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Governing for Nonprofit Excellence
One Year Later: Engaging your board and aligning your mission.
Viewing the world throug...
In accordance with Harvard University policy, Harvard Business School does not discriminate against any person on the basi...
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Francine Parham Interview

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Francine Parham Interview

  1. 1. Governing for Nonprofit Excellence One Year Later: Engaging your board and aligning your mission. Viewing the world through a global lens is critical to Francine Parham, chairperson of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey. That’s why she was excited about the opportunity to examine the latest theories and models at Harvard Business School (HBS) with other nonprofit leaders from around the world. A year after completing the Governing for Nonprofit Excellence (GNE) program, Parham continues to apply the knowledge she acquired to her interactions with the board of trustees. Q. What were your objectives in attending the program? My organization was at a critical juncture in its lifecycle, so I wanted to learn how to lead its turnaround while keeping our trustees, staff, stakeholders, and partners engaged and aligned. Through dialog with faculty experts and other nonprofit leaders, I gained the skills to move forward strategically without eroding the original mission and purpose. It was critical that this happen both internally and externally. A year later, the program is still paying off—and I’m still going strong. Q. Which aspects of the program did you find most useful? Having some of the nonprofit organizations that were the subjects of the case studies share their perspectives and provide updates was most helpful. This brought the information to life and gave it relevance, as some of the studies were complex with multiple layers. Most important, we were given clear examples of how to elevate conversation about strategy, implementation, and action as leaders of our boards and organizations. Since then, I have been able to drive trustee accountability, performance, and engagement at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Arts, while bringing on and defining a new trustee profile. Q. What impact has the program had on you as a leader? This past year, I created an all-day, off-site retreat that focuses on accountability, contracting, and outcomes. This meeting is part of an overall change strategy that I developed and am implementing in my for-profit experience as well. The Dodge Foundation has asked me to be a guest blogger and discuss what I have achieved as Aljira’s chair, and to participate as a member in its professionally facilitated learning circle, “In Good Company,” a group of nonprofit presidents and chairs who are involved in the revitalization of the Newark community. I am most proud of this accomplishment, as it was my proposal to the Dodge Foundation. Q. How would you summarize the value of the program? My one-week experience at Harvard Business School catapulted me into some great leadership opportunities and provided an instant resource network of Harvard professionals and nonprofit leaders across the globe. I learned from faculty who have achieved success in the government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors and from other leaders in a variety of nonprofit areas with different points of view. Recently, I conducted two workshops at Rutgers Business School, Institute for Ethical Leadership, that focused on the importance of developing a network of nonprofit leaders, something I know about firsthand through my experience at Harvard Business School. For complete information, program updates, and an online application, visit: www.exed.hbs.edu/programs/gne/ PARTICIPANT PROFILE Q&A with Francine Parham
  2. 2. In accordance with Harvard University policy, Harvard Business School does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, sex or sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Ms. Nancy DellaRocco, Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field, Boston, MA 02163-9986 U.S. Programs, dates, fees, and faculty are subject to change. ©2013 President and Fellows of Harvard College. Governing for Nonprofit Excellence Q&A with Francine Parham For complete information, program updates, and an online application, visit: www.exed.hbs.edu/programs/gne/ Connect with us For more information, please contact our client service specialists at: Executive Education Programs Harvard Business School Soldiers Field Boston, Massachusetts 02163-9986 U.S. Email: executive_education@hbs.edu Telephone: 1-800-427-5577 (outside the U.S., dial +1-617-495-6555) Fax: +1-617-495-6999 Connect with us via LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: www.exed.hbs.edu/connect/ About the Program Nonprofit organizations require strong, innovative leadership, especially during uncertain times. Governing for Nonprofit Excellence (GNE), an HBS Social Enterprise Initiative program, is designed to maximize the contributions of individual nonprofit board members. Participants are challenged to examine their role and the role of their boards in improving organizational effectiveness.

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