Speakers & Breakout Sessions

Keynote Speaker

Jesica Averhart


We're excited to announce that our 2018 keynote speaker will be Jes Averhart, Executive Director of Leadership Triangle.

Before taking the helm at Leadership Triangle, Jes served as the Director of Corporate Partnerships for Capitol Broadcasting, where she worked with American Underground (a world-renowned Google tech hub) and American Tobacco, a nationally acclaimed and world-class destination for everything from business to baseball. Over the last 5 years, Jes has bridged relationships between the good work taking place within the community (both public and private) and the ideation taking place daily between companies, managing partnership relationships for Google, Google Fiber, Wells Fargo, Audi, Lenovo, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, and others.

Prior to her work with Leadership Triangle and Capitol Broadcasting, Jesica founded a boutique event production company specializing in providing professional event management services for organizations such as the Cincinnati Bengals & Cleveland Browns (NFL), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), The Procter & Gamble Company, Del Monte, as well as a growing number of companies based in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park.

Jes is active on the Boards of Youth Villages (Chair), Prevent Child Abuse NC (Chair), Nasher Friends Board, Carolina Theatre, United Way of the Triangle, and YMCA of Greater Durham.

Learn more about our keynote speaker at the #NonprofitSTRONG Summit on May 18!

Breakout Sessions

Effective Communication

Networking: The Only Path To Your Dream Job

Presenter: Nell Derick Debevoise - Founder and CEO, Inspiring Capital - @nelldd

Over 80% of jobs are gotten through personal connections. Especially in the social impact sector, there's no better way to find your next best role (or partner or funder!) than by building relationships. I'll share the research and philosophy behind networking as a Giver, in Adam Grant's language, and the specific strategies and tactics that YNPN members can use to network. The session will be interactive so that participants come away with concrete learnings they'll remember and use.

Using Data and Visual Communications to Create a Bigger Impact in the Nonprofit Field

Presenter: Stefani Zimmerman Drake - Founder + Lead Strategist, Drake Strategies - @stefzimmerman

Visual communication and storytelling is important for a nonprofit to amplify its message, report to donors, improve fundraising efforts, provide learning to other nonprofits and to create an innovative solution to the problem at hand. In this panel discussion, the importance of intersecting data with powerful visuals to move an audience from empathy to action will be discussed. Our panelists will use real life examples to demonstrate the power of stories in ordinary reporting, communications and advocacy, as well as work with the audience to think through how they can better tell their story as an organization. This expert panel will share examples from nonprofits around the world and give real life applications for any nonprofit to improve their ability to use communication as a tool for expanding ones impact.

Communicating Through Change: Strategies for Change Management

Presenters: Mae Beale – Owner, Beale Street Software & Meredith Richard - Executive Director, Musical Empowerment

Planning to scale? Reworking your mission statement? Need an org chart reorg? Implementing a new software? Trying to persuade your board to approve an unforeseen budgetary need? Change is a part of working at any thriving nonprofit, and these are just a few scenarios where strategic communication must be built into your Change Management approach. Hear about (and share) some lessons learned for effectively communicating change at this session, and leave with a list of proven strategies for success.

Asking for a Raise: Salary Negotiation Strategies for Nonprofit Professionals

Presenter: Valerie Arendt - Associate Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter - @vlarendt

Nonprofit organizations recognize that their effectiveness and ability to meet their mission is dependent upon the quality of their staff. They cannot rely on finding qualified people who are willing to work for less than market rate salaries. This session will discuss steps to negotiate salary and benefits during the job offer and how to advocate for a promotion or raise. Successful negotiation is knowing how to effectively communicate and market your value and worth to the organization.

Leadership Development

Lead without Authority

Presenter: Durell Petway – Club Director, Raleigh Boys Club                  

Are you an individual who cares about your entire organization? Learn how to lead others who don’t report to you by influencing your boss, your peers, clients and other partners. Build effective relationships and create teams that will make your job easier.

What does it take to make a difference?

Presenter: Libby Richards – Senior Community Programs Officer, The Triangle Community Foundation - @libbylrichards

What do you need to be successful as a young nonprofit professional? What support systems are needed to allow diverse and engaged leaders to emerge in the nonprofit sector?  Attendees are led through an interactive exercise to dig deeper into the YNPN competency model and reflect on what they need to be successful, why, and where to find help to build their skills.   

Pathway of a Volunteer: Going Beyond One-Time Volunteers

Presenter: Megan Gambino, Co-Creator, Reconfigure                     

Are your volunteers running on empty? Is your board of directors uninterested? This session will teach you how to move beyond recruiting volunteers to unleashing their hidden talents and creating ownership.

Leading Change: Managing Staff Engagement

Presenter: Larry Lieberman – Chief Operating Officer, Charity Navigator - @liebermanlarry          

Charity Navigator is comprised of an adaptable, flexible, and innovative group that continues to improve internal processes to make an impact on the nonprofit sector as a whole. The most important aspect of growing and maintaining a nonprofit is a team that is motivated and excited about their work they are doing to change the world. Discover sector-wide best practices that encourages nonprofits to meaningfully develop internal structure to promote an environment of innovation and growth.

Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most utilized nonprofit evaluator, has guided America’s donors for the past fifteen years to give intelligently.  We are in the process of transformative change within our organization to reach our new strategic objective to further provide tools, techniques and more information to the philanthropic sector. As our organization has first-hand experience, the launch of a strategic plan can be exciting for an organization. However, changing organizational initiatives and structures can lead to stress for staff if not managed properly. Larry Lieberman, Chief Operating Officer at Charity Navigator, will share tips on generating staff-wide engagement and excitement with strategic planning process and the insight he gained through helping Charity Navigator staff embrace their new strategic plan.

Personal Management

Where, How and Why are You Showing Up? | Strategies for Getting Grounded in Self-Awareness

Presenter: Lisa Grele Barrie – Founder, Grounded_LGB LLC - @LGBgrounded

Starting with the assertion that "80% of life is showing up," this session will engage participants in a deep exploration into the "where," the "how" and the "why" of showing up in their daily lives. It will offer insights, interactive exercises and strategies for participants in transition or those who are ready to make changes in their personal and professional lives from a position of greater grounding and purpose.

The Unapologetic Introvert (Sorry, Not Sorry)

Presenter: Krystina Dillard - Training Coordinator/Grant Manager, North Carolina Community Action Association - @PurpleSunflowr           

Dear introvert, are you maximizing your strengths in the workplace? Join this session to explore the strengths of introversion, ideal nonprofit careers, and communication strategies for introverts. We’ll consider ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone to reach your full potential! As nonprofits work to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, your skills as an introverted leader are critically needed. It is time to unleash your introvert power…unapologetically!

Beyond the Buzz Words: The Daily Practice of Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness

Presenter: Alexa Broderick – Founder, The Equity Paradigm - @mrs_broderickk

While the majority of nonprofit organizations state 'diversity' as a core value and  primarily serve communities of color, the seats at the decision-making tables across the sector do not reflect the widespread rhetoric around valuing diverse perspectives and creating inclusive organizational cultures. White people lead 95% of philanthropic organizations, make up 93% of nonprofit chief executives, 82% of nonprofit employees, and 92% of nonprofit board members. Despite the stance on pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion that most organizations are taking these days, these statistics have barely budged in the last two decades. In this session, we will break down the rhetoric and define what diversity, equity and inclusiveness looks like as a set of commitments, priorities, mindsets, and behaviors. We will get to the root cause behind the lack of diversity in our sector, and interrogate the subsequent challenges it creates in pursuing equity and inclusiveness. Participants will leave with shared language around DEI work, in addition to resources and strategies for bringing these concepts to life in their day to day work and relationships.

Decentering White Dominant Culture in our Work

Presenter: Courtney Parker West - Director, Alumni Impact - Racial Equity & Values-based Leadership, Teach for America - Eastern NC     

This session is for those who are eager to dive more deeply into the exploration of how elements of white dominant culture live in their individual work and their organization more broadly. Participants will first spend time defining aspects of white dominant culture before engaging in activities to explore how they might adopt an alternative mode of being. Because white dominant culture is often the default operating mode for many well-meaning organizations, this session is for anyone (those who identify as white and those who identify as people of color) who seek to understand and actively disrupt patterns of behavior in their own work for the purpose of doing engaging in collective action more inclusively.

Technical Skills

Avoiding the Technology Mistakes of Other Nonprofits

Presenter: Randy Baker - Founder, Green Skies Technology, LLC - @greenskiestech

In this session, we will go through the most common mistakes that Nonprofit organizations make when it comes to technology, and how to avoid them. There will be a Q&A session at the end as well.         

Creative Crowdfunding

Presenter: Rebekah Miel - Creative Director, Miel Design Studio - @rebekahmiel

Rebekah Miel recently launched a campaign to pay down Durham Public School's lunch debt. The campaign went viral overnight. It was sponsored by over 50 local businesses + raised $65,000 in just over a month. Learn how she used her skills as a designer and marketer to move the campaign forward.

Make Excel Your BFF: Learn 5 Excel Secrets That Will Make Grant Maker Reports & Annual Impact Reports a Breeze

Presenters: DeLisa Lee – CEO, DJL Training @djltraining & Neesha Mirchandani – CEO, Impact Stars @neeshamirchi

Work smarter, not harder when it comes to analyzing your nonprofit's data. DeLisa Lee is a skilled Excel expert who has deep experience training nonprofit executives, small business owners, government employees, and large corporate teams. She will teach you Excel skills that shave hours off the time it takes to prepare grant reports and impact reports. She will also give you the tips and tricks that make you love Excel, and see it as a BFF (I know, sounds crazy!). Submit Your Annual Report or Grant Report to be invited for a Live “Hot Seat” where Neesha will brainstorm data strategies that make your nonprofit’s impact story more compelling.

All Others Bring Data

Presenter: Vanessa Kopp - Data and Evaluation Specialist, Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness                               

In the non-profit world, data is the bread and butter of decision making. From evaluating outcomes to advocating for change, it all comes down to one thing: What does the data say? At this session, we will discuss how to make data, big and small, approachable and digestible for a range of audiences, whether its government officials, private sector donors, or fellow non-profit community partners.