NACD Board Leadership Conference NACD Chapter System

Nonprofit Boards: Board Development & Best Practices

January 10, 2017
Philadelphia, PA



In the past several years, regulators have implemented stringent rules that govern the actions of boards of public companies. These have inspired a multitude of state laws that apply to nonprofits. Moreover, public expectation for ethical behavior and good governance is greater than ever before. This panel, featuring prominent leaders and experts in the nonprofit field, will discuss best practices related to board operations, recruitment, fundraising and internal communications in 501C(3) organizations. This event promises to be a great start to the New Year and a primer for chapter members interested in board service in the nonprofit community.

Location and Time


Top of the Tower
Three Logan Square, 1717 Arch Street, 50th Fl
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Breakfast and Networking:  7:30-8:00AM

Featured Program: 8:00-9:00AM

Speaker Spotlight


Laura Otten

Dr. Otten has been Executive Director of The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University’s School of Business, a management support organization that enhances the management and governance capacity of nonprofit organizations throughout the Delaware Valley, since 2001. A Nonprofit Center consultant and instructor since 1985, Laura served as director of evaluation and research, prior to becoming director. In 2013, she added to her responsibilities by developing and becoming first director of La Salle University’s new Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership. She has since led the organization in developing innovative and expanded programs to meet changing community needs, raising quality standards, and fostering the development of applied research on nonprofit management issues. Laura also continues to work in the areas of board development, succession planning, and coaching directly with clients. In addition, Laura is an Associate Professor, the Director of La Salle University’s recently launched Masters in Nonprofit Leadership, the former Director of the Criminal Justice Program, as well as LaSalle's Women's Studies Program and Project on Justice and Society. Laura gained tenure in 1988 and has been recognized for distinguished teaching. Laura has several publishing credits, including the book, Women’s Rights and the Law (Praeger, 1993). Having served on her first nonprofit board while in college, Laura continues to serve on numerous governance and advisory boards. Laura received her Ph.D. in Sociology and her M.A. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in Sociology from Sarah Lawrence College.

Laura Solomon

Laura N. Solomon, Esq. is the founder of Laura Solomon & Associates. LS&A is a law firm devoted to the representation of nonprofit, charitable, and other tax-exempt organizations and philanthropic planning for individuals. Ms. Solomon and her associates serve as outside, general counsel to hundreds of organizations, providing a full range of corporate and tax legal services that include representation for mergers, joint ventures, affiliations, and complex financings. LS&A clients include public charities and private foundations, community foundations, museums, hospitals, schools, religious groups, business environmental, animal welfare, amateur sports organizations, social clubs, and political action committees. These organizations range in size from small start-up organizations to large health systems and multi-national charities that conduct international grant making. Ms. Solomon currently serves as a United States delegate to the Financial Action Task Force, is a member of the Charity Working Group of the U.S. Treasury Department and the Tax-Exempt Organizations Subcommittee of the American Bar Association, is an Officer of the Charitable Organizations Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and a Planner and Faculty member of both the Nonprofit Institute of the Philadelphia Bar Institute and the Endowment, Foundation, and Philanthropy Conference of the Philadelphia CFA Society. She is a 2016 Wexner Heritage Program Fellow and is quoted frequently in the media and lectures often nationally and internationally for lawyers, accountants, and other professional and community groups on issues impacting the charitable sector and philanthropic individuals. Ms. Solomon also lectures at the LaSalle University Nonprofit Center, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova, Drexel, and Temple Universities. Prior to starting her firm, Ms. Solomon was associated with Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP. She is a member of the Bar Associations of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Tufts University and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Nix, III

Mr. Nix is an attorney and Founder and President of Pleasant News, Inc. In his legal capacity, Mr. Nix serves as Counsel to the Law Firm of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell and Hippel. As President of the Pleasant News Enterprise Group for over twenty years, Mr. Nix oversees an entity that provides services in airports that include management, retail sales, distribution and food and beverage operations. These services are offered in a range of states from Texas to Georgia to Rhode Island, including his home state of Pennsylvania. Mr. Nix currently serves on the following boards in the Philadelphia community: Board of Revision of Taxes: (BRT) is responsible for hearing property tax appeals in the city of Philadelphia. Mr. Nix serves as Secretary on the Board. Franklin Square Corporation: a business development company providing second-tier lending services to Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Nix serves on the board’s Audit and Nominating and Governance Committees. NHS Human Services Corporation: a non-profit corporation that provides addiction, autism, IDD, juvenile justice, MH and MR and children services. Mr. Nix serves as Board Chairman. Fairmount Park Conservancy: an entity created to raise money for the maintenance, management and growth of the system of parks that we know as Fairmount Park. Mr. Nix was a recipient of the Philadelphia Bowl for his service while as a member of and President of the Fairmount Park Commission. He received the Award for Distinguished Service in addition to receiving Proclamations from the United States House of Representatives, Governor of the State of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia City Council.

Michael Brody

Michael Brody is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA (MHASP). Brody brings to MHASP more than 30 years of experience in the mental health arena. As a Vice President of MHASP and its Director of Service Operations from July 2009 through December 2013, he directed multiple levels of community support services in southeastern Pennsylvania, serving more than 4,000 people with behavioral health diagnoses annually. He managed an annual budget of more than $19 million, and led and created opportunities to develop recovery-oriented services and involve people in recovery from mental health conditions in all aspects of service delivery. From 1998 to 2007, Brody served as Chief Operating Officer of the Southwest Connecticut Mental Health System (SWCMHS), one of the largest multipurpose behavioral health systems in Connecticut. In this role he managed a wide range of community and hospital based services. He was instrumental in leading a number of initiatives that created recovery oriented and peer led services while at SWCMHS. Prior to this he helped build and lead the Danbury Mental Health Authority charged with coordinating and directing all behavioral health services in a multi county region. In this role, he led efforts to create the first participant/consumer operated “Drop-In Center” and later psychosocial clubhouse in Connecticut. Before joining MHASP in 2009, he was Recovery Services Administrator at Recovery Innovations of Pennsylvania. He is deeply passionate about peer and family led services and is striving to continue the heritage of MHASP as the premier provider of recovery oriented services in Southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond. Brody holds a B.A. in history from SUNY at Oswego, and a master of science in social work from Columbia University. He has taught at Adelphi University, SUNY at New Paltz, and Marist College.

Melanie Santos Grant

Melanie Santos Grant is a founding principal of Escalatus LLC, a performance-enhancing advisory firm that serves privately owned middle-market enterprises. A volunteer with the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties since 2013, Melanie serves as secretary of the Board of Governors. She previously served as member and vice chair of the Governance Committee. She is an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown and has chaired the Art Goes to School and Family Fun Night Committees at Baker Elementary School. Prior to establishing Escalatus, Melanie held executive leadership roles for various private equity owned portfolio companies. In 2013, as an operating partner, Melanie led a global team to close an international, carve-out, acquisition to form Archroma, a $1.3 Billion chemical manufacturer with operations in 47 countries. From 2006 to 2011, Melanie was the chief transformation officer and board overseer and observer for Burlington Coat Factory, moving the organization from a $1.3 billion family-owned business to a $4.3 billion scalable retail organization. Additionally, she has served as a divisional assistant general counsel for ARAMARK, an $11B international, outsourced service organization and as a securities, mergers and acquisitions and restructuring attorney in Philadelphia for Morgan Lewis, an international law firm. Melanie started her career with significant financial and capital markets training and experience as an analyst and associate in the Fixed Income Sales and Trading Division of Goldman Sachs in New York. Melanie earned a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College.



1 Credit

Question about this Event?

Contact NACD Philadelphia Chapter P.O. Box 94, Gladwyne, PA, 19035 email: