Reflections on BLF14: Post #15 – The Founder’s Journey

Reflection on 2014 Board Leadership Forum, this is the second review submitted by Kent Castleman.

Attending the Big Leadership Forum by BoardSource was a great experience for me as a non-profit executive director, founder, board member and Get on Board Committee Member.

We are very blessed to have the level of training and non-profit board governance we have in Fort Wayne and Allen County which has been led by the Foellinger Foundation, but supported and embraced by many other funders and supporters.

GOB in Washington, D.C. at the Board Leadership Forum last autumn.
GOB in Washington, D.C. at the Board Leadership Forum last autumn. Kent Castleman is on the far left.

The session called the Founder’s Journey dealt with situational case studies and fictional scenarios you could use for board development activities.

All of these situations led to discussion on the role of the CEO/Executive Director as a founder.

The presenters also discussed Legacy Visioning Strategies that help in facilitating a conversation around the legacy of the organization and the legacy of the founder.

The following are points that I documented as questions to ask in an organization where the founder is still present:

  • What was the founder’s vision for the organization?
  • How long did they initially intend to stay versus how long they have stayed?
  • Who is in charge? Is it the board or the founder?
  • Who is on the board? The founders circle of people or have the founders people cycled off to leave room for new leadership?
  • Is there strong governance and policy in place to define the roles board/staff leadership.

Many of these questions have answers that can lead to solutions. Sometimes the hardest role of a board of directors is to ask the hard questions.

If you are a board member that still has a founder on the board or as executive director, these are great questions to ask. Remember, “Intentionality leads to success.” Be Intentional about your level of commitment, so you and the nonprofit you serve can be successful.

You can view the presentation at

Thank you to…

the Paul Clarke Nonprofit Resource Center, the Foellinger Foundation and the Barbara Burt fund with the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne for allowing us to experience this awesome event as a committee.

We are set to dream big about what the next steps are for Get on Board in the future and we hope you will come on board to be a part of our work!

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