Business On Board

Business on Board trains professionals in nonprofit board service and matches them with arts and culture nonprofits seeking board candidates.

With a comprehensive program led by local experts in the sector, participants are equipped with the knowledge, strategies and tools to maximize their effectiveness and understanding of board leadership. Business on Board is the only program in the Greater Philadelphia area that focuses on the unique needs of the local arts and culture sector and offers a robust observership experience that lasts anywhere from a few months to a year. Professionals seeking to serve on a board and those already serving on a board are welcome to participate.

The past few years has brought unparalleled change to the arts and 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 more than ever, board members can 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, Inclusion and AccessNonprofit StructureVision, Values, and Mission

This program is designed and led by the Arts + Business Council’s Director Elizabeth (Liz) Thompson.

Applications for the 2023 cohort of Business On Board are now CLOSED.

Looking for a workshop to expand your knowledge on a specific board topic? Learn more about Business on Board’s Deep Dive Series.




Meet your cohort in person while laying the groundwork with nonprofit structure, governance and board-staff roles. Frame your program learnings through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens before diving deep into board legal and fiduciary responsibilities.

Tuesday, January 10 | 9:00AM – 12:00AM | In-Person Participatory Session*
Thursday, January 12 | 3:30PM – 5:00PM | Virtual Recorded Webinar



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, and how to plan for transitions through succession planning.

Tuesday, January 17 | 8:00AM – 10:00AM | Virtual Participatory Session*
Thursday, January 19 | 3:30PM – 5:00PM | Virtual Recorded Webinar



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.

Tuesday, January 24 | 8:00AM – 10:00AM | Virtual Participatory Session*
Thursday, January 26 | 3:30PM – 5:00PM | Virtual Recorded Webinar



Build a toolkit on how to enter and navigate new organizational cultures and board dynamics and how to be a successful organizational representative. Think critically on the effects of the diversifying a board through board recruitment and retention strategies.

Tuesday, January 31 | 8:00AM – 10:00AM | Virtual Participatory Session*
Thursday, February 2 | 3:30PM – 5:00PM | Virtual Recorded Webinar



Learn how to engage thoughtfully with the communities your organization serves. Circle back to diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to board leadership and know the signs of whether an organization is actively working toward meaningful growth. And finally, feel confident in identifying the ways your unique skillset and background can contribute to an organization.

Friday, February 10

12:00PM – 5:00PM | In-person Participatory Session
5:00PM  – 7:00PM | In-person Alumni Reception


February | Match and introduce participants to organizations

Wednesday,  April 26

9:30AM– 10:30AM  | 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. ”

Kelly Fromuth

Executive Director, PA Automotive Association Foundation

“All the sessions and presenters were insightful and I picked up tips and tricks from each one. One that stood out was how to manage digital presence by being more mindful and present. I now feel empowered and qualified to put my skills to use as a board member in a more meaningful capacity. Not only does ABC set you up for success by preparing you to serve, but they also assess your skills and experience to match you with organizations who will benefit most from your involvement as a board member”

Program Structure

The Business on Board curriculum will be a hybrid format over 5 weeks from January through February 2023. The format includes a blend of mandatory participatory sessions and recorded webinars that can be viewed anytime. Participants should plan to be fully present for the entire program, including attending/viewing all sessions in full, completing prework assignments and actively engaging with facilitators and the cohort throughout the program.

Immediately following curriculum completion, those individuals participating in an observership will select, and be introduced to, an organization. The organization and participant will engage with each other for a period of time determined at their discretion. ABC will hold an April observership check in to provide additional support.

2023 Facilitators

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.

Greg Corbin II is an award-winning poet and educator serving over 50,000 change-makers world-wide. He is the author of Breathing Ashes: A Poetic Guide to Walking Through the Fire and Coming Out Reborn. He is the co-founder of Brainchild Inspiration Group, which guides business and organization leaders to address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the greatest impact and the greatest compassion. A successful executive coach, poet, and entrepreneur for the past 20 years, Corbin leads transformational workshops and trainings centered on compassionate restorative justice and community-building around the world. He believes the voices of all generations can unlock the lessons of the past and keys to a brighter future. He has shared stages with Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, The Roots, Mos Def, Common, and has been featured on HBO, BET, CNN, and facilitated two Tedx Talks. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and son.

Candace Kenyatta

Candace Kenyatta is an esteemed practitioner with two decades of experience as an educator, learning and development professional, change management leader, executive coach, researcher, and knowledge management consultant. Candace is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Grovider, a knowledge management consulting firm committed to optimizing organizational performance and enhancing human lives. Candace uses her practitioner experience and her training in quantitative and qualitative research methodology to design research and data-informed solutions for leaders across industries.

Ruby Lopez Harper

Mexican, Mother, Wife, Dancer, Photographer, Poet and Social Justice Warrior. Ruby is an expert Arts Administrator with 20+ years’ experience in the sector. She is Chair of the Robert E. Gard Foundation, on the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County board, the Aha Creative board in Ft. Wayne, IN, the National Coalition on Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response steering committee and serves on the WETA Community Advisory Council. Ruby’s work has focused on equitable access, grantmaking, supporting individual artists, community development, economic development, cultural tourism, marketing, and public art. She draws on a varied background that includes corporate affairs, community relations, volunteerism, employee engagement, marketing and communications, and business administration. She was selected as a 2019 Arizona State University Practices for Change Fellow. She is a 2017 National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Advocacy Leadership Institute Fellow and Class of 2017 American Express Leadership Academy Alum.

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.

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.

Observing an Organization

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 and culture organizations. Over 70 organizations participated as  host organizations each year. Their range of discipline varies widely; arts education, music, theater and performing arts and visual arts are among the top represented in 2022, with 72% located in Philadelphia. The Arts + Business council primarily attracts grassroots and small-sized (under $5M annual budget) organizations that  are evenly distributed between adolescents/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.  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$750
Nonprofits Sponsoring Current Board Members
     Mid-Size and Large ($5M->$10M Budget)$1,000$750
     Grassroots and Small (<$1M-$5M Budget)$750$500
Nonprofit Professionals Paying Out of Pocket  $500$500

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.

Deep Dive Series

In an effort to offer continued learning to ABC’s Business on Board alumni, ABC is offering additional individual workshops that dive deeper into nonprofit board themes and topics.

These workshops are FREE to Business on Board alumni and open to the public at a sliding scale rate.

SUCCESSION PLANNING | TUESDAY, November 15, 2022 from 10:00AM – 12:00PM

New opportunities and personal challenges can pop up at any time. In addition to planning for resignations and retirements, boards should be prepared to support a valued leader who wants to take a sabbatical, participate in an extended professional development opportunity, or who needs to take leave of absence to welcome a baby, deal with a health crisis, or care for a family member. This workshop will cover the steps your board can take now to turn inevitable leadership transitions into constructive growth opportunities for the board, staff, and the organization.


Jenn Richards,
Founder/Principal, High Gear Consulting Group

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.


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 45-60 minutes per week on pre- and post-work, in addition to attending or viewing all the sessions. Observership weekly time commitments and overall length will fluctuate based on the organization a participant is matched with.

Anyone is welcome to participate that can travel to Philadelphia for the in-person sessions.

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.

This program is designed and led by the Art + Business Council’s program manager, Creative Community Leadership Development Elizabeth (Liz) Thompson. Please visit the facilitator section to learn more about her background. You can contact Liz Thompson at [email protected].

For Organizations Interested in Recruiting 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.

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

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

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