Nonprofit Board Inclusion Training Series

Based on a recommendation from our report Nonprofit Board Diversity: A Snapshot of the Capital Region, the Community Foundation has partnered with Angela Dixon, Senior Vice President/Chief Diversity Officer of Berkshire Bank to design a training series on ways to create a welcoming board culture inclusive of traditionally underrepresented communities. The training series is designed for current nonprofit leaders committed to fostering inclusive leadership within their organizations.

The goals of this training series are to: raise awareness and knowledge of the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion for nonprofits; build inclusiveness and diversity on nonprofit boards; advance the cultural competency and sensitivity among nonprofit leaders; educate and inspire those who participate; and provide critical training to advance equity in our community. The series will be offered in three monthly sessions in April, May, and June. All sessions are FREE to attend.

We encourage at least two leaders from each organization to register for these training sessions to assist with the transfer of information and learning. Board chairs and others responsible for board development and DEI in your organization are highly encouraged to attend. 

Session I: Building a Foundation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

1 pm – 3 pm
Recording Available Below

In the past year, the need and interest to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion has significantly increased, especially on nonprofit boards. A common question leaders ask is “we care about this issue, but where do we start?” In this session, the Community Foundation and Angela Dixon of Berkshire Bank will be joined by Kathleen McLean of the McLean Group to inform and create strategies on how to begin the DEI journey at your organization.

During this session, participants will:

  • Learn the historical context of systemic oppression in the United States and better understand the need for change
  • Review the common language of diversity, equity, and inclusion terminology
  • Identify ways to build a case for DEI and prepare a change management strategy

Click here to download a copy of the presentation slides.

About the Presenter:
Kathleen McLean, MBA, CSW is president and CEO of the McLean Group. Her 25 years of experience encompasses work in higher education, NYS government, non-profits, as well as public and private schools. The McLean Group’s strategic approach utilizes the 3E framework. Educate – using our resources customized for the organization. Explore – the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale that measures how comfortable individuals are around differences. Empower – your organization to use new tools to transform the culture and challenge the status quo. Kathleen has been an educator at the College of Saint Rose, Hudson Valley Community College, Schenectady County Community College, The Sage Colleges, and SUNY Empire State College as an online instructor for undergraduate and graduate programs.

Kathleen has been recognized with the Harriet Rifkin Leadership Award, Adult Achievers Award, and most recently by the “Albany Business Review” Women Who Mean Business Award. Kathleen received her Master Degree in Social Work (management concentration) from the University at Albany, a Master in Business Administration from the SUNY Empire State College and her bachelor’s degree in social work from Buffalo State College.

The McLean Group is a New York State Minority and Women-Owned certified firm. Kathleen volunteers with Mission Accomplished, has served on the SUNY Schenectady Foundation Board, co-leads the Capital Region Women of Color Network, serves on the Town of Colonie Police Practices Review Committee, and is the chair of Fundraising for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Kathleen has been married to her high school sweetheart for 29 years, and they have four children. Her motto is: I’m here to live, love, and lead out loud. Learn more and connect with Kathleen via her website: 


Session II: Building a Culture of Inclusivity and Impact
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
2 pm – 4 pm
Register Now

Amidst increased activism and greater pressure from funders and state legislation, there has been a growing push for corporate and nonprofit leaders to increase board diversity, build more inclusive cultures and drive equitable outcomes.  Yet in the current climate, you may not know where to begin in creating brave spaces that enable more effective cross-cultural communications.  This workshop will equip you with strategies to shift from awkward silence to dynamic dialogues and create a catalyst for sustainable change.  Participants will leave the session with increased knowledge and skills to:

  • Learn the concept of implicit bias and ways to mitigate its impact on your organization to optimize leadership development
  • Determine actionable next steps for creating more inclusive cultures that promote individual and organizational flourishing
  • Understand how to navigate difficult conversations and apply effective communication strategies for engaging diverse communities
  • Establish the board’s role as an agent of change to strengthen nonprofit leadership, maximize impact and increase giving

In order to encourage a brave space for participants, this session will NOT recorded. Please only register if you are planning to attend the session. If you cannot attend the session, a summary of key points will be distributed via our email list and social media.


About the Facilitators:


Anniedi Essien is a Chief Swagger Officer, Health Disruptor and Keynote Speaker dedicated to improving the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. With twenty years of health industry experience, workforce well-being expertise and a people first mindset, Anniedi reimagines the future of health, creates inclusive spaces for holistic wellness, and advises senior leaders as a former corporate health executive. She has developed innovative corporate wellness solutions for the largest global brands, including Walmart.  Her work on social determinants of health has been recognized by the American Association for World Health / World Health Organization.  Anniedi is the CEO and Founder of Idem Spark, where she advises C-Suite executives, entrepreneurs and women in leadership on how to build the workforce of the future by fusing cutting edge well-being and leadership development strategies for success.  Anniedi holds a BA in biomedical ethics from Brown University and an MBA in strategy from NYU Stern School of Business.  She is a foodie, yoga lover and karaoke enthusiast.




Christina Farinacci-Roberts is a learning architect, diversity & inclusion strategist and 20 year veteran educator who is passionate about driving equity and excellence for all.  As the founder and chief consultant of Head Heart Hands Consulting, she advises senior executive clients to create equitable systems and inclusive structures for diverse stakeholders to experience greater individual and organizational flourishing. Using her experience as a NYC high school principal, she creates interactive and immersive learning experiences that supports leaders to remove barriers and shape cultures that drive substantive change and fuel sustainable growth. Christina was recently selected as the Key Bank Boost & Build MWBE “Pitch Your Pivot” grand prize winner for her successful transition into the corporate DEI space. Christina is also the matriarch of a blended family who strives to model to her two children the unrelenting work ethic and audacious ambitions her Korean Tiger mom and Italian American veteran dad instilled. She maintains her sanity with yoga, CrossFit and frequent karaoke sessions.



About W.I.D.E. Dynamic Dialogues
Facing a global pandemic, economic downturn, and ongoing social justice issues, organizations require more relevant solutions that create brave spaces and grow bold leaders.  W.I.D.E. Dynamic Dialogues is a joint venture between Head Heart Hands Consulting LLC and Idem Spark, LLC with an innovative framework that is more responsive to the emerging needs of a diverse workforce.  Our holistic and human-centered approach to leadership development, executive coaching, workshops and training offers a cutting edge solution for individual and organizational flourishing.  We believe Equity can only be achieved when Diversity is present, Inclusion is prioritized, and Wellness is realized. To learn more, visit

Click here to register for the second session

Session III: Taking Action
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

1 pm – 4 pm
More Information and Registration Coming Soon


If you have any questions about the program, please email Jonathan at