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Strengthening Nonprofits Speaker Series presents: The Board Savvy CEO

CFAAC's Strengthening Nonprofits Speaker Series presents: The Board Savvy CEO

Creating a high-performing board requires a board-savvy CEO that knows how to balance being a leader and fostering leadership on the board. Panelists will share insights from their own experiences with board successes and foibles. The panel will discuss how to balance the big-picture, strategic engagement of boards, as well as the importance of managing board communications and logistics like a pro. You will have a chance to ask your questions about delicate board encounters, the CEO evaluation process, how to get your board more engaged in fundraising, and more.   

This event is for nonprofit executives, fund development professionals, and board members. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

8:00 am - 9:30 am

Anne Arundel Community College, Florestano Lecture Hall, 101 College Parkway, Arnold, MD 21012

This event is free to attend, although registration is required as space is limited. Coffee, continental breakfast, and networking will begin at 7:30 am.



Heather Iliff 

Ms. Iliff is President & CEO of Maryland Nonprofits, responsible for advancing the organization’s vision to create a highly effective, ethical and accountable nonprofit sector that drives change through collective action and advocacy. Ms. Iliff previously served as Vice President of MD Nonprofits and Director of the MD Nonprofits Consulting Group. She is an experienced facilitator, trainer, and manager with international, national, and local nonprofit organizations. Ms. Iliff served a 4-year term as an elected member of the Prince George’s County, MD Board of Education, and was appointed to County Executive Rushern Baker’s Commission on Educational Excellence. Previously, Ms. Iliff was Deputy Director of Alliance for Nonprofit Management and Asst. Director of the Institute for Educational Policy at Open Society Institute-Budapest. Ms. Iliff has been featured as a speaker at national conferences including Organizational Development Network Annual Conference and the Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Ms. Iliff holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from The American University and a Masters in Political Science from the University of the State of New York. She is a licensed consultant with the Standards for Excellence Institute.


Franklyn Baker

Franklyn is a cross-functional senior executive with diverse expertise in non-profit organizations. He has demonstrated a passion for and commitment to exceeding operational, strategic planning and financial goals. A solution-focused and performance-driven leader, Franklyn has the vision, experience and business acumen to move beyond layers of traditional organizational dynamics to formulate cost-effective strategies to overcome potential shortfalls and maximize resources. He is a skilled contract negotiator who consistently builds positive, mutually respectful relationships with federal, state and local government officials, vendors, providers, community partners, and clients to improve social impact.  

As President and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland ($32 million non-profit with 115 staff), Franklyn shepherds all aspects of the board approved strategic plan and direction. Prior to this role, Baker improved national operations and helped to bolster fundraising efforts at Greenpeace USA ($45 million nonprofit with 600 staff) while serving as its principal deputy and Chief Operating Officer.  Before this position, he served for more than five years as Chief Operating Officer and at the end of his tenure as Chief of Staff and External Affairs Officer with Volunteers of America Chesapeake. While there, Franklyn held primary responsibility for leading and improving operations of 32 diverse programs employing more than 750 staff geographically located from Baltimore, MD to VA Beach to Washington, DC. Baker also led the HR, Development and IT functions, ensured its multiple facilities were well managed and met regulatory and contractual expectations while assisting with the acquisition and management of government contracts and grants comprising 92% of its $34 million in revenue.

Before Volunteers of America Chesapeake, Baker worked as Director and Executive Administrator of Public Sector Partnerships within Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. In prior leadership roles, Baker added value with such companies as Columbia, MD-based Magellan Behavioral Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and others in various positions ranging from Senior Manager to Vice President. Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from Howard University and completed a master’s degree of nonprofit administration in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Baker has served on and chaired multiple boards including Baltimore’s Promise, Parks & People Foundation, Unity Healthcare, and others. He has completed a 2-year Executive Development Program, is a 2013 class member of Leadership Greater Washington and recently completed the 2018 Greater Baltimore Committee LEADERship program. Franklyn lives in Annapolis, MD with his wife Michell and 16-year old daughter Gabriell. 

Christopher Nelson

Christopher B. Nelson is a member of the teaching faculty and President Emeritus of St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. He served as its president from June 1991 to 2017. He is an alumnus of St. John’s (BA 1970) and a graduate of the University of Utah College of Law (JD 1973), where he founded and directed the university’s student legal services program. He practiced law in Chicago for 18 years and was chairman of his law firm when he left the practice to take his current position at St. John’s College.

Nelson has been a national spokesperson for the liberal arts, participating actively in the national conversation about higher education. Frequently a panelist and speaker on state, regional, national and international programs, he has been focused on making clear the value of liberal education in providing a path to a life worth living, an excellent grounding for career and professional development, and the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of learning. He has frequently addressed issues of institutional autonomy in the face of government regulatory intrusion and changes proposed in the accrediting system. He has twice been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (2014-2017 and 1996-1999) and served as its Vice Chair (2016-2017) and its Chair-Elect for 2017 until his retirement from office. He has served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association (2003-2006). He is past chair (2005-2007) and a founding member of the Annapolis Group, a consortium of over 120 of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. He was elected to Board of the Aspen Wye Seminars in January 2014. He served on the board for the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) (2010-2013). He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the AFS-USA (formerly the American Field Service) (1993-2003, and 2007-2010) and served as board chair (2001-2003) and Vice Chair (1998-2001). He was chair of the Board of Trustees of Shimer College (2007-2011) and has served as Vice Chair (2006-2007) and as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee (2005-2007). He received the Honorary Doctor of Letters from Shimer College on May 5th, 2012.

Nelson was the 2014 recipient of the Henry Paley Award, awarded by the National Association of Colleges and Universities. The award “recognizes an individual who, throughout his or her career, has unfailingly served the students and faculty of independent higher education. The recipients of this award have set an example for all who would seek to advance educational opportunity in the United States.”

Locally, Nelson’s interests include government, the arts, and historic preservation. He was a member of the Board of the Historic Annapolis Foundation from 1999-2012 and served as its Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. He serves on the Maryland State Archives Commission (1991-2017) and has been an honorary board member of the Annapolis Opera. He has served on the Board of Trustees, Severn School (Maryland) (1995-2004); chair, County Executive’s Special Committee on Impact Fees for Anne Arundel County (1999-2000); chair, County Executive’s Special Committee on Anne Arundel Community College (1994-1995); and chair of the Annapolis Mayor’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities in Annapolis (2008-2009). Nelson served on the Maryland Federation of Art’s Honorary Committee for their 50th Anniversary (2013) and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anne Arundel County Arts Council (2016). He was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

Prior to 1991, Nelson served on numerous national, state and local Bar Association committees and published articles in the field of labor and employee benefits law. He served on a committee for the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry (building business and public school partnerships): as a Board member of St. John’s College, and a member of the Advisory Board of St. Joseph’s College (Indiana).

Currently, Nelson sits on the Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation Board (2018-present) and the Board of Directors of the Innermost House Foundation (2019-present)


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