2017 ABN Board Excellence Conference

Tuesday, May 2 | 7:30am-4:30pm


The 2nd Annual Alliance for Better Nonprofits 2017 Board Excellence Conference is designed to equip nonprofit board members, executive directors, and staff with best practices in board governance and modern thinking for effective operations.

This one-day event features national speakers, best-in-class workshop facilitators, expert panelists, networking opportunities, mini consulting sessions, and more! Attendees will leave inspired and equipped to make a real difference in how boards engage with their organizations to create greater mission impact.


ABN Member: $185 per attendee 

Non-Member: $485 per attendee 

*Includes breakfast & lunch, workshops, presentations and networking events

Corporate Package: Send 3+ employees and receive the member rate!


About the Conference

This year’s Board Excellence Conference has programming to benefit just about everyone involved with your nonprofit. You may choose to attend sessions exclusively from one of the tracks, or you may decide to create your own program selecting from the wide variety of sessions. 

Who should attend?

  • Executive Directors / CEOs
  • Board Members / Volunteer Leaders
  • Grantmakers and Funders
  • Finance Directors / CFOs
  • Operation Managers / COOs
  • Human Resource Directors
  • Fundraising Professionals
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Consultants and Businesses that work with nonprofits
  • Managers and Program Staff
  • Students and Interns

Download the Conference Flyer


Sponsorship Opportunities

Are you a business owner? Make a name for yourself in the nonprofit community by promoting and showcasing your business to nonprofit leaders at the 2017 ABN Board Excellence Conference! 

Download the Sponsor Registration Packet

Keynote Speaker


Jim Schwarz, Senior Governance Consultant with BoardSource, is a nonprofit expert who works with nonprofits and associations to build high-performing boards through governance, group effectiveness, meeting dynamics, board development, team building, and strategic thinking. He has worked with a variety of organizations, including Achieve, CCIM Institute, the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits, Ford JSchwarzHiResolution.gifFoundation, International Code Council, and the LPGA. Jim is also a regular speaker at the BoardSource Leadership Forum.

In addition to his work with BoardSource, Jim is founder and president of Compass Development & Governance Group, Inc., a consulting and training company serving for-profit businesses, mostly Fortune 500 companies.

See the Schedule of Events


2017 Breakout Sessions Include:


  • To Grow or Not to Grow - Laurens Tullock, Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville
  • Board Advocacy - Hugh Nystrom, Webb School of Knoxville
  • Evaluating Your Executive Director - Kim Lauth, ABN Expert Trainer & Consultant


  • Moving from Overhead to Impact (Panel) - Jim Dickson, YMCA; Larsen Jay, Random Acts of Flowers; Ginny Weatherstone, Volunteer Ministry Center (Retired)
  • Boards on Fire: Unleashing Board Talent - Jack Bender, ABN Expert Trainer & Consultant
  • Crafting a Culture of Integrity - Dr. Chuck Carringer, ABN Expert Trainer & Consultant


  • What Motivates People? - Chris Crouch, ABN Expert Trainer & Consultant
  • Developing Influence With Your Board - Grant Standefer and Jessica Bocangel, Compassion Coalition
  • Effective Board Committees & Group Dynamics - Carlton Long, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital


Highlights from the 2016 ABN Board Excellence Conference


The Alliance for Better Nonprofits' 1st Annual Board Excellence Conference sold out, with 95 board members, executive directors, and nonprofit staff in attendance.

The conference, held on May 3, 2016, focused on strengthening nonprofit leadership at the board level and saw 43 board members attend from various East Tennessee nonprofits. With four educational sessions each for executive directors, board members, and nonprofit staff, networking opportunities, and consulting time with experts, the conference served as a resource to connect nonprofit board members and staff with best practices.

Breakout sessions included how to manage the strategic planning process, why diversity on a nonprofit board is important, and how to best collaborate to create a lasting impact. Each session was aimed at providing nonprofit members with the tools they need to help make lasting change in the East Tennessee region and in their communities.

Dr. Robin Stacia was the keynote presenter, and is a nationally-recognized Standards for Excellence® licensed consultant and Principal of Sage Consulting Network based in Atlanta. Other presenters included Brad Gray (Center for Nonprofit Management, Nashville), Tommy Smith (Ackermann PR), and Dr. Alex Miller (UT Haslam College of Business).