Webinar Spotlight on Nonprofit Leadership and Organizational Culture

Date: Mar 28, 2018
Time: 09:15 AM to 03:30 PM

Online - just need a computer, access to the internet, and speakers (or a phone line)

Fee: $99 for MCN members and nonmembers Register Now!

Nonprofit leaders have a complex task, carrying out challenging missions with limited resources and sometimes conflicting demands, in the midst of constantly evolving networks of organizational and personal relationships. Strong leadership practices and authentic organizational culture strengthen the ability of nonprofits to interpret and adapt to opportunities in this shifting environment and to make the most effective use of the ideas and resources available in their organizations, networks and communities.

This Spotlight is a one-day online event offering four interactive live online sessions, each exploring a different aspect of nonprofit leadership and organizational culture. Each session will be led by an experienced nonprofit leader or consultant and is designed to offer practical information that can be applied immediately. Registrants can participate in the live sessions and will also be sent a link to a recording of the session after the event ends.

Sessions will include:

Building an Authentic Workplace Culture: Arlene Vernon
Creating a Culture Where Effective Communication Thrives: Hanna Cooper
Leading Change: Tom Kern
Making Time to Invest in Personal Renewal for Better Leadership: Damon Shoholm

Building an Authentic Workplace Culture
An organization’s culture is created by the thousands of little things that happen over time. It’s a product of what leaders permit through action or inaction, it’s not just what they say it is. If you asked five colleagues to describe your organization’s culture, would you get five different answers? Would they mirror your own answer? In this session, we’ll explore how leaders create culture through what they pay attention to, how they act or don’t act, what they reward and punish, and how they allocate attention and resources. What employees are seeking today – as well as board members and other stakeholders – is authenticity. People want to work with authentic leaders and for authentic organizations. But how do you create a culture that is truly authentic? In this session, the presenter will define the hallmarks of authentic leaders and share the ten key characteristics of authentic organizations while laying out a pathway for transforming your organization’s culture.

Arlene VernonArlene Vernon is a human resource strategist with over 25 years of experience as a trusted resource for a diverse group of small and medium-sized organizations. She’s seen first-hand what nonprofit leaders face every day, and her results-oriented consulting and training successfully addresses those realities. In her work with 500+ organizations since starting her consulting firm HRx in 1992, she develops and implements do-able strategies to address the short-term challenges and long-term success of each organization. With an M.B.A. and a master of education in counseling, as well as a professional of human resources certification, Arlene is both a studied and practiced authority in human resources and human relations.

Creating a Culture Where Effective Communication Thrives
No matter the role, everyone in your organization manages a complex and vast array of relationships: with colleagues, board members, donors, constituents and other stakeholders. Successfully creating long-term trusting relationships hinges on good two-way communication skills. During this session, we will explore key frameworks to help leaders create a nonprofit culture that promotes the ability to have crucial conversations, powerful dialogue, effective communication and ultimately more impact as an organization.

Hanna CooperHanna Cooper is a certified professional coach for mission-based leaders and teams and shares their yearning, passion and dedication for making the world a better place. Before starting her coaching business in 2004, Hanna worked in a variety in nonprofit and government program and leadership roles, including nearly a decade overseeing statewide public health programs. Her training and education includes a master’s in public health along with training in individual and systems coaching from the Coaches Training Institute and Center for Right Relationship. She is a professional certified coach by the International Coach Federation, and has completed additional training in mindfulness, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, polarity management, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Leading Change
The only thing that is constant is change, and yet humans often resist it. If part of being an effective leader is creating, facilitating, adapting to and communicating change, what is a leader to do when faced with ubiquitous resistance? Although leaders can’t make people feel better about change, they can take steps to increase the likelihood that their staff members will accept, adapt to and perhaps even help create the change that is needed. In this session, you will learn a five-step model of change that applies to both individuals and groups. You’ll also become more familiar with the threats that humans feel when faced with change and how these threats impact participation in a leader’s efforts to create change. We’ll also talk about the importance of gathering support for proposed changes and share some tips on using communication strategies effectively while leading change.

Tom KernTom Kern is currently a leadership development and change leader for the City of Minneapolis. In this position, he is involved in leadership development activities as well as the people part of organizational change. Tom previously worked at the Target Corporation, where he was involved in the initial Big City Emergency Managers Emerging Leaders Program. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Georgia with a specialization in behavioral medicine.

Making Time to Invest in Personal Renewal for Better Leadership
“Thinking is the place where intelligent actions begin,” wrote sociologist Meg Wheatley. When was the last time you allowed yourself time to think about how to more effectively invest in your personal and professional life? As leaders, we are constantly pushed by external forces to consider questions raised by others: “Solve this crisis.” “Make a decision.” “Design a plan.” We become experts at answering their questions. But, for many of us, there comes a time when our solutions aren’t enough, our processes aren’t as effective, and the energy and focus needed to be a good leader is hard to come by. Many think this means their intellectual well is drying up, but perhaps what is truly needed is time spent doing the most difficult thinking there is – thinking about self. In this session, we will examine how taking time for self-reflection can help us clarify our work and its meaning. Participants will also start to identify the first steps they might take to invest more time in personal renewal as a pathway to sustaining effective leadership.

Damon ShoholmDamon Shoholm is the director of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute at Wilder where he creates the conditions for effective reflection while serving to increase the capacity of individuals and organizations alike. The Shannon Institute is a yearlong leadership program that offers community-serving leaders from all sectors the opportunity for renewal and reflection. Through a structured, supportive environment, participants are challenged to redefine the purpose of their work, gain clarity of their core values, develop strategies to increase their effectiveness, and identify changes needed to improve their focus, commitment, energy and satisfaction. With a background in applied leadership, Damon has more than 10 years’ experience in leadership development, civic engagement and facilitation training.

Spotlight Schedule

9:15        Welcome
9:30        Building an Authentic Workplace Culture
10:30      Break
11:00      Creating a Culture Where Effective Communication Thrives
12:00      Break
1:00        Leading Change
2:00        Break
2:30        Making Time to Invest in Personal Renewal for Better Leadership
3:30        End

Event Details

Technology Requirements: This virtual training uses Adobe Connect. Log-in instructions including a personalized login link will emailed to you one week before the event begins. If you don’t receive the email, please first check your spam folder, then contact events@minnesotanonprofits.org. You will need a computer with a reliable high-speed internet connection. Audio is available via your computer or your phone; choose the audio connection that provides you with the best sound quality.


Will the sessions be recorded? Yes, they will be recorded. However, because of the interactive nature of these sessions, which will include ongoing conversation via chat and polls, participants will get a lot more value out of these sessions if they participate in the live event and rely on the recordings for reviewing the content that was shared during the live session.

Can registrations be shared? To achieve the best possible learning outcomes during these sessions, each participant should have their registration for the event. Participants will be actively engaging with the trainer via chat and polls, and to do so, each needs to have their own keyboard, computer, and connection to the training.

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