Past Summit Highlights

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2023 Building a Culture of Collaboration: What the Most Influential Do Differently

Everyone has their own personal motivation, but successful collaboration – whether at the individual, team, or organizational level – sparks creative problem solving and powers value creation. On May 11th, the Nonprofit Summit gathered at New Spire Arts to break down the why, what and how of collaboration in the workplace and navigating those interpersonal relationships!

The morning started with a keynote presentation by Garrison Wynn. His talents had established him as a Fortune 500 leader and professional stand-up comedian, Garrison fused comic timing and research to deliver motivational expertise. Then, the afternoon included an interactive workshop led by Wendy Wolff, Patty Prasada-Rao, Darryus Johnson, and Nyah Vanterpool. Sessions included discussions of personal relationship styles; the art of recognizing different leadership styles and the impetus for each; behaviors and approaches for working with partners, colleagues, and constituents; teambuilding; relationship/conflict management; and effectively piloting in the intergenerational workplace.

Over lunch, the 2023 Nonprofit Summit hosted the Touching Lives Award Ceremony for the first time. Check out the award ceremony video here.

Reminisce about the day and visit a photo gallery here!

Lunch at ThorpeWood Lodge

2022 Balance in Leadership: Creating Sustainable Habits So You Don’t Burnout

The Frederick Nonprofit Summit Committee offered local organizations an opportunity to connect, learn, and heal. On November 2, 2022, we invite members of Frederick organizations to attend a gathering at beautiful and tranquil ThorpeWood Lodge, located in Thurmont, Maryland. Keynote speaker, Kyla Cofer, shared her message of living a balanced life – one that prioritizes true connection and values the importance of saying “no” in interest of self-care.

In the afternoon, participants were invited to participate in a variety of optional rejuvenating activities including: Hiking, Forest Bathing, Yoga, Fly Fishing, and Zentangle Art.

A special thanks to several nonprofits for donating your time to provide afternoon activities including Each 1 Teach 1, the Potomac Valley Fly Fishers, ThorpeWood Lodge, the Umbrella Project, and Robin Hudspeth who provided Zentangle Art.

Visit a photo gallery from the day here!


The 2022 Nonprofit Summit was our first in-person Summit for two years! It was a pleasure uniting with everyone again!

Dr. LaKeisha Cook of Courageous Conversation gave a thrilling and inspiring keynote presentation. She called on the group to reflect on how bias presents itself, how to ready ourselves and engage with the challenging work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and called all audience members to act. The pursuit of racial equity has been present in LaKeisha’s work in the nonprofit sector and advocacy field. Her commitment led her to advocate with a group of social-justice-minded individuals in Virginia against capital punishment. This work was successful and resulted in Virginia being the first state of the south to end capital punishment. Her work continues as she serves as on the executive board of Interfaith Power in Light to challenge environmental and social injustices.

Accompanying the inspiring words of LaKeisha was the advice of the panelists: Dr. Denise Rollins, Dr. Kantahyanee Murray, Tara Taylor, Jose Dominguez, and Noah Smock. An arrange of clever and innovative ideas were mentioned by this group including leaving an open chair at every meeting to represent those that are not at the table. Another encouragement was to embrace the challenge and the uncomfortably situations – it shows that you are growing and changing. And did someone just use an inappropriate term or phrase? Challenge this individuals perspective with thought-provoking questions and by trying to understand. Small things like these are what can be done every day to continually break down barriers and support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The panelists and keynote of the day left everyone feeling energized and ready to tackle uncomfortable conversations. The Nonprofit Summit committee hopes that this day will inspire you to continue these conversations and engage more with this work at your own institutions!

Dr. LaKeisha Cook, Keynote Speaker from Courageous Conversation

Panelists from the 2022 Nonprofit Summit

Vu Le, Keynote Speaker & Founder of Nonprofit AF

Panelists from the 2021 Nonprofit Summit


After postponing the 2020 Nonprofit Summit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summit transitioned to a virtual format in 2021. The virtual nature of the event did not deter guests as many nonprofit leaders, staff members, volunteers, current and potential board members joined for the days activities.

Vu Le, a nationally recognized speaker and blogger, joined for the morning as the keynote speaker. He is the former executive director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice, and is the founder of Nonprofit AF. His book Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships, also written by Jessamyn Shams-Lau and Jane Leu, was given to the summit participants. Then an optional session was provided during the day where participants were able to join a book club discussion. His book and blog brutally examine the joys and frustrations of the nonprofit sector, challenges established norms and provokes discussions. Vu’s passion is to make the world better while recognizing the humor in daily tasks. Vu believes there is tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it.

Vu Le’s talk stretched current practices in the nonprofit sector and explored how to move toward the future. He challenged participants to come out of their normal thinking and consider what is happening today.

Click HERE to view Vu Le’s full keynote speech.


In response to feedback received at previous summits, a special board edition of the annual Nonprofit Summit took place in 2019. Patrick Jinks, keynote speaker and CEO of The Jinks Perspective, led the group of nonprofit CEOs and board members in a discussion about “Governance Through the Lens of Leadership.” Patrick enforced the idea that being a community leader not only means having people following but empowering others to work on their own. Participants were challenged to think differently about their role in the board room, provide tools to strengthen their boards and facilitate strategic conversations about implementation.

Following the Summit, attendees expressed an interest in learning more about the board governance and sharing it with fellow board members. The Nonprofit Summit committee hosted a follow up Lunch and Learn coaching session for board members and CEOs led by Patrick Jinks. Participants attended both in person and streamed the session on Facebook Live. Attendees learned practical tips and tools to keep a board engaged at the right level and aligned with the organization.

Click HERE for a full gallery of photos and highlights of the day.

Patrick Jinks, Keynote Speaker & CEO of The Jinks Perspective

Melanie Spring, Keynote Speaker & Author of Branded Confidence


Inspired by the power of storytelling, attendees had the opportunity to hear from Melanie Spring, keynote and author of Branded Confidence; Henry Berman, CEO of Exponent Philanthropy; and Gabe Cohen of GuideStar on their perspective of the importance of telling stories. 

Melanie Spring challenged attendees to get out of their comfort zones and rock their pitch! They came away with the ability to use numbers to tell stories in a succinct, simple, and manageable way. Henry Berman shared his unique perspective of storytelling through the lense of both a funder and a grantee in the nonprofit community.  Gabe Cohen reviewed how information in 990s and IRS documents can be leveraged to support effective storytelling. For the first time, a limited number of registrants had the unique opportunity to get a free professional headshot to better tell their story online and in print. Attendees came away with a variety of tips and resources to tell their stories and create the most impact.

Click here for a full gallery of photos and highlights of the day!


Prior to the Summit, registrants completed a personalized self-awareness assessment developed by RightPath Resources, Inc., a leadership and talent development company that uses a proprietary set of assessments to measure hard-wired, natural behaviors; career development; emotional intelligence; and key leadership attributes. Their clients range from Fortune 500 and 1000 companies such as Clorox and McKesson to NFL teams, including the San Francisco ‘49’ers and the Atlanta Falcons.

Jerry Mabe, president and CEO of RightPath, delivered the keynote address on the process behind the profiles and the purpose is to find common understanding of behavior and talent so everyone is speaking the same language and people are put in the right positions. RightPath Resources’ personal profiles, based on assessments of behavior and talent, can help you identify your strengths and give you resources for building your teams to be the most effective. In the afternoon, attendees participated in breakout group based on the results of their assessments. The profiles helped attendees and their teams improve their capacity-building abilities and ensure clear communication across the entire spectrum of their organizations. 

Click here for a full gallery of photos and highlights of the day!

Jerry Mabe, President and CEO; Crystal Roberts, Vice President of Client Development; Peter Beck, Chief Learning Officer at RightPath Resources

Susan Heath Hays, Keynote Speaker


Based on the bestselling book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, keynote speaker Susan Heath Hays introduced tools designed to help make positive organizational changes. Ms. Hays, who has more than 20 years of experience building individual and organizational capacity, discussed the two different systems that psychologists have determined rule the mind – the rational mind and the emotional mind – and how these compete for control. The Heath’s research delves into why lasting change is hard to come by, and provides techniques that will make change successful with positive, and often dramatic, results.

Attendees learned concepts for affecting change, and through group exercises, practiced the techniques during the event. All attendees also received a complimentary copy of the book, and book club meetings were organized as a follow-up to the event for attendees to discuss their progress and share ideas and successes.

Click here for a full gallery of photos and highlights of the day!


Howard Ross, Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Cook Ross, Inc., focused on “Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management” and explored the implications of “unconscious bias.” He discussed how it impacts daily decision making and the workplace. Traditionally, these decisions are considered conscious, but modern science is teaching that most decisions are based on the unconscious and rationalized afterwards. Mr. Ross provided tools to help create a workplace culture where hidden perceptions and patterns can be “unconcealed” and unbiased and positive directions can be achieved. 

Attendees had the opportunity to select from three educational tracks.  The tracks included how effective governance helps achieve organizational success and creative ideas for putting time and talents to work for maximum impact; the different life stages of organizations and leadership skills that will keep organizations healthy in each stage and the daily dance of staff management and board expectations;  marketing and communication tips and resources for organizations with or without dedicated marketing staff and shoestring budgets.

Click here for a full gallery of photos and highlights of the day!

Howard Ross, Keynote Speaker & Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Cook Ross, Inc.

Glen O′Gilvie, Keynote Speaker & CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement


The 2012 conference theme, “Develop Your Leadership Roadmap to Success,” featured Glen O’Gilvie, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement located in Washington, D.C. The presentation entitled “Survival of the Smartest,” engaged attendees with strategies for the survival and growth of nonprofit organizations in a challenged economy, including ways to find new money while leveraging existing funding and reducing expenses.

The Summit offered three session tracks for the aspiring leader, the new leader and the seasoned leader. Breakout sessions included “Getting on the Board Bus,” “Leader Agility: Strategies for Development,” “Coaching vs. Supervising,” and “Nothing Wrong with Leadership.”

Click here for a full gallery of photos and highlights of the day!

Michael Daigneault, Keynote Speaker & Senior Governance Consultant at Board Source


Michael Daigneault, Senior Governance Consultant at Board Source, focused the keynote address on “Leading Through a Crisis,”.  Summit participants had the option to choose from three different educational tracks including a focus on leadership development, marketing and resource development, and strategic and nonprofits development.  Presenters included Bruce Lesley, President of Nonprofit Strategic Directions, President of, Kivi Leroux Miller, and Rosetta Thurman, President of Thurman Consulting and Blogger with The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Lori Bartczak of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations led a lunch presentation as well as an afternoon roundtable with local funders about what it really costs to provide quality services to nonprofit stakeholders.

Click here for a full gallery of photos and highlights of the day!

Frederick Nonprofit Summit Committee

  • Front row: Lori Perkins, Caylee Winpigler, Emily VanderWoude, Kerry McHugh
  • Back row: Stacey Collins, Betsy Day, Melissa Sines, Blair Wilson, Ken Oldham, Leigh Adams
  • Not pictured here: Jeff Poirier

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