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MBA Students Learn Importance of Board Service


On Thursday, January 23, over a dozen St. John Fisher College MBA students learned that serving on a board is a crucial contribution to the heart and soul of a nonprofit organization.  The College’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) primed the students for board service of local nonprofits, and all of the students are currently active members within their community looking for new ways to get involved and make a bigger impact.  Thomas Toole, Executive Director of the CCE, facilitated the two-hour workshop including a panel discussion on the basics of board service.

Panelists who have made significant contributions to the Rochester nonprofit community shared their insights for what makes a great board member.  The panelists included Patricia Leva, President of Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York; Dr. David Martin, Dean of the St. John Fisher College School of Business; Fran Weisberg, Former Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency (FLSHA); and Terry Hartmann, CFO at The Children’s Institute and board member of GEVA Theatre Center.

“The greatest contribution a board member can make to an organization is to be open-minded, reframe the issues of the organization, and ask the hard questions regarding strategic direction,” said Leva. 

The panel also stressed the importance of being committed to an organization and believing in their mission.  They discussed the younger generation of individuals who are educated and bring valuable experience, along with their time, talent, and treasure to the nonprofit community. 

“The under 40 crowd can bring a whole new mindset, different skills, fresh ideas, and the use of technology into the diverse mix of board members,” said MBA student and young board member for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Christopher Palinski. 

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