Conference Breakthrough Sessions


These 75-minute roundtable sessions are each designed to bring together professionals in specific roles or points in their career. During these sessions, experts in the field will guide you and your peers as you discover, examine, and apply solutions to the career and organizational opportunities and challenges we all face .

The sessions will be facilitated by experienced leaders who will share lessons they’ve learned—and what they wished they had known—as they navigated challenges at their organization and in their own profession. You’ll learn through case studies, peer discussions, and group exercises, and leave inspired and equipped to do your job more efficiently and effectively, whether it’s managing staff (or your boss) or setting a clear path to becoming the next great nonprofit CEO.

Find the right fit for your career level and interest below.


Emerging Leaders: Navigating Challenges & Opportunities for a Thriving Nonprofit Career

Many professionals begin careers in the nonprofit sector with strong ideals and a desire to do good, but find themselves lost when it comes to navigating the unique intricacies of the sector. In this interactive session, participants will be guided by experts as they converse with peers on topics such as: effecting organizational change as a young, or aspiring, leader; pursuing networking and professional development opportunities; and forging a career path, such as a move from direct service to management. This session is suitable for nonprofit staff with less than five years of experience who are looking to grow their leadership potential and develop a career trajectory.

Colby SwettbergColby Swettberg is the CEO of Silver Lining Mentoring. Prior to her role at Silver Lining, Colby was at The Home for Little Wanderers for eight years where she opened and oversaw a group home for LGBTQ teenagers, did clinical work in adoption and family stabilization team services, facilitated support groups for foster and adoptive families, and provided training and consultation nationwide on sexual orientation and gender identity issues. In 2012, Colby was chosen by then Senator John Kerry for the “Angel in Adoption” award for her advocacy efforts on behalf of youth in foster care. Colby represented the Commonwealth in Washington DC at the national convening of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and in 2013 received the “Women of Excellence” award from national child welfare organization Youth Villages.

Building a Culture of Development

While fundraising is essential to the success and sustainability of most nonprofits, a good development professional is hard to find and even harder to retain. According to a recent CompassPoint Survey, half of development directors want to leave their jobs in the next two years – and many of them want to leave the development profession all together. Join industry experts as they de-bunk common myths about retaining and managing the sector’s most enigmatic talent. During this session, attendees will explore the complex relationship between Board Members, ED’s and development professionals, while offering practical insight on how to ensure your organization is supporting every development staff member in building a long, sane and successful career as a fundraiser. The session agenda will be built live off of your challenges, so come ready to brainstorm and trouble-shoot with your peers. This session is best suited for senior managers who work closely with development professionals and/or development professionals looking to improve their work environment.

Kevin FlynnKevin Flynn is the Vice President of Recruitment and Candidate Services at Commongood Careers. Having served as a search consultant, career advisor, and director of recruiting, Kevin brings a deep understanding of recruiting and hiring both from the organizational and candidate perspective. He has presented on the topic of human capital in the nonprofit sector at universities including MIT, Harvard, Yale, Boston University, and more. He is a founding board member of the Boston Chapter of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) and in 2011 was selected as an Independent Sector American Express NGen Fellow.


Sarah Beaulieu

Sarah Beaulieu is founder of The Enliven Project, a campaign to bring sexual violence out of the closet and lift survivors to their full potential. Sarah has extensive experience in relationship management, strategic partnerships and organizational strategy. Previously, Sarah was the Senior Advisor to the Opportunity Nation campaign, leading on strategic partnerships and developing, supporting and executing the campaign’s key priorities. Prior to that, she was the Vice President for Organizational Strategy and Development at Be the Change, Inc.

Managing Up, Down and Across

Many individuals are promoted into management roles with very little management experience and a lack of management coaching and support. This management training session will provide managers with the tools to effectively motivate, equip and engage teams to leverage their potential and maximize results. Attendees will assess their current management abilities and gain greater self-awareness, in order to become the manager they want to be. In small groups, attendees will be challenged to evolve their coaching, relationship building, and communication skills through a series of relevant role play and scenario-based activities. Attendees will practice effective decision-making and problem-solving to maximize team engagement and collective impact results. This workshop is best suited for those in a entry- or mid-level management role.

Daniel Horgan - CopyDaniel Horgan has 17+ years of experience working in the nonprofit and corporate sectors and is Founder and CEO of D.G. Horgan Group. He launched the America’s Promise affiliate in Pittsburgh as the country’s first youth-led initiative, served on the national board, and was recognized by Ret. General Colin Powell. Daniel was Executive Director of Pittsburgh Cares prior to transitioning to Sr. Director of Community Affairs at Capital One. Before starting his consulting business, Daniel served as Executive Director of generationOn. Daniel has served on the boards of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, the Mentoring Partnership (SWPA), and City Year DC. Daniel is the author of Tell Me I Can’t and I Will.

It’s About Change: Implementing Evaluation and Data Management Systems

Evaluating your programs may sound easy, but it’s not. Implementing evaluation in any organization is, at its heart, an exercise in change management and getting staff buy-in is where success truly lies. In this interactive workshop, participants will work together as they explore the various types of resistance and stumbling blocks they can run into when attempting to create a system of evaluation and learn how to approach evaluation from a change management perspective. Participants will be introduced to a variety of techniques including SIPOCs, Fishbones, and Six Hats that can be used to get everyone working together to measure the impact of your work. This workshop is great for professionals at all levels who evaluate outcomes or impact, are involved with strategic planning initiatives, and/or are involved in any kind of change management initiative.

Terri Bruce - Copy

Terri Bruce is the Director of Resource Development and Evaluation at Lawrence CommunityWorks in Lawrence, MA. She has more than twenty years of experience in human services, including fifteen years experience managing complex change initiatives, handling strategic planning initiatives, and designing and implementing evaluation systems for nonprofits and state agencies.

Stepping Up: Building Your Skills to Succeed a Long Time Leader

Nonprofits are experiencing a significant executive transition, with large numbers of retiring EDs and CEOs. There are leadership gaps to be filled across the sector. But how do you get to be an Executive Director if you haven’t been one before? How do you convince everyone that you can lead? This workshop will provide you with the tools and skills needed to take your career to the next level. Attendees will reflect on their own leadership styles and skills, and assess what they need to move forward. In small, facilitated groups, participants will explore ways to smoothly transition to a leadership role. Prior to the session, attendees will share information about their roles and their organizations that will help shape the session. This workshop is best suited for mid- to upper-level professionals, including deputy directors and program directors, who aspire to move into executive positions.

Ann L SilvermanAnn L. Silverman provides consulting services in organizational and community development. For more than 15 years, she has worked with mission-driven nonprofits, funders, and affordable housing groups on strategic planning, program development, leadership transitions, staff search, program evaluation and training. Prior to becoming a consultant, Ms. Silverman held program management roles at the Boston office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Boston Housing Authority and the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation. She was a founder and the first Executive Director of the Association for Resident Control of Housing.


CEO Roundtable: Multiply Your Impact

Strong commitment. Abiding passion. Deep expertise in your chosen field. All these are the hallmarks of a typical nonprofit executive. But it’s not enough. To make bold changes to our world, you need to inspire others to follow your lead. Don’t let your nonprofit be limited to what you can do individually. Multiply your impact. Make the leap from mission-driven expert to organizational leader. This session will explore the distinctive set of skills and attitudes that comprise nonprofit leadership, with a focus on how to learn while leading. If comfortable, come prepared to get help with a specific leadership dilemma you are facing so the group and instructor can offer recommendations. The goal of this class is to have participants leave with 2-3 tips for honing core nonprofit leadership abilities to surpass your organizational objectives. (Note: Participation is limited to CEOs/EDs.)

Jen StineJen Stine is the COO at Saroga, the nonprofit leadership forum. She helps creative, mission-driven leaders and groups to excel. Her specialty is coaching smart leaders of small and growing organizations who face complex team dynamics, and/or new opportunities for leadership. Her training includes nearly a decade of research and case writing for leadership programs at Harvard Business School. Beyond academia, she has held leadership roles ranging from directing HR/IT for a rapidly growing nonprofit (Root Capital) to guiding wilderness expeditions. Jen earned her B.A. at Williams College and her M.S.Ed at Bank Street College. She owns Mint Chip Studios.