? What is it we can't seem to understand? Is there anything new "out there?" What models are actually most common today, and what other models or approaches are under development? What are the most persistent and perplexing challenges confronting boards and those who seek to enhance board capacity, performance, and impact?


Noon - 1:45 p.m. - Luncheon Plenary and Dialogue Session:

Plenary Address
Dr. David Karpf of George Washington University, speaking on "Analytic Governance: How nonprofit leaders can use new media to engage more effectively."


1:45 - 2:00 p.m. - Closing Comments

Closing Comments
Ruth McCambridge, The Nonprofit Quarterly
David Renz, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership

Paper proposals accepted for the 2017 conference:

Ruth Bernstein
The Many Faces of Nonprofit Governance: Maximizing Nonprofit Board Diversity

Yvonne D. Harrison
Filling the Gap in Nonprofit Technical Capacity to Account for Board Performance: Factors Associated with Intentional Changes in Governance Behavior and Practices following Use of an Online Board Performance Assessment Application

Judy Freiwirth
Community Engagement GovernanceTM: An Innovative System-Wide Governance Model for Community Impact A Participatory Action Research Study

Mirae Kim, Shuyang Peng
The dilemma for small human service nonprofits: Engagement in networks and working with a limited number of salaried staff

William Brown, Mark Engle
Factors that influence governance priorities and needs

Douglas Ihrke, Mick Ford, Nathan Grasse
Examining Nonprofit Executive Director – Board Relations in Two Countries as they Relate to Perceptions of Board Effectiveness: Executive Director Perspectives

David Renz
Governance in Corporate Foundations


About the Conference
The conference begins on Thursday morning, April 27, 2017, and runs through mid-afternoon on April 28. Conference and lodging will be at the Embassy Suite on the Country Club Plaza (220 West 43rd Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111). Conference participants should make their own hotel reservations.

The conference fee, inclusive of resource materials, breakfast and lunch, and receptions and coffee breaks, is $275. Note: there is a special student rate of $175 per student.

Register Here

Questions about the conference may be directed to conference co-directors, David Renz (RenzD@umkc.edu) or Brent Never (NeverB@umkc.edu).

Henry W. Bloch School of Management
5110 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110
816-235-2305

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