This issue of the magazine is dedicated to Judith O’Connor, the former president and CEO of BoardSource. Judy recently passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. It is particularly poignant that this issue has been partially built around the work of the BoardSource Governance Futures project, because Judy was central in developing this, along with a host of other national initiatives. With great respect and gratitude, we do our part to ensure this material stands as the beginning of one important strand of a long legacy.
Judy became involved in the nonprofit sector, as many of us did, from a concern for social justice. Over many years, she came to believe that good boards were critical to nonprofit success and, in 1997, brought that interest to the National Center for Nonprofit Boards, which would later become BoardSource. Her commitment to boards and the work of the sector didn’t, however, stop with the many programs and services she initiated and supported at BoardSource. She herself served on a number of boards during her career, most recently as the board chair of Camp Fire USA (where she carried forward a long-standing interest in youth development), and as a member on the boards of the American Society of Association Executives, Philanthropic Research, Inc. (GuideStar), and on the advisory board of the Harvard University Business School’s Initiative on Social Enterprise.
But Judy went beyond her work, even when she was working. It was her strong, gentle presence that those who knew her will remember. Whether addressing a community leader, a funder or a staff member, Judy was gracious and open, connecting with people in ways that always served to make a profound difference in the world around her. We will all miss her and remember her fondly as we move forward on roads she helped to pave.