ABN 2018 Leadership Conference


Wednesday, October 31st


The Regas Building, Knoxville, TN




$160 per attendee


$460 per attendee


Send 3+ employees and receive the member rate!


The Alliance for Better Nonprofits 2018 Leadership Conference is designed to equip nonprofit staff, board members, and volunteers with the best practices in leadership, collaboration, and collective impact.

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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 ABN 2019 Design Thinking Conference on May 7th! 

Aligning your company with ABN provides you with access and exposure to our broad community of nonprofit organizations and their executives, staff, board members, and volunteers, as well as our vast network of corporate and individual donors and community partners.

Contact Eddie Crim, Assistant Director of Capacity Building, at (865) 313-2077 or ecrim@betternonprofits.org.

Keynote Speaker


Paul schmitz

Senior Advisor at the Collective Impact Forum and CEO of Leading Inside Out

Paul Schmitz builds the collective leadership of organizations and communities to achieve greater social impact through his roles as senior advisor at the Collective Impact Forum and CEO of Leading Inside Out. He is also the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up, and the former CEO of Public Allies, where he helped more than 5,000 diverse young adults begin careers working for community and social change. Schmitz is a faculty member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, was a social innovation advisor to the Obama White House, and has been named three separate years to The Nonprofit Times list of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in America. He lives in Milwaukee,isconsin with his wife and five children.

Speaker Bios

Session Descriptions


8-8:30am | Registration, Networking Breakfast, and Exhibitor Booths

8:30-9:40am | Welcome and Keynote Presentation: Paul Schmitz

9:50-11:00am | Breakout Session One

  • Design Thinking for Nonprofits John Lacey, UT Office of Communications & Marketing
  • Managing the Executive Transition Lee Freeman, Sertoma Center; Julia Bentley, YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley; and Jacqui Pearl, Koinonia Foundation
  • Putting Data to Work in the Service of Collaboration, Management, and Transformation Dr. David Patterson and Lisa Higginbotham, University of Tennessee SWORPS and KnoxHMIS

11:10am-12:20pm | Breakout Session Two

  • Historic Homes Collaborative: A Case Study Liza Zenni, Arts & Culture Alliance
  • Community Engagement Matters Paul Schmitz, Collective Impact Forum
  • How Do We Create Community Change? John Tolsma, Connect Knox

​12:20-12:40pm | Lunch

12:40-1:45pm | Heartache to Healing: Reflecting on Nonprofit Collaboration with the Gatlinburg Fires (Panel) Walter Crouch, Appalachia Service Project; Jim Fetzer, East Tennessee VOAD; Frank Rothermel, Volunteer East Tennessee (Moderator); Jerry Wear, Rotary; Ellen Wilhoit, Leadership Sevier

1:55-3:05pm | Breakout Session Three

  • Engaging Churches in Your Mission Grant Standefer, Compassion Coalition
  • Creating Meaningful Partnerships Rhoni Basden, Girls Inc. of TN Valley
  • Making Nice and Making Money: Finding Success in Collaborative Fundraising Freddi Birdwell, CFRE and Kim Lauth, CFRE, Association of Fundraising Professionals

3:15-4:15pm | A Guide to Dangerous Listening: Highlander’s Methodologies for Social Change Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele​, Highlander Research and Education Center