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2020 NLC Leadership Conference Breakout Sessions and Speakers

What does it mean to lead courageously? How can you become a more courageous leader? We’ll explore the answers to these questions and more at the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s virtual 2020 Leadership Conference on October 13, presented by Bank of America. Leading experts in strategic planning, organizational culture, change management, communications and more will help you lead courageously in our ever-changing philanthropic landscape and post-COVID-19 world.

In addition to this year’s highly anticipated keynote speaker Neil Pasricha, conference attendees will be able to attend two of the following breakout sessions LIVE and get access to the other four session recordings after the event.

First Breakout Session Options

Courageous Conversations: Understanding & Confronting Unconscious Bias with Margarita Sarmiento

We each carry a different perspective into every interaction and situation. Oftentimes, our values, beliefs and experiences heavily impact our attitudes and behaviors toward others, including our workplace communications. Research shows that there is a direct link between our unconscious thinking and our beliefs and actions.

For understanding and inclusivity to exist, individuals must feel comfortable and safe to share their experiences and get to know others from a place of mutual trust. While these conversations can be uncomfortable and difficult, we must be willing to take the first step and create work environments dedicated to reducing personal bias, developing enduring connections and creating positive change.

In this session, you will examine the source of personal bias and learn how to have courageous conversations while respecting the concerns and opinions of others.

  • Discover bias’s direct effect on our beliefs, actions and interactions
  • Understand your role in fostering a positive, respectful workplace environment
  • Learn guidelines for engaging in meaningful dialogue



Margarita Sarmiento designs and presents customized training and implementation programs for public, nonprofit and for-profit organizations to improve organizational and personal performance. Her work encompasses professional development, team building, leadership, organizational planning, board development, cross-cultural communication and diversity. Read more about Margarita.

Boost Your Mental Fitness: The X-Factor in Courageous Leadership with Ellen Nastir


There are 10 saboteurs that can derail us from being courageous and effective leaders. Much like exercising your physical muscles, developing mental fitness enables leaders to handle life’s greatest challenges without mental stress and negativity. Positive Intelligence (PQ) measures how mentally fit you are and is the best predictor of your happiness and performance potential. Based on the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience, cognitive and positive psychology, and performance science, PQ is about performing better while working less hard, finding consistent peace and happiness, even in tough times, and handling conflict in ways that deepen trust and harmony.

In this interactive session, you will:

  • Identify which of the 10 saboteurs prevent you from functioning at your highest level
  • Grow the three core mental muscles to thrive in challenging times
  • Discover what holds you back when confronted with difficult situations, both at work and personally
  • Explore the benefits of practicing self-command
  • Reorient how negative emotions can help shift your experience


Meet Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, BCC, CPCC
Working hand-in-hand with nonprofits and small businesses, Ellen Nastir helps clients create more positive, appreciative and cohesive work environments. Her company Innovative Team Solutions works to develop employees’ people-skills to complement their technical skills and abilities. With more than 14 years of experience in training, development and entrepreneurial sales, Ellen brings a unique perspective to resolving challenges and maximizing the potential of any team. She is a certified Professional co-active coach, PeopleMap trainer, virtual trainer from the International Institute for Virtual Facilitation and is certified in Positive Psychology, Change and Tension Management and Conflict Dynamics. Finding the opportunity during quarantine, Ellen is most recently obtaining certification in Positive Intelligence. Read more about Ellen.

Creating a Change-Ready Organization with Mark McCatty


Is your organization ready for change? If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the only constant is change. Successful organizations and courageous leaders know how to effectively navigate change and use it to deepen employee engagement and mission impact. This session will introduce you to two types of change that every organization faces and explore the cultural elements that are critical to becoming a change-ready organization. You’ll use our change scorecard to assess your organizational readiness and walk away knowing how to apply the four drivers of change within your organization for long-term sustainability and success.


Mark McCatty is an organizational development consultant with more than 20 years of experience helping public and private sector organizations create a more engaged and productive workforce. Read more about Mark.

Second Breakout Session Options

Creating a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Plan that Engages Employees and Accelerates Positive Change with Sandra Quince

Sandra Quince, Bank of America


Having an authentic and meaningful diversity, equity and inclusion plan with strategies to engage employee resource groups is imperative for every nonprofit organization. In this interactive session, presenting sponsor Bank of America will share their approach to ensuring the values of diversity, equity and inclusion are deeply embedded in the fabric of their organization and employee roles. You will explore racial equity challenges and current events and better understand how to craft solutions-based strategies for your nonprofit that will keep staff engaged and accountable to affect positive, enduring change.

Sandra Quince is the senior vice president of global diversity and inclusion for Bank of America. She is responsible for working with the Bank’s CEO and chief diversity and inclusion officer to deliver their global D&I strategy.
Sandra’s work is focused on growing the diverse representation of the workforce, promoting an inclusive workplace where all employees have
the opportunity to achieve their goals and meet the needs of customers. Sandra also leads diversity for Global Human Resources, representing more than 2,500 employees.

Sandra serves the community through her contributions to the Executive
Committee and Board for Family & Children’s Services, as chair of the Black Women Business Owners of America Board, the City Year Board and as a member of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Board. Sandra is a graduate of Florida State University.


Challenging the Status Quo: Embracing Your Humanity with Liz Wooten-Reschke

Liz Wooten-Reschke, MPA | Nonprofit Leadership Center Trainer



Fans of TED Talks, Netflix and best-selling author Dr. Brené Brown will enjoy this interactive, deep dive into Dare to Lead™, guided by local connection expert Liz Wooten-Reschke. In this session, you will design your personal call to courageous leadership and challenge your own status quo. You’ll learn valuable skills, practices and tools to strengthen your courage foundation, discover four evidence-based skills for empowering your teams, grapple with tough conversations with civility and kindness, learn how to acknowledge your limitations and give yourself permission to be human.



Liz Wooten-Reschke is an experienced facilitator and skilled board governance expert with more than 25 years of service to the nonprofit sector. As president and CEO of Connect For More, she works collaboratively with her clients to create strategic consulting solutions that address topics such as best practices in board governance, engaging the next generation of nonprofit leadership, building an exceptional board culture, creating meaningful board service and diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy. Read more about Liz.

Move from Aspirations to Actions with Dr. John Loblack




Research shows that only 33% of the organizations that develop strategic plans implement those plans with fidelity. That means 2 in 3 strategic plans never see the light of day, being left to accumulate dust. In this highly interactive breakout session, you’ll explore tools and tactics to increase your odds of implementing the strategic plan you invested the time, effort and money developing. You’ll also understand how to focus on what’s “widely important” and how to act on lead measures, not the lag measures. You’ll do that while learning how to create and keep a compelling scorecard and initiate measures of accountability that will move your team from planning to implementing, and from implementation to impact.

John Loblack, an accomplished, change-oriented human development expert who motivates nonprofit leaders to drastically increase their individual and organizational value. Read more about John.




Are You Ready to Lead Courageously?

The NLC Leadership Conference is the premier event for anyone who works for a nonprofit, wants to work for a nonprofit, serves as a nonprofit board leader or partners with nonprofits. Join hundreds of nonprofit and business leaders virtually this year to learn from and connect with each other as we work to strengthen our skills, our organizations and our communities.

Register for the NLC 2020 Leadership Conference Now

Leadership Conference Sponsors


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