NLN37: How to Build an Outstanding Board Through Mentoring & Staff Involvement with Lisa Woll

In our podcast discussion this week, we are chatting with , CEO of The Forum for
Sustainable and Responsible Investment and the . We discuss topics relating to building an effective board by doing such things as changing how you evaluate your candidates, changing bylaws as needed, and methods for developing good board members including helping them build self confidence.

Lisa has been the CEO of the and the Foundation since 2006, and has been responsible for strategic planning, developing a robust policy presence, expansion and diversification of funding, launching their national conference and creating the Center for Sustainable Investment Education. US SIF is the leading organization advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing.

Prior to US SIF, Lisa was the executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization focused on press freedom and expansion of women’ s roles in the media. During her tenure, the IWMF played a significant role in re-orienting the way journalism training was carried out on the issues of HIV-AIDS, malaria and TB in several African media organizations. Lisa also spent a decade working on children’ s human rights. She was the director of the first international study to look at the impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and directed the Washington, DC office of Save the Children. Lisa’s early career focused on domestic social policy and began in the New York City Human Resources Administration as an Urban Fellow and the U.S. Congress as a legislative assistant.

Lisa is the founder of Suited for Change, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that provides professional clothing and ongoing career education to low-income women. She was a founding board member and former president of the board of The Women’s Alliance, a national membership organization of community organizations that increase the employability of low-income women. She was also Board President of Women’ s Voices for the Earth, a national environmental health organization based in Montana. She has written and spoken widely on human rights and development, as well as leadership. She is a board member of the Children’s Environmental Health Network and the founder, along with her teenage son, of Advantage Ethiopia: Kids’ Tennis and Education Initiative.

In 2001, Lisa was named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine in recognition of her pioneering role with Suited for Change. She has received numerous other awards and has volunteered on other nonprofit boards and commissions. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois and a master’ s degree in public policy and women’s studies from George Washington University.

The key points covered in this podcast discussion are:

  • Adding Board Members – Expertise vs. Proven Traits
  • The Crucial Role of a Board Chair
  • Changing the Bylaws to Better Meet Current Needs of the Organization
  • Building the Board as a Partnership Between Board and Staff
  • Ways to Develop Good Board Members (and Build Self-Confidence)
  • Trust Your Gut

Click here to view the transcript.

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