Business On Board

Business on Board is Philadelphia’s only leadership development program that trains professionals in nonprofit board service and matches them with arts + culture nonprofits to serve as board members.

With a comprehensive program led by local faculty and facilitators versed in the arts + culture sector, participants are equipped with the knowledge, strategies, and tools to maximize their effectiveness and understanding of board leadership. Professionals seeking to serve on a board and those already serving on a board are welcome to participate.

The past year has brought unparalleled change to the arts + culture community amidst a pandemic and national civil unrest. With an economy reopening, organizations are reexamining their purpose, practices, and sustainability for an unpredictable future. Now is the time for board members to play an extraordinary role in shaping the direction of the arts and culture sector.


Board-Executive PartnershipEvaluation (Board, Executive, Programs)Onboarding
Board EngagementFinancial ManagementPower, Privilege, and Bias
Board Role DescriptionsFundraisingRecruitment
CommunicationGovernanceStrategic Planning
Community EngagementLegal and FiduciarySuccession Planning
Diversity, Equity, and InclusionNonprofit StructureVision, Values, and Mission

This program is designed and led by the Arts + Business Council’s Program Manager, Creative Community Leadership Development Elizabeth (Liz) Thompson. Please visit the facilitator section to learn more about her background.

The 2022 Business on Board application is now CLOSED. Please stay tuned for future updates.

Applications Are Closed


The 2022 season will be conducted virtually. The bi-weekly format includes one mandatory hands-on participatory session and one recorded webinar that can be viewed anytime.



The program kicks off through an exploration of nonprofit structure, and board governance, then investigates board leadership through DEI frameworks. Later, dive deeper into individual board roles and the board-executive relationship

January 11, 8:00AM – 10:30AM
January 13, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Recorded Webinar Available On Demand



Identify effective organizational missions, visions, and values and hone in on the board’s role in strategic development. Understand the board’s responsibility in evaluating programs, board members, and the executive director.

January 18, 8:00AM 10:30AM
Optional Cohort Networking Meet-Up (Cohort Only) January 19, 12:00PM 1:00PM
January 20, 6:00PM– 7:00PM | Recorded Webinar Available On Demand



Build a toolkit on how to take the lead when entering and navigating new organizational cultures and board dynamics. Learn how to be an organizational representative who can successfully weave community engagement strategies before pivoting into board legal and fiduciary responsibilities.

January 25, 8:00AM – 10:30AM
January 27, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Recorded Webinar Available On Demand



Master nonprofit funding streams and models to identify areas of growth. Embrace fundraising responsibilities through new perspectives while practicing the ask, followed by an in-depth review of board financial management.

February 1, 8:00AM – 10:30AM
February 3, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Recorded Webinar Available On Demand



Investigate diversity, equity, inclusion, and access as it relates to board leadership and recruitment. Know the signs of whether an organization is actively working toward meaningful growth and think critically on the effects of diversifying a board.

February 8, 8:00AM – 10:30AM
Optional Alumni Networking Meet-Up February 9, 4:00PM – 5:00PM
February 10, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Recorded Webinar Available On Demand


February | Match and introduce participants to organizations
April 27, 9:00AM – 10:00AM | Cohort check-in and update
June | Individual cohort check-in and update


“Business on Board was truly valuable for its mix of theory and practical learning at the same time. The curriculum was really enlightening, engaging and forced me to participate in the discussions which were instrumental in the decision I made to join a board. From selecting the right board to having practical ideas to use during the observership – the mix was perfect.

Some takeaways were understanding the importance of a mission to a nonprofit and how to think of nonprofit structure as having 4 walls of a house that all have to be strong. A big learning moment for me was when I observed a board discussing a sensitive issue. How the board members shared their views and how the discussion was structured and concluded was great for me to observe, especially since it drew upon what we were learning in the program curriculum. Lastly, I came out with new appreciation for the strength of the Philadelphia arts and culture community and the opportunities it has to positively impact diverse communities in the region.

While connecting with cohort members can be challenging in a virtual format, I have made a handful of meaningful relationships that should be long lasting. These connections were all fostered from conversations during the program’s breakout sessions.”

Joseph Mukurazia
Director, Investment Strategy & Advice, Private Wealth Management, SEI

“Business on Board provided a very engaging and meaningful way to learn about nonprofit board governance, build relationships with professionals in Philadelphia, and get plugged into the nonprofit community. I appreciated the hands-on support to find a board that was a good match for my strengths, skills and interest, as well as the opportunity to observe my board before officially joining them. Finally, I found the curriculum to be highly engaging and full of valuable information – I felt very prepared entering my board service. ”

Christie Irizarry
Strategy Senior Principal, Accenture

Spring 2022 Faculty

Bobbi Block Headshot

Bobbi Block is an experiential Facilitator and Coach with a unique background in both training and the performing arts, specializing in Relationship Management, Collaboration, Leadership, Presence, Creativity, and Presentation Skills Development.  In addition to her consulting work, she is an Independent Faculty member of The Wharton School’s Executive Education Institution, a Senior Affiliate with The Ariel Group, a Human Strategy consultant for Bracken Leadership, and a Designer and Instructor for the leadership program  Work.Life.Leader. Bobbi teaches and performs Improvisational Theatre in Philadelphia and is an Adjunct Professor in the Theatre Department at Temple University and Drexel University.

Angela Coaxum Headshot

Angela Coaxum is a Manager with Your Part-Time Controller, LLC, leading the Delaware market in providing Controller/CFO services as well as internal control, financial and operational management consulting services to clients. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Public Accounting from Iona College she pursued an auditing career with Ernst & Young, LLP in New York. That is where she first realized her passion for working with healthcare and not-for-profit organizations. Angela left Ernst & Young as a Senior Manager and relocated to the Delaware Valley where she moved into internal auditing with the Catholic Healthcare Audit Network serving as an Internal Audit Director. At Your Part-Time Controller, LLC Angela provides direction and oversight for Associates working in direct client service capacities with multiple not-for-profit organizations.

Angela is Co-Director of the Children’s Ministry at Seeds of Greatness Bible Church in New Castle and lives with her family in Bear, DE.

Dennise Maurice Dumpson Headshot

Dennis Maurice Dumpson is an author, thought leader, strategic consultant, and racial equity practitioner. He is Founder and Principal Consultant of #InvestBLK, a boutique racial equity & strategic planning consulting firm specializing in strategy development, training, and coaching for nonprofits and leaders. Prior to #InvestBLK, Dennis served as a Diversity Teaching Fellow & Lecturer with Community College of Philadelphia.

Previously, he served as the first Director of Community Engagement & Outreach at the Philadelphia International Airport, Managing Director of Development & External Impact at KIPP Philadelphia Schools, and Vice President of Development at Opportunity Finance Network. He has also served in a variety of multi-disciplinary consulting roles for organizations including Philadelphia250 (via USA250), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, La Salle University, Lincoln University, Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, CORA Services, and KIPP Philadelphia Schools.

Peter Mostachetti Headshot

A 24-year IBM veteran, Peter Mostachetti started out as a storage specialist, and eventually followed his passion to Leadership Development, and Talent Transformation. With experience engaging audiences in the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Peter specializes in engagement, feedback, managing dilemmas, fostering collaboration, transformational leadership, and using Agile techniques to drive cultural transformation. Peter is an accomplished actor having performed in and around the Hudson Valley and Off-Broadway. He is a sought-after speaker at both national and international conferences, and a four-time speaker at the United Nations. As a NYS Licensed Master Social Worker, he has always been committed to mentoring, coaching, leading teams; helping people to find their hidden strengths and values with a mind toward moving forward. In his spare time, he’s an executive coach, and works with local area schools through the Gay, Lesbian, Education Network (GLSEN) to develop students and educators, making schools safer for all.

Tanya O'Neill Headshot

Dr. Tanya O’Neill is a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Crusader. She uses her expertise as a strategist, consultant, public speaker, facilitator, and coach to help leaders, teams, organizations, and individual contributors develop the skills and work environments that positively impact people, performance, and productivity. Her diverse academic credentials include a degree in Nursing (BSN), Human Services (MHS), and Psychology (PsyD). She also holds multiple professional certifications that include: MBTI, Crucial Conversations, Emotional Intelligence Learning System (EILS), and Diversity Practitioner. Alongside her background in leadership development and DEIB, she is a military veteran having served with the United States Air Force.

Jenn Richards Headshot

Jenn Richards is a nonprofit consultant with over fifteen years of experience in fundraising, strategic communications, project management, and program design. She has worked with nonprofit organizations including Teach for America, the Association for Public Art, and the Girl Scouts. In 2018, Jenn founded High Gear Consulting Group to provide leadership and integrated strategic support to nonprofit leaders and boards during times of change or growth. She frequently serves as Interim Executive Director for organizations undergoing leadership transitions.

Laura Solomon Headshot

Laura N. Solomon, Esq. is the founder of Laura Solomon & Associates. LS&A is a law firm devoted to the representation of nonprofit, charitable, and other tax-exempt organizations and philanthropic individuals. Ms. Solomon and her associates serve as outside, general counsel to hundreds of organizations, providing a full range of corporate and tax legal services that include representation for mergers, joint ventures, affiliations, and complex financings. LS&A clients include public charities and private foundations, community foundations, museums, hospitals, schools, religious groups, business, environmental, animal welfare, amateur sports organizations, social clubs, and political action committees. These organizations range in size from small start-up organizations to large social service providers and multi-national charities that conduct international grant-making.

Carla Thomas Headshot

Dr. Carla Thomas is President and Founder of The Realize Leadership Group LLC., a consultancy that specializes in diversity & inclusion services and has worked with clients ranging from higher education to global fortune 500 organizations in sectors that include: Higher Education, Technology, Life Sciences, Financial Services, Retail, and Wholesale Consumer Goods. Carla currently sits on the Advisory boards of The University of Pennsylvania’s Chief Learning Officer Doctorate Program, Saint Joseph’s University’s Organizational & Leadership Development graduate program, as well as The Academy of Natural Sciences.

Elizabeth Thompson Headshot

Elizabeth (Liz) Thompson is an arts and culture leader and process investigator forever seeking aha moments in personal growth, for herself and others, while traversing mixed-race identity. Liz leads professional leadership development programs at the Arts + Business Council; is a current board member of the Arts Administrators of Color Network; and a founding member of the Arts & Culture Jawn, a burgeoning BIPOC arts administrators group in Philadelphia. Her nonprofit management experience is with grassroots and small nonprofits, most recently with Asian Arts Initiative and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL).

Organizational Observerships

The observership component of Business on Board serves two purposes: 1) The Arts + Business Council hopes it will lead to an official elected board position; and 2) It supplements the Business on Board curriculum by applying learnings in the field with an arts + culture board. Organizations are expected to provide participants with information in advance to attend any board-related activities, including board meetings, over the course of the observership. Organizations are encouraged to share activities and materials that further highlight and provide insight into their organization, such as upcoming events, promotional material, internal documents, and introductions to other board members, board alumni, and organizational staff.

The Arts + Business Council is grateful to have a long-standing reputation and following in the area with arts + culture organizations. Over 70 organizations participated last year as host organizations. Their range of disciplines varies widely; arts education, music, theatre and performing arts, and visual arts are among the top represented. Five counties were represented in 2021, with 78% from Philadelphia. The Arts + Business Council primarily attracts grassroots and small-sized (under $5M annual budget) organizations that are evenly distributed between adolescent/growing and established/mature life cycles.

The Arts + Business Council is committed to finding the right organization for each participant; participants receive further support as they become part of Business on Board’s network of over 900 alumni.

For Professionals Interested in Business On Board

When considering the program, individuals may choose whether to participate in the curriculum only or to participate in the curriculum and be matched with an organization through the observership component. This year the Arts + Business Council is pleased to offer the recorded sessions individually to Business on Board alumni and current board members of active host organizations. The Arts + Business Council recommends the following rates depending on the size of the business or organization. A 20% discount may be arranged when multiple individuals participate from the same institution. Payment is due prior to the first session.

CategoryWith ObservershipCurriculum Only
Businesses Sponsoring Employees
     Large (>50 employees)$3,000$1,500
     Small (<50 employees)$2,000$1,000
     Business Professionals Paying Out of Pocket or Self Employed$1,000$500
Nonprofits Sponsoring Current Board Members
     Mid-Size and Large ($5M->$10M Budget)$1,000$750
     Grassroots and Small (<$1M-$5M Budget)$750$500
Access to Individual Recorded Webinars for Business on Board Alumni and/or Current Board Members of Host Organizations

  1. January 13, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Board Role Descriptions and the Board-Executive Partnership
  2. January 20, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Evaluation (Board, Executive Director, Programs)
  3. January 27, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Legal and Fiduciary Responsibilities
  4. February 3, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Financial Management
  5. February 10, 6:00PM – 7:00PM | Recruitment (Board and Community)

Many employers support the program fee as an investment in leadership development, community engagement, and good corporate citizenship. Interested individuals are encouraged to inquire about their professional development with their department and/or supervisor. The Arts + Business Council is available to assist with facilitating a conversation between an interested professional and their employer.

Philanthropic grants enable the Arts + Business Council to provide financial assistance. If an organization or business is interested in participating but the fee poses a hardship, the Arts + Business Council may be able to accommodate different budgets.


The Business on Board participant cohort is a diverse mix of approximately 50 professionals per season. The majority of participants are from the private sector in mid- to executive level careers and have had limited engagement with the arts + culture nonprofit sector. Professionals from larger nonprofits and higher education have also participated. While the curriculum serves as an introduction geared toward business professionals, individuals with varying experience and across sectors will benefit from the curriculum.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the cohort is full. The Arts + Business Council encourages early application submission to ensure a spot.

Yes! While the majority of Business on Board’s participants have a business background with limited experience in the arts + culture nonprofit sector, ABC welcomes participants from all sectors who are interested in learning the fundamentals of board leadership.

Yes! Professionals already serving on a board are welcome to participate in the curriculum only and not in the observership component. Please see the “Curriculum Only” column in the Rates section for more details.

During the five-week curriculum portion, participants can expect to dedicate approximately 5 hours per week. Observership weekly time commitments and overall length will fluctuate based on the organization a participant is matched with.

Due to Business on Board’s participatory format and a demand from organizations to recruit local board members, only individuals from the Greater Philadelphia area are encouraged to apply to the full curriculum. Business on Board alumni from any location may sign up for the individual recorded webinars.

Matching organizations and participants internally through an objective assessment is a key component to the success of the match. For this reason, ABC does not typically share a list or accommodate placement requests. We encourage participants to trust the process with the understanding that the Arts + Business Council is committed to finding the right match.

Applications Are Closed

For Organizations Interested in Recruitng Through Business on Board

The Arts + Business Council works with over 70 organizations seeking board candidates. While more activity happens during the Business on Board program season, matches take place throughout the year. Organizations are encouraged to complete the application below at any time if they are interested in recruiting board members through the Arts + Business Council.

Request a board member

There is no cost to be an active organization and host a participant. However, there is a $250 placement fee if an organization elects a Business on Board participant or alumnus into its board of directors. For questions regarding financial assistance or organization eligibility, please contact Liz Thompson at [email protected].

Title Sponsor


Supported In Part By

High Gear Consulting Group
PNC Arts Alive
The Realize Leadership Group
Your Part-Time Controller

More Opportunities for Leadership Development

Level Up
Learn more
Learn more
Learn more