BoardBuild, a nonprofit that seeks to shape communities through strengthening board governance, has officially named Pam Cannell, who has 25 years of experience enacting community change, as its chief executive officer.

The new organization was first announced publicly by Leadership Fort Worth and United Way of Tarrant County at a crowded meeting at Lena Pope on April 9. It started as an Issues Initiative group study by members of the 2018 Leadership Class of Leadership Fort Worth.

BoardBuild is an innovative platform for emerging and established leaders and nonprofit organizations to connect and form board-level relationships, BoardBuild said in a news release.

“I am honored to steward the mission of BoardBuild in north Texas and beyond,” Cannell said in the release.

Cannell, previously a staff member at Leadership Fort Worth, has dedicated her entire career to nonprofit leadership and board governance, playing an active role in the nonprofit community.

She is a board member of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, a board member and executive committee member of the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition, and a trustee of Garrett Family Preserve.

She is also an engaged member of U.S. Masters Swimming, Rotary Club of Fort Worth and the Tarrant County Child Fatality Review Team.

In addition to BoardBuild, Cannell serves is the founder of Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition (FWDPC) and the founder of Cannell & Company.

She holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Missouri and pursued graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania.

BoardBuild has officially launched with the purpose of shaping communities through strengthening nonprofit boards.

According to Forbes, nonprofit leaders often believe there isn’t a system in place to ensure stakeholders are qualified and clearly share the nonprofit’s brand and vision. BoardBuild addresses this issue with comprehensive board governance training followed by a Match.com-like approach.

Nonprofit organizations looking for knowledgeable board members post listings via BoardBuild. Then, BoardBuild connects that nonprofit with a qualified individual via an algorithm-based matching system.

BoardBuild provides an engaging online training curriculum targeting potential board members who are both leaders in their fields and skilled in their areas of expertise, the organization said in the news release.

The training consists of six modules, featuring the nationally acclaimed improvisational comedy troupe Four Day Weekend.

BoardBuild provides aspiring board members the tools needed to make a difference, enhancing the individual’s decision making, strategic planning, and communication skills.

BoardBuild is changing the approach to decision making for nonprofits, ultimately elevating the way decisions are made in the social sector, the news release said.

“One of the concerns that was identified was lack of support for nonprofit boards of directors,” Harriet Harral, executive director of Leadership Fort Worth, said at the April announcement.

She cited previous efforts to establish training and a bank of willing volunteers that proved unsustainable.

At that same event, TD Smyers, president and CEO of United Way, says to think of it as LinkedIn meets match.com.

He said United Way had been exploring its own process to match boards and volunteers when Leadership Fort Worth approached him with the BoardBuild concept.

What both organizations were looking for, he said, was a “world-class method of training board members on governance, ambassadorship, philanthropy and their role in it, how to be an engaged board member and an effective board member.”

Initial funders for the project are The Morris Foundation, the Amon Carter Foundation, the Sid Richardson Foundation, Texas Health Resources and Fidelity Investments.

Pete Geren, head of the Sid Richardson Foundation, says that foundation sees BoardBuild as an extension of its own goals of trying to help this community realize its potential.

“I know it is going to make a great difference in our nonprofit world. It is going to be a capacity builder that's going to make a difference,” he said at the April announcement. “But I'm most excited about the leaders that it's going to surface, the responsibility it's going to give them and the difference they're going to make in our community over the years ahead.”

Includes material from Fort Worth Business Press archives

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