This morning I got two free cups of coffee from people who would normally charge me. They both did the same thing—pushed my money back at me with a smile. Then someone saw me searching my pockets and gave me change for my meter – GAVE it to me. What the heck is going on?
Whatever it is, my mood was changed. I began to feel like spring was getting ready to bust out, and I remembered a quote from Margaret Atwood, something to the effect that in spring, at the end of the day, it is good to smell like dirt. I believe that means that we have to work for what we desire, whether other forces seem aligned with that desire or oppositional. In this case, I feel alignment.
So I want to invite you to my favorite professional spring event, which is an unusual conference on nonprofit governance in Kansas City—this year to be held on April 4th and 5th. It is unusual because it is both exciting and productive—a place where conceptual seeds are planted, later to bloom. The conference, co-hosted by NPQ and the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, is a time when thinking, well-grounded people in this increasingly important sector get together to discuss what really looks to be the cutting edge in governance practice, and what research questions are suggested by that experience. It is, without a doubt, the premier research/practice conference on governance in the country.
It is a place where real questions of practice are surfaced and discussed.

  • What kinds of people make the best board chairs?
  • How is technology changing governance practice?
  • How do you meld the governance of institutions with the governance of our ever more important networks?
  • Are boards all there is to governance, and if they aren’t, what else should be considered?
  • Who owns the nonprofit board, and how do you track that through practice?
  • What is the difference between inclusion and diversity in governance?
  • Can our governance systems meet the challenges and wild opportunities in this environment in ways that truly honor those we work with?

There is also a dialogue regarding social enterprise that will be flowing through the conference this year. These are the kinds of questions that make governance the fascinating and powerful thing it really CAN be if it weren’t being best-practiced to death.
But without you and your experience there, the conversations will be less interesting and rich, and the coffee will be less strong and hot.
Kansas City is beautiful in April, but it will be far more so with you in the house!