Nonprofit BoardCon returns in person

Two hundred nonprofit executives and board members joined together for the New York Nonprofit Media hosted event to discuss leadership strategies, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonprofit BoardCon

Nonprofit BoardCon Ralph R. Ortega

Two hundred of New York’s nonprofit executives and board members were on hand for the return of BoardCon on Tuesday, New York Nonprofit Media’s first in-person event since the onset of COVID-19. 

The day-long event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan provided a robust program of educational panels, from the very basics of board responsibilities and training to management of finances and governance, and from the perspective of those who weathered the coronavirus pandemic. 

“You have to have faith in the decisions that you make, that the leadership that you hired will be able to execute. I think that's really sort of the theme of the day,” BoardCon host and Met Council CEO David Greenfield told NYN Media. 

Attendees included both experienced leaders and those just starting out. “Being someone who is in the beginning stages of establishing a board, to be able to have these tools for when we do establish our board is really helpful and makes me feel more confident in that next step, which can be, not an easy step for everyone to take,” said Lauren Panzica, founder and artistic director of the Greenhouse Arts Center. 

Discussions focused on how work changed for nonprofits during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Kate Krug, executive vice president of Nontraditional Employment for Women, spoke about transitioning from in-person meetings to video meetings and alternatives explored to hosting the organization’s annual fundraising event.

Current management topics were also discussed, including, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Boardroom.” “Don’t hide behind ‘We can’t find diverse candidates’ because they are out there,” Surjit Chana, one of the panelists and chairman of the board for Care for the Homeless, told attendees. 

For many in attendance, it also was an opportunity to reunite with colleagues who had not seen each other since before the start of the pandemic. 

“I think we really can't underestimate how much of us in the nonprofit world actually missed interacting with our colleagues and really working on brainstorming solutions to some of the biggest and most complicated problems in New York City,” said Greenfield, who also is member of NYN Media’s advisory board. 

“That's why we're incredibly grateful to get together and explore these issues. And as importantly, just network and seeing people, having the informal conversations during the breaks and lunch has really been invaluable.”