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 will offer its second Board Leadership Institute in the spring of 2016. In partnership with Youth Services, United Way of Windham County, and SEVEDS, we will also offer 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. 

“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 2016 series will begin on Saturday, March 3, 2016. 

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

In May 2016, in conjunction with community partners, Marlboro College will host the second annual Get On Board Windham County: Meet Your Match, a board-matching event that allows nonprofit boards to connect with community members interested in joining boards. 

Board Leadership Institute schedule

Workshop Dates

Tuesday, March 1

  • 5:30-7:30pm | Introduction to Boards (Fellows only)

Saturday, March 5

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

Tuesday, March 8

  • 5:30-8:30pm | Workshop topic TBD

Tuesday, March 15

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

Tuesday, March 22

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

Saturday, April 2

  • 9:30am-3:30pm | Fundraising with Andy Robinson (Board Teams, full series participants and Fellows only)

Tuesday, April 5

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

Tuesday, April 12

  • 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 | Workshop topic TBD

Tuesday, April 26

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

Friday, April 29

  • 5:00-7:00pm | Board Matching Event (open to the public)

Request further information 


David Grant • Board Leadership Institute, Core CNL Consultant, Nonprofit Management Certificate

  • Work: Principal, Grant Associates
  • Education: A.B. in English, Princeton University; M.A. in American Studies, University of Michigan.

David Grant is the former president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown, New Jersey. 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.

Joe Heslin • Board Leadership Institute, Core CNL Consultant, Nonprofit Management Certificate

  • Work: Principal, Joe Heslin Strategies; Communication Strategist, New Ground Creative
  • Education: MS in Management, Marlboro College; BS in Sociology, James Madison University

Joe works with organizations and social entrepreneurs to build and extend their mission, values and vision. The created messaging is always grounded in the three keys: engaging, dynamic and true. "Engaging" meaning that it's based in a compelling narrative that helps the audience create logic and emotion around the organization's message. "Dynamic" meaning that the messaging should move the audience toward specific actions and understandings. "True" meaning that people are looking for honesty and transparency in their organizational interactions. Most of his work is in education and nonprofits and, prior to his current work, he was the director of graduate admissions at Marlboro College where he built this authentic messaging approach. Joe is not nearly as self-aggrandizing as this bio might lead you to believe.

Greg Hessel • Board Leadership Institute, Core CNL Consultant, Nonprofit Management Certificate

  • Work: Organizational consulting as Principal of ReGeneration Resources
  • Education: Master’s in Organizational Development, American University; Certificate in Mediation, Woodbury College, BS, St. John’s University (MN)

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. Greg’s clients tend to come from the public and nonprofit sectors, and his work with them includes leading change initiatives, managing conflict, building teams, soft skills trainings, facilitating strategic planning, redesigning structures, and improving communication.

Greg directed Cheshire Mediation in Keene, New Hampshire, for 10 years before founding ReGeneration Resources in 2007. Prior to working for Cheshire Mediation, Greg spent time working in Bosnia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, and while in Nicaragua he was part of a team that successfully negotiated the release of a kidnapped member of the Italian clergy.

Julie McNeal • Board Leadership Institute, Nonprofit Management Certificate

  • Work: Director of Finance and Operations, Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Education: Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Eastern Connecticut State University

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. Julie is the primary liaison with the IRS and Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Julie manages a staff of five, doing her best to give them tools to do their best work.

Julie is a 2012 graduate of the Certificate in Nonprofit Management. In 2009, Julie was appointed by Connecticut Governor Rell to a task force tackling the state’s other post-employment benefits shortfall. In 2012, she was a member of the Connecticut Governor Molloy’s Business Tax Policy Review Task Force, appointed to broadly review the state’s business tax environment. In her spare time, Julie is working on her master’s degree in managing mission-driven organizations.

Andy Robinson • Board Leadership Institute, Core CNL Consultant, Nonprofit Management Certificate

Andy provides training and consulting for nonprofits in fundraising, grant-seeking, board development, marketing earned income, planning, leadership development, and facilitation. Over the past fifteen years, Andy has worked with organizations in 47 US states and Canada. He specializes in the needs of groups working for human rights, social justice, environmental conservation, historic preservation, and community development.

Andy is the author of several books. His most recent, Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money, contains everything you need to conduct 51 easy-to-use fundraising exercises. How to Raise $500 to $5000 From Almost Anyone, is designed for small groups with limited experience doing major gifts campaigns. Selling Social Change (Without Selling Out) features the work of two dozen progressive organizations that create and sell goods and services to support and extend their missions. Big Gifts for Small Groups, Grassroots Grants and Great Boards for Small Groups are classic guides for smaller nonprofits. Andy is also a frequent contributor to Grassroots Fundraising Journal, a publication focused on the connection between fundraising, social justice and movement-building.

When he’s not on the road, Andy lives in Plainfield, Vermont with his spouse, a woodlot filled with wildlife, and a garden that is completely out of control.