Meet the 2021 Breakout Speakers

Speakers & Sessions Announced for 2021 Nonprofit Leadership Conference

Team NLC News

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that nonprofit leaders must lead bravely and act boldly to move our communities forward. We’ll explore how to do just that at the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s 2021 Leadership Conference on October 13, presented by Bank of America. Experts in leadership, organizational culture, change management, communications, and diversity, equity and inclusion will help you develop the skills and confidence you and your team need to strengthen your organization and our communities.

In addition to this year’s highly anticipated keynote speakers Dr. Shirley Davis and Jon Acuff, conference attendees will have the opportunity to attend powerful breakout sessions.

Breakout Sessions & Speakers

During the 2021 Leadership Conference, attendees will have an opportunity to participate live in one of five dynamic breakout sessions and will receive exclusive access to all session recordings after the event. All breakout sessions focus on how nonprofit leaders can think differently, challenge the status quo, drive innovation, and lead for the future. You’ll walk away with ideas, tools, and strategies you and your team can immediately implement to address the most critical topics facing our sector and society.

Applying a Corporate Approach to Advance Racial Equity with Kimelyn Harris

Photo of Kimelyn Harris of Bank of America

Longstanding systemic inequities continue to prevent many people in historically underrepresented communities of color from accessing capital, growing wealth and passing assets on to families. Racial and economic disparities will continue to have compounding negative effects across generations unless we boldly come together across sectors — government, business and nonprofit — to take definitive steps to ensure that all people can participate fully in the economy.

During this session, we will discuss the significance of companies making commitments and developing action plans to advance racial equity. After attending, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of how organizations can implement economic justice initiatives to advance racial equity
  • Learn corporate funding and community building strategies to advance racial equity and how to translate them into local community impact
  • Identify how to activate the key drivers necessary to deepen your organization’s response and further its commitment to racial equity

This session will be facilitated by the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Program Director Meriel Martínez.

Kimelyn L. Harris is the senior vice president of ESG and public policy at Bank of America. She is responsible for executing programming to support the bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year effort to advance economic opportunity, health care initiatives and racial equality for people and communities of color. Kimelyn drives business planning and integration for this companywide initiative while also working to identify and build partnerships with organizations, institutions and community leaders. Prior to this role, Kimelyn provided strategic, operational and programming support for employee giving and volunteering, social justice and economic mobility initiatives at Bank of America as well as change management, business integration and global risk management. Kimelyn supports her local community through nonprofit board service and ongoing volunteerism.

Bravely Prioritizing Self-Care in a Post-Pandemic World with Rick Bennett

Rick Bennett

Working from home and through our computer screens has radically changed the workplace and our lives. As the most significant shift in most of our lifetimes, it’s critical to understand what our changing world means for the future of our organizations, employees, volunteers, clients and selves.

What are the unintended consequences of “doing our best all the time” or expecting that from others? This session will take an honest approach to our new reality and explore what we can do together to avoid burnout, turnover, and exhaustion for long-term success.

After this breakout session, you will:

  • Have practical ways to take care of yourself and say No in a healthy manner
  • Know how to mobilize tools and advocates for self-care
  • Understand how to empower those around you to take care of themselves and to say No

Rick Bennett manages community development and education for Florida Blue’s West Region, located in Tampa, Florida. A native Floridian, Rick has served as a pastor, nonprofit leader and spiritual care director. His interest and leadership in mindfulness and meditation began in seminary and as he served as a pastor. While a spiritual care director for a local Hospice, Rick received formal training on mindfulness and the dying process. He then took these practices to the business and nonprofit world, leading seminars and trainings, including at Florida Blue. Rick is an active member of several nonprofit boards.

Creating Innovative Partnerships that Drive Greater Social Impact with Tammy Charles

Tammy Charles, MBA, trainer at the Nonprofit Leadership Center

To solve our communities’ most pressing issues, we must think differently about innovation and collaboration. In this session, we will discuss specific actions that nonprofits and businesses can take now to build, facilitate and reimagine cross-sector relationships to advance systemic change. You will learn about traditional and emerging models for effective social impact through partnerships, strategic alliances and other key social impact models.

After attending this breakout session, you will:

  • Know what social innovation means and how to make a stronger case for collaboration
  • Have tangible and practical steps your organization can take to forge stronger partnerships
  • Understand the partnership models that are changing the way organizations address social problems
  • Walk away with effective tools to manage and evaluate the effectiveness of your partnerships

Tammy Charles, MBA, is a nationally recognized and award-winning social change strategist and the founder and chief strategist at Inovo Strategic Consulting, a global consulting firm that helps purpose-driven leaders create innovative and profitable business models to pursue social change. Her passion for community impact and development has allowed her to train, consult and coach more than 1,000 nonprofits, social enterprises and companies around the world. She has raised more than $10 million to support economic empowerment, social justice, poverty alleviation, health equity, racial justice, social innovation, and more. Additionally, Tammy is a business management, social entrepreneurship and accounting professor at Hillsborough Community College, the University of Tampa and Ultimate Medical Academy.

Great Minds Don’t Think Alike: Nurturing a Culture of Cognitive Diversity with Andrea Cortissoz

Workplace diversity is about more than embracing our visible differences; it’s also about elevating the unique aspects that come from within us. Although cognitive diversity — encouraging all types of voices, experiences, approaches and perspectives — has directly and measurably contributed to the most successful companies on the planet, it is still overlooked by many organizations as they seek to become more diverse. 

During this session, you will learn how to act boldly by strengthening and leveraging the cognitive diversity of your people to fuel individual, team and organizational success.

After this breakout session, you will:

  • Understand what cognitive diversity is and why it matters
  • Be equipped with the latest research and data on cognitive diversity
  • Know what cognitive diversity looks like in action
  • Be able to develop and apply cognitive diversity efforts at your organization

Andrea Cortissoz, CHRL, is the managing partner and co-founder at HR Soul. She is a highly versatile HR business partner and consultant with decades of global, senior-level corporate and consulting experience that includes working with startups, managing business closures and leading organizations through transformation at every stage of the process. Andrea’s work spans countries, industries, organizational size and complexity. She is dedicated to creating cultures that ignite people with both personal and professional purpose that are engaging for all employees.

Reframing Impact to Act Boldly with Steve Zimmerman

Photo of Steve Zimmerman, principal at Spectrum Nonprofit ServicesWhat sets organizations that thrived during the pandemic apart from others? For many, it was having a clear understanding of their intended impact. To be adaptive in our ever-changing world, nonprofit leaders must understand the three essential elements of the organizational model — impact, revenue, and people. 

During this breakout session, you will learn how to use the organizational model to reframe your nonprofit’s long-term impact:

  • Understand each aspect of the organizational model — impact, revenue, and people — and how they work together
  • Discover the questions to ask to define each element at your organization
  • Learn how to articulate and begin to measure your organization’s intended impact
  • See how the organizational model aligns with your strategy processes

Steve Zimmerman is the principal of Spectrum Nonprofit Services, where he provides training and consulting for community-based organizations, foundations and government agencies throughout the country. Steve has written and presented extensively in the areas of strategy and finance. He is the co-author of two books on nonprofit sustainability, The Sustainability Mindset and the best-selling Nonprofit Sustainability. He also was a contributor on strategic planning for Nonprofit Management 101 published in 2019. Steve’s writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, The Nonprofit Quarterly and various BoardSource publications, and he is a frequent keynote speaker at nonprofit conferences. 


Register Now to Lead Bravely & Act Boldly

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 on October 13, 2021, to learn from and connect with each other as we work to lead bravely and act boldly.

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