2013 BootCamp Speakers

A team of highly experienced leaders lead BootCamp sessions in the focus areas of mission, board governance, leadership style and capabilities, strategic management, financial management and planning, resource development, and legal and ethical issues. Additional professionals will contribute to the Thursday afternoon "Resource Development Panel."

BootCamp's 2014 speaker lineup will be updated by the middle of April.

Rob Acton
Robert B. Acton, J.D.
Executive Director
Taproot Foundation (NYC)

As New York City’s executive director for the Taproot Foundation, Rob Acton sets the strategic direction for the pro bono movement in America’s most populous city. He is known for belting out Broadway show tunes at the photocopier and trying to measure everything.

Prior to joining Taproot, Rob spent over 20 years leading nonprofits, working in direct services, and engaging in policy efforts designed to bring opportunity, justice, fair-treatment, and second chances to residents of Brooklyn, Harlem, Chicago, and Jackson, Mich. Most recently, Rob served for seven years as executive director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA), overseeing the delivery of free legal representation to more than 22,000 low-income clients. During his tenure, CGLA expanded ten-fold the number of clients served and tripled the agency’s annual budget. In May 2008, CGLA received the prestigious Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence.

Rob’s roots in New York City run deep, having worked at a number of nonprofits including Legal Outreach, Inc. and the Brooklyn Juvenile Rights Division of Legal Aid Society. He has served on a number of nonprofit boards and has taught graduate level nonprofit leadership at DePaul Law School and North Park University. He earned his JD from Brooklyn Law School and a BA in philosophy and religion from Spring Arbor University.

Brenda B. Asare, MBA
Senior Vice President/Midwest Division Manager
The Alford Group

Brenda Asare is President and CEO of The Alford Group. She has extensive experience helping national and international organizations increase their fundraising capacity, strengthen their boards, and develop meaningful donor relationships to better serve their communities. Before joining The Alford Group team, Asare worked for the American Red Cross in St. Louis, Detroit, and Chicago, where she was chief development officer. She successfully completed the Chicago chapter’s three-year campaign to construct a $13 million Disaster Operations Center. It was here that she also raised $25 million for families affected by 9/11. Brenda was awarded the Dean’s Service Award from Washington University Olin School of Business in recognition of leadership efforts in building a bridge between the business school students and the not-for-profit community in St. Louis.

She is a member of Women in Development and the Association of Fundraising Professionals and has served on the boards of The Children’s Place, Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic, and the South Shore Drill Team in Chicago. Asare holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a master’s in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

Catherine Brown
Catherine Brown
Integrative Solutions

Catherine Brown launched Integrative Solutions, her consulting practice, in the summer of 2010. Her clients have included the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Childcare Network of Evanston, the Center for New Community, the National Endowment for the Arts, Housing Action Illinois, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Lake County Community Foundation, the Axelson Center at North Park University, the Family Empowerment Center of Chicago, and the National Center for Family Homelessness.

She has more than 25 years of experience across the non-profit sector. Her areas of expertise include fundraising, grantmaking, program design and evaluation, strategic planning, and internal and external communications.

From 1994 until 2010, Catherine held positions of increasing responsibility at the McCormick Foundation, one of Chicagoland’s largest public charities.  Prior to joining the Foundation, Catherine was the Director of Individual Giving at the Lincoln Park Zoological Society in Chicago. 

She serves on the board of Friends of Writers.

Richard Jones
Richard L. Jones, PhD
Senior Vice President, Community Investment
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

Dr. Richard L. Jones serves the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago as senior vice president of community investment. He is charged with the leadership, planning, execution, and measurement of United Way’s strategic investment in the community under LIVE UNITED 2020.

Prior to this position, Dr. Jones was administrator of employment and family services at the Child Support Enforcement Agency for Cuyahoga County in Ohio, following a long and distinguished career in Boston, Cleveland, and Chicago. During his 13 year tenure as president and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago, Metropolitan’s well trained staff delivered more than $390 million in programs and services to more than 600,000 people. Under his leadership, Metropolitan received recognition not only for its high caliber of services but also for operating excellence, solid financial management, and leadership in outcome measurement. Metropolitan was awarded the Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Award in 2006 and the Alford-Axelson Award in 2007 for excellence in nonprofit management.

Mary F. Morten
Morten Group

Mary Morten is the president of Morten Group (MG), a consulting firm specializing in social change through skills development, public policy, and advocacy. Their scope of work includes organizational and resource development, trainings/workshops on diversity, public policy initiatives, trustee cultivation, and film/video development.

Mary served as interim executive director for the Chicago Foundation for Women, one of the world’s largest women funds, for one year, through December of 2008. She is frequently seen in national and local media outlets for her expertise as a women’s advocate.

Mary’s background includes 20 years of executive leadership at nonprofits and a mayoral appointment in city government. She is the immediate past director of the Office of Violence Prevention for the Chicago Department of Public Health. Prior to this position, Mary was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley to serve as the director/liaison for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

Cori Smaller
Cori Moschberger, LCSW
Integrated Advising Services

Cori Moschberger specializes in the not-for-profit segment and her experience includes administration, management, team building and training, leadership mentoring, and counseling. Having successfully led her own staff as an executive director of an organization in Chicago, Cori brings to clients the real-world "know-how" needed to effectively mentor and manage employees and teams.

She is a highly regarded trainer in the areas of attracting and retaining quality personnel, workplace communication, and coaching and motivating employees. Cori is a certified PDP Administrator and TrakStar Professional. She holds a master's degree social sork from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Tim J. O'Brien, PhD
Mutuality Associates, LLC

Dr. Tim O’Brien has a varied background in management, academia, and as a member of a provincial staff where his background and experience added value to the development of laity and province operations. Tim served as the director of lay formation and as the director of the Community of Passionist Partners (lay associates). He also served on myriad committees from strategic planning, to chapter organizing, and the retreat center board. He co-founded an Interprovince committee on lay association. He continues to serve as chair of the investment advisory committee for the Passionist Congregation, Holy Cross Province, and has served and as a member of the board of directors and treasurer of Passionists International (UN NGO). Tim is a former board member of the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR) and continues to volunteer his services as a workshop presenter and accountant.

Kathryn Vanden Berk
Kathryn Vanden Berk
of counsel
Bea & Vanden Berk

Kathryn Vanden Berk has been providing advice to nonprofit organizations since 1979. Her legal career began in Madison, Wisconsin, where she was legal counsel to a number of health care providers and trade associations. She became president of a residential treatment center for children in 1988, and worked in that field as an executive for the next 10 years.

Kathryn returned to the practice of law in 1999 and now focuses her legal work on not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations. Since 1999, she has successfully taken a wide variety of organizations through the start-up process, and she has advised both large and small organizations on issues of governance, leadership, management, corporate re-structure, taxation, and employment administration. Her clients are nationwide.

Amy Wishnick
Amy Wishnick
Wishnick & Associates, LLC

Amy Wishnick is dedicated to helping organizations become more effective by working with them to address issues that ensure a sound infrastructure and a sustainable future. Since 2004 Wishnick & Associates, LLC has worked with a wide array of nonprofit clients on strategic planning and executive transition planning, organizational assessments, board development, and retreat planning and facilitation. Amy also serves as a retained organizational advisor to nonprofits.

Wishnick & Associates, LLC is a natural outgrowth of Amy’s broad-based business experience in government, nonprofit, and the private sector. Throughout her career, Amy has honed her skills at the National Endowment for the Humanities, an international law firm, and a boutique executive search firm. She is an astute listener and strategic thinker, asking the right questions to help clients uncover valuable opportunities to advance organizational capacity. Her clients include arts, education, human services and religious organizations, and foundations.

Amy is the immediate past president of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits in addition to numerous other volunteer activities. She has presented workshops for the Axelson Center and serves as a member of the Advisory Board.

Next Steps

Applications are due May 16!  Download an application today.

The Axelson Center for Nonprofit Managment at North Park University.