Track: Organizational Excellence

Target Audience: Chief Executives and Board Members Only

Using the game show format from Family Feud, this presentation will engage participants (board members and executives) in learning about, discussing, and developing strategies based upon the results from two national surveys of nonprofit board officers. The surveys reveal officers’ thoughts related to how they came to be in their positions, what each perceives regarding their roles and relationships, and what, if any, preparation has been helpful to them. In addition, the session will dig into the survey results focused on diversity and shared leadership. Participants will obtain a working knowledge of the survey results to develop ideas on what they might do differently in their positions given the information provided.

Learning Objectives:

  • Officer roles and responsibilities
  • Preparation
  • Succession planning
  • Board diversity


  • Michael Burns, partner, BWB Solutions

Michael Burns
BWB Solutions

Michael Burns began his career as an executive director of a community health center, followed by 15 years as an executive director and primary consultant for a nonprofit capacity building organization. During this time, he was also an associate professor of management at the Antioch-New England Graduate Schools of Organization and Management and Environmental Studies. 

In 1994, Burns joined BWB Solutions. His practice focuses on strategic and revenue generating planning, nonprofit governance, and helping nonprofits assess their readiness for mergers and partnerships. He regularly posts to his blog, Nonprofit Board Crisis, where he focuses on nonprofit governance issues. As part of a research team, he recently completed a national survey on the roles and relationships of nonprofit board chairs.

In addition to his professional work as an organizational development and planning consultant, Burns operates an organic farm growing asparagus, raspberries, garlic, strawberries and tomatoes. Burns has been a professional foster parent for nearly 20 years.

Burns graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration from Marquette University and completed a master’s in nonprofit management with a focus on governance at Lesley College. He also holds a graduate certificate in nonprofit marketing management from the University of Hartford.