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2022 Nonprofit Leadership Conference Breakout Speakers & Sessions

Nonprofit Leadership Center

The past few years have required nonprofit professionals to dig deep, think differently and work together to support communities. At the 2022 Nonprofit Leadership Conference on December 1, presented by Bank of America, you’ll reignite your calling to nonprofit work and come together with peers and partners to chart the path forward.

This year’s conference breakout speakers address some of the most pressing issues facing nonprofit professionals, from acquiring and retaining top talent and leading like an entrepreneur to prioritizing yourself in a non-stop world and embracing an inclusive culture.

Meet the 2022 breakout speakers below who will join highly anticipated keynote speaker Nataly Kogan to renew your passion and celebrate your commitment to strengthening organizations and our communities.

Breakout Sessions & Speakers

During the 2022 Leadership Conference, attendees will have an opportunity to participate in two interactive breakout sessions. 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.

Finding & Retaining Talent in a Changing Hiring Landscape with Cheryl Brown

Headshot of Cheryl Brown wearing a red suit jacket

One of the most pressing challenges facing leaders today is attracting and retaining top talent. Known as the “Great Resignation” or “Great Reshuffle,” the workforce’s shifting expectations since the pandemic require organizations to re-evaluate their culture to inspire employee engagement and loyalty — and ultimately deliver their mission more effectively.

During this interactive session, you will learn how to use culture as your differentiator to attract and retain top talent and why investing in your culture leads to high performance.

Cheryl Brown, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is passionate about helping organizations relentlessly pursue organizational excellence. With more than 25 years of experience working with nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies to improve cultures, Cheryl is an expert in culture transformation, strategic planning, operational effectiveness, innovation, talent acquisition, diversity, equity, and inclusion, organizational development, performance management, succession planning, and board governance. As an award-winning leader, her P.R.A.I.S.E. Culture™ and P.R.A.I.S.E. Strategy™ frameworks align culture with strategy to achieve measurable results. Cheryl also serves on the NLC Board of Directors and is a key contributor on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee, Human Resources Task Force, and is serving a second year as a mentor for NLC’s Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards (ARENB) Fellowship.


A Mental Well-Being Playbook for Leaders in a Post-Pandemic Environment with Dr. Nick Dewan

When it comes to supporting performance in a high-pressure environment, we can learn a lot from sports teams. Dr. Nick Dewan applies his experience as an athlete, coach and sports psychiatrist to address the unique needs of a workforce facing chronic stress and burnout.

Naakesh (Nick) Dewan, M.D., is the vice president of behavioral health at GuideWell-Florida Blue. In his more than 30 years of experience as an accomplished physician and health care executive, Dr. Dewan has been an innovator in behavioral health and academic medicine. He has published three books on behavioral health technology and pioneered the use of patient support tools in primary care.

Dr. Dewan holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Wright State University and a Doctor of Medicine from Medical College of Ohio at Toledo. He spent three years in psychiatric residency at the University of Southern California and completed his residency and fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of California, San Diego. He is a certified physician executive and is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine.

Additionally, Dr. Dewan played and coached tennis at the collegiate level and has worked with amateur and professional athletes worldwide in multiple sports, including tennis, golf, football, baseball, basketball, and soccer.

Social Capital: Building Your Network and Net Worth with Gary Hartfield

Headshot of Gary T. Hartfield wearing a grey suit and blue tie

In today’s ever-changing landscape, leaders are under increasing pressure to demonstrate innovation and impact. For nonprofits, the key may be in thinking and acting like an entrepreneur.

Like every entrepreneur, nonprofit leaders need three kinds of capital: financial, human, and social. While financial and human capital are essential for success, social capital — the connections and shared values that exist between people and enable cooperation — is the key ingredient for long-term growth and impact.

During this session, you will learn how to think more like an entrepreneur as you explore the principles of social capital and the four ways to build it.

Gary T. Hartfield, MBA, is the founder, president and CEO of six residential group homes throughout Florida and an adult day training center, delivering personalized and therapeutic health care services for the elderly and developmentally disabled. Gary is also the founder and CEO of Serenity Village Insurance & Consulting in Tampa, a full-service operation specializing in commercial risk to support individuals and business owners. Gary is the author of “Stand,” and he was recognized by Onyx Magazine’s “Black Men Honors ‘Florida’s Most Impactful and Influential Men.’”

The Spiral of Consciousness: Leading with Intentionality with Margarita Sarmiento

Headshot of Margarita Sarmiento wearing a red jacketAs leaders look toward the future, they face critical choices about organizational culture and sustainability. With the growing need for workplaces to acknowledge and value differences and ensure inclusivity is the norm, not a strategic initiative, leaders must consciously question and seek to broaden their reality. And yet, most thinking happens in the subconscious mind, including how we approach people, problem-solve and make decisions. These involuntary patterns influence our perspectives and behaviors, with no thought to the why.

During this thought-provoking session, you’ll examine a process to take the necessary steps to become a more intentional leader and choose to be the change we wish to see.

Margarita Sarmiento is an award-winning international trainer and speaker, certified leadership coach and author. Three major career shifts due to reorganizations and layoffs gave rise to her more than 30 years of management and training experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Through her company ITK Consultants, Margarita designs and delivers customized programs in leadership, organizational and team development, communication, and DEI to influence positive change and improve results.




Prioritizing Yourself in a Nonstop World with Kristen Lessig-Schenerlein



Head shot of Kristen Lessig-Schenerlein wearing a black sweater

Nonprofit professionals face a high risk of burning out. To effectively care for others, we must first care for ourselves, but that’s often easier said than done.

Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting your well-being, pursuing happiness and being equipped to respond to stress with a positive mindset, so difficult periods don’t become long-term imbalances. In this interactive session, you’ll design a personal roadmap for self-care that can be modeled at all levels of your organization, develop strategies to shift organizational culture to one that prioritizes learning over performance, and identify ways funders can support the mental health and well-being of your nonprofit team(s).



Kristen Lessig-Schenerlein, ACC, CPQC, CTAA, RYT200, is the owner of Koi Coaching & Consulting where she helps nonprofit and small business leaders do the inner work necessary to link their power with their passion. Kristen blends her more than 16 years of experience as a nonprofit founder and executive director with yoga training and Positive Intelligence to help leaders improve their mental fitness and live a life in alignment with their values. She is a Certified Positive Intelligence Coach and Certified Virtual Facilitator will begin her master’s in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania this fall.



Leading Change Through the Power of Reflection with Rebecca J. Watson



Headshot of Rebecca Watson wearing a blue tank topReflection is a powerful tool for learning and leadership, yet it’s often a leader’s least-protected resource. More and more, leaders feel pressured to deprioritize time for reflection to respond to increasing organizational demands. These urgent challenges often require innovative solutions — solutions that can surely be accessed through consistent, intentional, reflective thinking.



During this session, you will renew your understanding of reflection as a driving force of your leadership, learn a simple framework to leverage reflection as a tool for innovative thinking, and practice two reflective strategies to strengthen your personal and leadership adaptability.



Rebecca J. Watson, M.Ed., is a master facilitator and leadership development strategist with a passion for empowering emerging and established leaders. She currently serves as CEO of Limitless Leader Inc., a leadership development consulting firm. For more than 17 years, she has made significant contributions to leadership capacity-building initiatives in Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Tennessee. She also supports school improvement efforts as a national education consultant and previously served as a principal with Chicago Public Schools.

Leading with Cultural Competence: A Panel Discussion

Leading With Cultural Competence: A Panel Discussion

Leaders from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors will discuss their journeys to better understand how to navigate cultural differences and commonalities in the workplace and nurture a thriving organizational culture. Join Chris Johnson from the Mosaic Company, Beverly Foster representing the Junior League of Tampa, and ReGina Newkirk Rucci from 904WARD for an honest and impactful conversation moderated by the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Meriel Martínez.

Diverse Representation on Nonprofit Boards: A Panel Discussion

Diverse boards are crucial to nonprofit success, but nearly 1 in 3 nonprofits lack any professionals of color on their boards (BoardSource). With nonprofit CEOs reporting ongoing challenges in understanding how to identify and recruit board members of color, this highly engaging panel discussion illuminates where to start and the far-reaching, positive impact of bringing about this long-needed change.

Moderated by Ernest Hooper, senior vice president for communications at United Way Suncoast, join some of the community’s brightest business leaders who have been part of the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship to explore how to increase diverse representation on nonprofit boards.

Panelists include: Bill Goede, Tampa Bay president, Bank of America; Demmeri Gallon, vice president, community relations manager, Bank of America; and Mike Sutton, CFRE, president and CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties

For Nonprofit CEOs Only: Executive Exchange

Gather with your fellow nonprofit CEOs and executive directors for intentional and inspiring networking time. During this executive exchange designed to spark collaboration and communication, you can choose to participate in lightly facilitated conversation or open networking time with your peers. Remember to bring your business cards.

This executive breakout session is facilitated by Ellen Nastir from Innovative Team Solutions and sponsored by Round Square.

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