Nine Central Louisiana leaders graduated October 20 from Cenla Boardbuilders, a leadership development program for emerging leaders to become active as members of local nonprofit boards.
Through Cenla Boardbuilders, a program of Community Development Works and The Rapides Foundation, participants are trained through a series of sessions on the roles and responsibilities of an effective board member. Two learning tracks are available: Track I, for newly seated board members with limited service experience who are seeking training only; and Track II, for individuals with no previous board service who are seeking training and help to connect with local nonprofits.
During the graduation ceremony, Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation, told the group that the Foundation is pleased to support nonprofit capacity and strength in Central Louisiana. "We think it's absolutely necessary that nonprofits have board members that are trained, know what their role is as board members, and have the skills to contribute to the board," he said. "The Foundation's trustees and staff are exceedingly proud of the Cenla Boardbuilders Program."
One of the graduates, Melissa McKinney, who is a Behavior Strategist and Social Worker with the Rapides Parish School Board, was asked to reflect on the participant experience on behalf of all of the 2017 graduates. McKinney described how the Cenla Boardbuilders sessions educated participants about service on a nonprofit board. "I now understand the importance of board service and the work it takes to lead an organization," McKinney explained. "I understand terms like fiduciary responsibility and fundraising. I understand the different ways that board members will experience conflict and the positive ways to be able to deal with that conflict and come to resolution so the agency and the people you serve can prosper. And so the apprehension I once felt about serving in this capacity has melted away with every Cenla Boardbuilders session."
Cenla Boardbuilders graduate Melissa McKinney shared remarks about the participant experience on behalf of the graduating class.
The 2017 program graduates join a group of 193 Cenla Boardbuilders alumni. Rosier also pointed out how the network of alumni can positively impact their communities. "This growing cohort of trained leaders will make Central Louisiana a better place," he said. "Nonprofits are often called the third sector because they step in and fill the gaps where government and business can't or won't go. We challenge you to take the personal management and governance skills you've learned and find that place of service that fits your interest and will benefit from your nonprofit board service."
The following graduates completed the 2017 Cenla Boardbuilders Program:
Track I: Currently serving on a board
• Rodney McNeal, Community Employment Coordinator, Department of Veterans Affairs; Nonprofit Partner: Renaissance Home for Youth
• Allison Tohme, Farmers Market Program Developer, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance; Nonprofit Partner: Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance
Track II: Seeking board service
• Wiletha Brown, Branch Manager, Woodforest National Bank
• Rachelle Fruge, Director of Human Resources, Allen Parish Hospital Service District #3
• Judith Geystan, MRTT/Clerical/Dispatcher, St. Mary’s Training School
• Katherine Hayes, City Clerk, City of Pineville
• Rhonda Johnson, Researcher/Transcriptionist/Adjunct Instructor, Chess Research LLC
• Melissa McKinney, LMSW, Behavior Strategist/Social Worker, Rapides Parish School Board
• Lakeitha Williams, Counselor
Employer partners participate in the program by allowing their employee time off during work hours to attend training sessions and board meetings. Nonprofit partners connect with Cenla Boardbuilders graduates to offer board service opportunities.
To learn full details about Cenla Boardbuilders or participate in the 2018 program, call CDW at 318-443-7880 or toll free at 1-800-803-8075. Community Development Works is a program of The Rapides Foundation.