Nonprofit organizations can only be as strong as their volunteer boards. Marlboro College is committed to the growth and development of nonprofit boards and their members. By popular demand, Marlboro offered its first Board Leadership Institute in the spring of 2015. In partnership with Youth Services, United Way of Windham County, and SEVEDS, we also offered Get on Board Windham County a popular program for young professionals thinking about board service. These programs combine to provide skills development and networking opportunities for trustees serving nonprofits of all sizes, while also helping young professionals begin their work as the next generation of nonprofit board members. Check back here in October for dates and applications for the 2016 program.

“I learned that boards have a real purpose…board membership is a serious responsibility and provides a chance to contribute meaningful to the organization and the community at large.”

– 2015 Board Leadership Participant

Board Leadership Institute

The Board Leadership Institute is a collection of workshops that, taken together, introduce board members to the most important knowledge and skills for successful board service. We frequently hear from boards who want help transforming their organizational culture, or that need assistance being effective leaders and champions for the nonprofits they serve. For greatest impact on a board as a whole, we highly recommend that a board sign up for the full series as a board team, and have steeply discounted this option to make it as affordable as possible. There are also ticket options for individual sitting board members who wish to complete the series, and for those who want to attend only a subset of the workshops. The workshops have concluded for 2015, but stay tuned for the next series. 

Get On Board Fellows Program

"In a place like Vermont where the population tends to skew to the older end of things and especially with regard to board service, it can be difficult for excited and well-qualified young folks to break in to an organization's board. It serves the organizations, youth of the community, and the boards themselves to have new perspectives and people on the board. I would not have served on a board without this program. Both myself and my organization are better for it." – 2012-13 Fellow 

Windham County has a lot of nonprofits and many boards are looking for new members. Get On Board gives Windham County residents, age 22-44, the opportunity to build leadership skills and their personal and professional network while serving our community. Fellows attend the Board Leadership Institute retreat, workshops and personal leadership development sessions for $100-200, sliding scale, which is less than half the full cost. Through these events, Fellows will build relationships with each other, and with members of local nonprofit boards. Fellows will also receive extra recognition during the Board Matching Event, which will help them make connections with nonprofit boards that match their interests and passions.

Meet Your Match Event

On Thursday, May 14, 2015, in conjunction with community partners, Marlboro College hosted Get On Board Windham County: Meet Your Match, a board-matching event that allowed nonprofit boards to connect with community members interested in joining boards. This high-energy event will be repeated next spring.

Board Leadership Institute schedule

Workshop Dates

Saturday, March 7

  • 9:30am-3:30pm | Opening Retreat - Organizational Life Cycle and Assessment (Board Teams, full series participants and Fellows only)

Thursday, March 12

  • 5:30-8:30pm | Board Roles and Responsibilities 

Thursday, March 19

  • 5:30-6:30pm | Board Round Table for Board Teams and full series participants only
  • 6:30-8:30pm | Fiscal Responsibility and Fraud Protection Workshop

Thursday, March 26

  • 5:30-6:30pm | Personal Leadership Development 5:30-6:30 for Fellows only
  • 6:30-8:30pm | Board Development Workshop

Thursday, April 2

  • 5:30-6:30pm | Board Round Table for Board Teams and full series participants only
  • 6:30-8:30pm | Conflict Resolution Workshop

Thursday, April 9

  • 5:30-6:30pm | Personal Leadership Development 5:30-6:30 for Fellows only
  • 6:30-8:30pm | Telling Your Story Workshop

Thursday, April 16

  • 5:30-6:30pm | Personal Leadership Development 5:30-6:30 for Fellows only AND Board Round Table for Board Teams and full series participants only
  • 6:30-8:30pm | Fundraising and Friend Raising

Thursday, April 30

  • 6:00-8:00pm | Closing Event for Board Teams, full series participants and Fellows only

Thursday, May 14

  • 5:30-8:30pm | Board Matching Event (open to the public)

 Register Now


Board Leadership INstitute Trainers


Ariel Brooks


Work: Director of Non Degree Programs, Marlboro College

Education: M.Ed. in Instructional Design, UMass Boston; B.A. in Sociology, Harvard College

Workshop: Board Development

Ariel Brooks specializes in educational and nonprofit program design, implementation and evaluation, as well as training design and delivery. Ariel has been involved in the nonprofit sector for most of her professional life, and is currently the chair of the SeVEDS (Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies) board.

David Grant

Work: Principal, Grant Associates

Education: A.B. in English, Princeton University; M.A. in American Studies, University of Michigan.

Workshop: Organizational Life Cycle and Assessment

David Grant is the former President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown, N.J. Earlier in his career, he and his wife Nancy co-founded and co-directed The Mountain School in Vershire Vermont, a semester-long interdisciplinary environmental studies program for high school juniors. Back in Vermont now, the Grants consult with mission-driven organizations to help them achieve success.

Greg Hessel

Work: Organizational consulting as Principal of ReGeneration Resources

Education: Master’s in Organizational Development, American University; Certificate in Mediation, Woodbury College, B.S., St. John’s University (MN)

Workshop: Conflict Resolution

Greg Hessel is a trainer, facilitator, and consultant who works with clients throughout New England. The essence of Greg’s work is helping people, teams and organizations to get unstuck, and then working with them to keep them from getting stuck as they move forward. His work with nonprofit boards includes helping them lead change initiatives, manage conflict, facilitate strategic planning and improve communication.

Joe Heslin

Work: Principal, Joe Heslin Strategies; Communication Strategist, New Ground Creative

Education: M.S. in Management, Marlboro College; B.S. in Sociology, James Madison University

Workshop: Telling Your Story

Joe Heslin works with nonprofits, schools and social entrepreneurs to build and extend their mission, values and vision. Much of his work in the nonprofit sector has involved bridging the staff/board gap to find common, compelling messaging for internal and external stakeholders.

Ellen Koenig

Ellen Koenig.jpg

Work: Senior Consultant, Full Circle Consulting

Education: M.Ed. in Education, Northeastern University; B.A. in Education, University of Vermont

Workshop: Overview of Board Roles and Responsibilities

Ellen Koenig is a senior consultant for Full Circle Consulting. Her background includes managing high profile statewide projects for New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, designing effective learning approaches for boards and nonprofits, working with grantees and donors and building key relationships. Ellen has been involved with the nonprofit sector for over 30 years. She frequently designs retreats for boards and other working groups, and trains on effective board governance.

Betsy McNamara

Betsy TJP_2459.jpg

Work: Principal and Senior Consultant, Full Circle Consulting

Education: BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Workshop: Fundraising and Friendraising

Betsy McNamara is a Full Circle Principal and Senior Consultant who has been fundraising for nonprofit organizations since 1988. Betsy counsels non-profit organizations on how to raise money for programs or capital campaigns from individuals, businesses, religious organizations, civic groups, foundations and government grants.

Julie McNeal


Work: Director of Finance and Operations, Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants

Education: B.S. in Business Administration, Eastern Connecticut State University

Workshop: Fiscal Responsibility & Fraud Protection

Julie McNeal, CPA, serves as the director of finance and operations for the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants. She is responsible for oversight of all aspects of the organization’s finances and human resources including budgeting, monthly financial results and forecasts, 990 tax reporting, payroll, and benefits.