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2024 Nonprofit Leadership Summit Recap

Nearly 400 of the Hudson Valley’s Nonprofit Leaders attended the United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s 22nd Annual NonProfit Leadership

Summit to learn from national experts on how to fashion their organizations into nonprofits for the future. Making the most of opportunities and being prepared to capitalize on them is one of the secrets of success, said Author and Keynote Lynn Perry Wooton, President of Simmons University, who was among the speakers during this full-day event at Purchase College Performing Arts Center.

“Every crisis is an opportunity, and as we come out of the pandemic it is so important for non-profit leaders to think about how they can innovate, how they can rebuild their teams and how they can reposition their organizations to be even better,’’ said Dr. Wooten.

Dr. Wooten, coauthor of The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before and Hamza Khan, TedX speaker and author of Leadership, Reinvented addressed nonprofit leaders locally and globally.

United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Nonprofit Leadership Summit builds professional excellence in the purpose-driven organizations of Westchester and Putnam counties. The Summit attracts a diverse audience of professionals and volunteer leaders in the nonprofit sector – across disciplines, fields, and experience levels, providing them with professional development at an affordable cost.

“The non-profit community is a great big ocean, feeding our community, nurturing and supporting it. There are more than 5,000 charities in Westchester alone and they represent billions of dollars in wages, taxes and economic impact, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface as to the hundreds of thousands of lives that they change and uplift everyday,’’ said Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

In addition to the keynote speakers, the event featured breakout sessions and a vendor expo. It was underwritten in part by TD Bank.


Morning Keynote Address by Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten

Afternoon Keynote Address by Hamza Khan

Breakout Rooms

Morning Breakout Rooms

“Culture Toolkit: Shaping a Purposeful and Inclusive Nonprofit Culture” – A hands-on workshop hosted by Kathy D’Agostino of Win at Business Coaching, LLC, will introduce a culture toolkit that provides a comprehensive framework for nonprofits to create a positive, inclusive, and resilient work environment that aligns with their mission and values. Organizations can adapt and customize these strategies based on their unique needs and context.

“The Power of Data: Transforming Outcomes, Advocating for Change,” a panel featuring Margaret Kaufer, president of The STEM Alliance; Limarie Cabrera, Director of Data, Operations, & Finance at Westchester Children’s Association; and other nonprofit leaders, advocacy groups, and funders discussing utilizing data for program success and impact. Discover cost-efficient, easy strategies for collecting and selecting data. Discuss how data can appeal to both people’s hearts blending simple, visual designs with storytelling. Data not only improves programs but also justifies our work. All organizations, even those wary of statistics, can collect and use data efficiently and effectively to advocate and spark positive change.

“So You Want to be a Nonprofit CEO: One Person’s Journey and What I’ve Learned.Karen Erren, CEO of Feeding Westchester, will inspire up-and-coming leaders with this leadership session. It is targeted toward ambitious professionals who want to explore the opportunity of one day leading a nonprofit. It will be highly interactive and focused on my journey, my top recommendations on progressing and setting yourself up to succeed, and how to “leave well,” whether to move onto a different organization or from a previous position.

“Unlocking Innovation Through IMPROV” – A transformative workshop, by Matt and Maddie Schiering, Principals of Sheer Strategy, Inc, tailored for professionals seeking to invigorate their innovation strategies. Over the course of this dynamic session, participants dive into a series of improvisational exercises and techniques designed to foster a creative and agile mindset within a business context. Through engaging activities, attendees learn to cultivate adaptability, enhance collaboration, and nurture a culture of open-mindedness. The workshop emphasizes leveraging spontaneity and imaginative thinking to overcome challenges, encouraging participants to apply these newfound skills directly to their business processes. Ultimately, it equips businesspeople with the tools and mindset necessary to spark innovation within their organizations.

Afternoon Breakout Rooms

“Bridging the Gaps: Nonprofits, Schools and Government Working Together” – A panel discussion about ways that nonprofits and faith-based organizations can collaborate with school districts and government to address the needs in the community. This panel will feature Joan McDonald, Director of Operations for Westchester County Government; Megan Mastrogiacomo, Ossining School District Community School Leader, Emily Saltzman, Deputy Director of Operations for Westchester County Government; and Dr. Raymond Sanchez, Superintendent of the Public Schools of Tarrytown.

 “Burn Bright, Not Out: How to Achieve More by Beating Burnout & Building Resilience” – Hamza Khan will explore the transition from chronic overwhelm to sustainable high performance. Attendees will learn to: recognize 12 stages of burnout (and which ones they’re going through), understand the negative consequences of stress on themselves and others, and learn how to prevent burnout and achieve more using a simple 6-step method.

“Capacity Building to Get Grants: A Clinic for Grassroots and Emerging Organizations” – Alison Paul and Deborah Brown of Grant Professionals of Lower Hudson will lead a clinic for grassroots and emerging organizations about launching grant writing efforts and understanding where grants fit into the overall revenue picture. Attendees will share barriers they face as they start applying for grants. After a quick survey of needs, the session will address: what you need to have in place to apply for grants, the importance of good grant prospects, how to put your best foot forward, what to expect if you do win grants, and where to go for more help.

Technical Difficulties Prevented This Breakout Room to be Recorded.

Westchester Breathes – Are YOU?  Westchester Library System offered an opportunity to experience and learn gentle movement, breathing and relaxation exercises that reduce stress and anxiety, enhance concentration and balance your emotions. These exercises are simple and evidence-based – which is to say …they work! This class will give you the basics, share the science on why this works and take you through simple techniques that you can incorporate into your life right now. No special equipment, no special clothes – come as you are – just you and your breath.

Thank you to Our Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor

Nonprofit Sponsors

Thank you to the Summit Steering Committee

Heath Bloch      

Anne Bradner   
Carver Center

Pat Brigham      
Westchester Library System

Cindy Delfino    
YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester

Joanne Dunn 
Youth Shelter Program of Westchester

Nancy Eberhardt             
Pro Bono Partnership

Karen C. Erren    
Feeding Westchester

Jan Fisher           
Nonprofit Westchester

Susan W. Fox, Ph.D.        
Westchester Institute for Human Development

Jeanette Gisbert              
Volunteer New York!

Pam Goldstein   
Westchester Jewish Council

Cosette Gutierrez
Latino U College Access

Kathy Halas       
Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc.

Tiffany Hamilton             
YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester

Stefanie Hubert
Cornell Cooperative Extension

Cindy Kanusher, Esq.

Pace Women’s Justice Center

Joseph D. Kenner            

Cynthia  B. Knox, Esq.    
Caring for the Hungry & Homeless of Peekskill

Anahaita Kotval, Esq.
Lifting Up Westchester

Allison  Lake
Westchester Children’s Association

Jirandy  Martinez
Community Resource Center

Becky Mazzanobile
Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle

Hillary Millman 
Association of Development Officers

Richard Nightingale        

Lucria Ortiz        
Yonkers Family YMCA 

Nancy Patota    
Burke Rehabilitation Hospital

Alison Paul         
Grant Professionals of the Lower Hudson

Dante R.H. Reda
The LOFT LGBTQ Community Services Center

Sam Wallis         
Yonkers Partners In Education (YPIE)

Judith Watson  
Westchester Community Health Center, Inc.