Conference Speakers

Conference Speakers2020-03-04T14:10:53-06:00


Giving DuPage & the West Suburban Philanthropic Network invite you to the
2019 Nonprofit Partners Conference

Friday, October 4, 2019 – 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The conference will be held at the
Marriott Naperville – 1801 N. Naper Blvd

This year’s conference theme is our play on the word ‘collaboration’. Our hope is that over 300 nonprofit peers will collaborate with each other and experiment with new ideas. Our intention was to invite speakers and provide tools to move your mission forward, build capacity and turn ideas into informed solutions.


Opening Address – Emotional Intelligence: Knowing Thyself is Only Half Of It

Laticia (Tish) Thompson – Founder & Chief Legacy Partner, Legacy Blueprint, LLC

Connect with your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and how to become a better leader for knowing thyself. Tish will focus on the four elements of E.Q., will help you identify when your emotions and the emotions of others are comprising the results you need/want and discover strategies to strengthen our E.Q. muscle.

Tish has over 10 years leadership and organization development experience. She specializes in staff and leadership development, large and small group facilitation, curriculum design, change management, executive coaching and strategy cultivation and execution. Starting the day off right with this don’t miss opening address (we’ll provide the coffee!).

Midday Address: The Art of Storytelling In A Digital Age – How To Create A Digital Storytelling System

Julia Campbell – Founder, J Campbell Social Marketing

Do you feel your organization is spinning their wheels on social media and wondering how to start getting real results using digital tools?

Increase clarity, confidence, and capacity with the power of technology, social media marketing and online tools to tell your stories, connect with stakeholders, and advocate on behalf of clients.

Take Julia’s 6-word challenge, see real examples of effective digital storytelling and develop an actual ‘how to system’ for your digital storytelling, in this interactive, high-energy session.

Julie has run her digital marketing consulting business for a decade, is a frequent speaker at AFP Chapter Conferences and author of Storytelling in a Digital Age: A Guide For Nonprofits. She’s also host of Cause Camp 2020, an immersive boutique conference, dedicated to teaching nonprofits to hone their skills and welcome change.

Closing Address – Board Session I
Building A High Performing Board Culture – for Today and Tomorrow

Rena Henderson Mason – Founder of Bold Agenda

Many nonprofit boards truly want to be a high-performing team; yet, all too often, the same boards feel they are not in alignment and focused on the organization’s mission. What can you do to begin to shift your board’s culture today? You’ll learn about real tactics your board can apply immediately to help transform culture.

Rena will share how the entire board team can, together, develop the right culture to build a high-performance board for the future, using a framework for action. Your board’s success lies with shared responsibility and mutual accountability, creating a standard for each director to deliver meaningful impact for your mission.

Closing Address: Board Session II
Harness Your Organization’s Power to Deliver Hope and Change Lives 

Tom Okarma – Founder & CEO, Vantage Point

As our closing speaker, Tom will share motivational thoughts on how well today’s nonprofit leaders – staff, volunteers and board members – are performing. The question which remains for nonprofit leaders is how much more can be done when each person (staff, board, volunteers) has an invested ownership in our organization’s mission. What if each stakeholder was fully living out their role in your organization? Moving beyond traditional boundaries or defined job responsibilities can help each person, no matter their role, realize limitless possibilities and create true value. Tom will encourage every organization to own its inherent power to deliver hope and change lives by harnessing the power only unity can bring – out of the many and through each one.

Tom Okarma is a tested and proven strategic thinker who helps leaders and 
nonprofit organizations succeed. He is a knowledgeable and reliable catalyst
 for nonprofits. Tom targets effectiveness in execution, organizational excellence, strategic planning, change management, client intimacy, and talent management. He provides senior staff members, stakeholders and boards with an understanding and discerning ear, and facilitates relational environments to generate solutions.


(more speakers/topics to come – please check back for updates)

Demystifying Donor Advised Funds
Mike Sitrick – Vice President for Advancement, DuPage Foundation

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) are the fastest growing area of philanthropy. With approximately 500,000 funds now in existence and holding more than $100 billion in assets, their capacity to make a transformative impact on our communities and the causes we love is unquestionable. But what are DAFs? Why have they become so popular? How are donors using them? And how can they benefit our organizations amidst a shifting charitable landscape. Join us for a deep dive into this important topic to learn everything you need to know about these powerful charitable tools and the rules that govern them.

The Power of Words: Reframing Human Services
Lauren Wright – Executive Director, Illinois Partners for Human Services

Why do we talk about nonprofits and human services like it’s the 18th century? It’s time to redirect public thinking. The sector’s communications are stuck in a charity model from the past and so is public perception of the value of human services, which affects everything from adequate funding to fair policies to giving. Today, the demand for human services is greater than ever. The sector needs to take advantage of research-based strategies for connecting with the public in the current legislative landscape. In this presentation, you’ll learn about a powerful new communications strategy, that is proven through rigorous national research and testing to improve public understanding and support for human services. By changing how we talk about the sector you’ll learn a new way to engage the public in vital conversations about the power, value and importance of our work.

If You Build It, They Will Come
Seema Wadia – Chief Operating Officer, Metro Strategies

Does your organization have a BIG idea, initiative, goal or project and you’re trying to figure out how to make it a reality? In this session, you will learn how to distill your vision, package it into a program, build collaboration along the way and identify potential funding sources. Seema will share real examples from multi-partner projects where she follows the same process for successful outcomes.

A Theory of Change: Engineered & Reverse-Engineered, A Tool for Evaluation & Planning
Susie Pratt – Principal, Pratt Richards Group
Kate Bousum
– Director of Advancement, Child’s Voice

We hear it all the time…. what is the IMPACT of your programs? Your organization has an intervention, project, program or policy which contributes results leading to ‘impact’, but how do you engineer during the planning stage to capture this impact, or how do you reverse-engineer it for a program you inherited? Susie will walk you through the basics of the Theory of Change framework and discuss how this critical tool can help nonprofits plan for, and evaluate their impact.  The session will draw on real-life examples, and will leave participants with a sense of how to take this framework home and put it to use in their own organizational setting. Kate will share her own case study of reverse-engineering a Theory of Change.

How To Ask A Donor For $10,000
Sherry Quam Taylor – Founder & Fundraising Coach, QuamTaylor LLC

What if you knew the steps to secure larger donations on a regular basis? Seriously! You – knowing exactly how to fully fund your organization every year. In this session, we’re going to look at the steps you need to lead your donors through to secure their best gift. And then we’re going to demystify solicitations and talk through the scary questions that come up during the ask. Using the example of a $10,000 ask, Sherry will walk you through the methodology she’s designed to teach nonprofit leaders how to secure larger donations from mid- and major-level donors. This session is a step-by-step guide of making an intentional ask with specific solicitation steps. What does this look like? How do you solicit & ask using the gift chart? What are the answers to the scary questions that come up during the ask? What do you do after making the ask?

How to Defibrillate Your Next Event
Renee Jones – International Champion Auctioneer, National Fundraising Solutions

How do you feel about increasing revenue at your next special event without your hair falling out from stress? Don’t panic! Take a deep breath because you don’t need a super hero cape to see smart sustain growth during your fundraising portion of your event! In this session, we will discuss how to work smarter not harder all while empowering your team members to be their best and insuring a seamless supporter experience with the goal to move them from one time event donors to lifelong sustained donors. From creative underwriting opportunities to inclusive giving opportunities, you will walk out of this class energized and empowered to take your special event to the next level of success!

Volunor or Donoteer – Which Came First?
Shefali Trivedi – Executive Director, Giving DuPage

What is the nexus of volunteers and donors? What does the data say about these intersecting philanthropic circles? Learn how your organization can connect the critical link between both worlds and how to capitalize on potentially missed opportunities.

Building & Leading Boards For Impact
Tom Okarma – Founder & CEO, Vantage Point

Do you wonder what it takes to build an efficacious board? To deliver greater impact, a board must be strategically built and led with the end in mind. Drawing from the best practices of dozens of high-performing boards, ‘Built for Impact’ has been uniquely designed to provide tools and approaches for Board Chair & Executive Directors to lead their board effectively. This session will help your organization define ‘impact’ for your agency, how to build a board that strategically to fit your mission & vision. Tom will also share his ‘cheat sheet’ to better built boards, an easy-to-follow checklist to save and pass one to your entire board team.

Crucial Conversations
Laticia Thompson – Founder & Chief Legacy Partner, Legacy Blueprint

This session will focus on teaching skills to foster open dialogue around high stakes, emotional or risky topics. The skills taught in this session will help participants gain confidence to respectfully say almost anything to almost anyone. During our time, we will identify what constitutes a crucial conversation, explore strategies to manage emotions and “stories” within self that could derail the conversation and review the STATE model that’s used to share your perspective and invites others to share theirs.

The Science Of Happiness Through Fundraising
Dr. Susan Neustrom – Director, Villa St. Benedict Foundation & Adjunct Faculty, National Louis University & DePaul University

A significant body of research implies that donating one’s time and money has positive benefits to both mental and physical well-being.  The act of giving makes people happy and charitable behavior influences others to give too. Even people with little to moderate income can make a huge difference in the world with giving and reap the benefits.  However, despite all of the research on happiness and giving, many nonprofits struggle with raising sufficient funds to support their mission.  This session will identify what factors elevate happiness levels, explore your personal philosophy of giving, offer a variety of ways to encourage donor generosity and happiness, and discuss how nonprofits can use the joy of giving to support their mission.