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Free Board Building Webinars

From April through June, ArtsFund hosted a series of webinars centered on helping cultural organizations strengthen their boards, seeing nearly 100 total attendees to the sessions with dozens more views of the recordings. They provided attendees with tools for staff and boards to more effectively carry out their organizations’ missions.

Each of the three trainings were hosted by Rena Henderson Mason, founder of Bold Agenda, a national consulting firm for nonprofits, and were part of ArtsFund’s convenings programming, sponsored by the Boeing Company.

The series kicked off on April 12 with Broken Engagement: Why Has Our Board Checked Out? How Do We Fix It?, focused on assessing and addressing faltering board engagement. Highlighted throughout were ways to diagnose issues affecting engagement including recruitment, the structure of the board, meeting facilitation, and the board culture. Rena followed up each with tools and tactics to address these concerns, and shared with attendees a helpful checklist for improving board engagement.

Next in the series was Optimizing the Board Chair/CEO Relationship on May 14. According to Rena, this is the most critical relationship for a successful organization, which affects and drives both board and organizational performance and outcomes. She reviewed why this is and how attendees can assess their relationship using a set of discussion questions to guide the conversation. From there, the relationship can be improved for optimal impact and performance through “a framework for building trust, communication, and the board as a high performing team.”

The third and final webinar was June 7’s Breaking Down Barriers: Achieving Real Board Diversity and Inclusion. This introductory session aimed at initiating conversations and thinking among attendees on how to build a more inclusive board culture to authentically diversify their board and grow toward equity. As Rena noted in her opening, this is hard and difficult work for many organizations, and this session looked to provide “a framework and questions as [attendees] think about planning.” She provided thoughtful guidance and discussion questions to begin applying “barrier breaking techniques” to cultural organizations’ boards.

In responses to surveys on the webinars, 89% of respondents said they plan to implement information from the sessions at their organization. Respondents said they “appreciated the list of resources at the end so I can go deeper into the topics,” helped them think about “ways to create a fresh mindset,” and gave them a “greater awareness of cultural barriers to diversity.”

ArtsFund thanks Rena Henderson Mason for her expert facilitation and guidance, and the Boeing Company for their support of ArtsFund’s convenings series.