The Executive Director’s Pro-D Day

May 14th, 2018

Simon Fraser University Downtown Campus,

515 West Hastings, Vancouver.


The 2nd Executive Director Pro-D Day is a one-day conference to help ED’s (and CEOs and Coordinators) of non-profits in BC be the best they can be. The event will consist of 6 workshops, a networking/collaboration session and a guest speaker. The program is designed as a space for openness and discussion, sharing solutions to common problems faced by those struggling to manage a non-profit but also as a venue for celebrating our successes. To buy tickets go to

Special Guest – Joan Garry

Joan Garry of ‘Non-profits are Messy’ and former Executive Director of America’s civil rights organization GLADD, will join participants in a live-stream virtual session to explore self-care questions like, how do we share the huge responsibilities that go with leading a non-profit? How do we keep it fun? What can we do to ensure the Board and the Board Chair especially is pulling their weight? There will be time for Q&A with the woman many people call the Dear Abby of non-profits.

The Workshops and Presenter Bios

9:20am to 10:40 Workshops:

#1 Assessing our impact: Challenges and Solutions for Executive Directors with Kylie Hutchinson

There is significant pressure on nonprofits to document their effectiveness for funders and other key stakeholders, however, proving your non-profit’s value isn’t always easy. In this session we’ll discuss your challenges and frustrations with evaluation and explore feasible solutions. Leave with practical tips and resources for moving forward with this important activity.

Kylie Hutchinson is an independent evaluation consultant with Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation. She combines her formal education and expertise in program evaluation and program sustainability planning with thirty years experience working in both the not-for-profit and public sector as a trainer, program manager, board member, and volunteer. She is the author of Survive and Thrive: Three Steps to Enhancing Your Program’s Sustainability, A Short Primer on Innovative Evaluation Reporting, and Evaluation Failures: 22 Tales of Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned.

#2 Managing (and maybe firing) challenging staff with Deena Chochinov

We will look at a framework for having collaborative and continuous conversations with staff about their performance and identifying the typical “traps” that leaders can fall into when managing difficult people Session will include tips, tools and techniques to support you and help keep you sane!

For over 20 years, Deena has worked as a consultant, coach, and counsellor with people and organizations seeking meaningful change. Trained by world-renowned leaders in the fields of psychology, facilitation and organizational development, Deena advises socially responsible businesses, not-for-profit and public sector organizations. Deena has a M. Ed. (Counselling Psychology), is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and a Family Enterprise Advisor™. She is a member of FEX, the Estate Planning Council of Vancouver and the BC Organization Development Network, and is certified to use a wide range of psychometric and organizational development tools. She is a Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

#3 Anti-colonial recruiting – building a truly diverse team with Bhupie Dulay

We will unpack different systems of oppression, recognize the ways that these systems impact diversity, and identify approaches to create safe-r, inclusive spaces for diverse folks.

Bhupie Dulay is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. Her approach is anti-oppressive, strength-based, and collaborative. Bhupie has several years of experience working and consulting with non-profit organisations, involved in social justice/advocacy work. In addition, Bhupie has her own private practice and is an instructor at VCC and Adler University. One of the courses she teaches specifically focuses on creating inclusive, diverse spaces in counseling and community services.

10:50-12:10 Workshops:

#4 Project management tools for busy ED with David leBlanc

An overview of some of the key project management challenges specific to non-profits, and tips to be able to set up your projects for success, reducing stress and strain on organizational leaders, employees and volunteers, as well as the communities you serve.

David works with individuals, teams and organizations, creating awareness of opportunities for growth and development. In building awareness of the dynamics at play in various systems we are a part of, and shedding light on potential blind spots, exists the opportunity to strengthen and/or build relationships, creating strong and effective teams.  Drawing on his background in operations management, as well as formal leadership training and various certifications, including EQi2.0 and EQ360, David challenges us to look at the world around us differently, and creates awareness of the influence we have as a result.

#5 Writing a kick-ass fund development plan with Grant Monck

This interactive session will give Executive Directors the tools to create a fund development plan with buy-in from board members, grass roots volunteers, key funders and staff. Grant Monck will outline key on-site techniques to identify perceptions, facts, issues and recommendations to increase revenue and move your mission forward.

Grant has over twenty years of experience as a board member, senior fundraiser and lawyer. His experience includes leadership of annual and capital campaigns, communications and government relations with BC and national based charities in the fields of conservation, education and health care. Specific expertise in major gift fundraising and gift planning. Grant established a private consulting firm in 2014 based in Vancouver providing services to clients from Hong Kong to Toronto.

#6 Following a founder – how to exit/take over gracefully with Lyndsay Poaps (and more!)

Meet three Executive Directors who took over for long-time founders and hear about lessons learned, unique issues to manage, and other fun tips.

Lyndsay Poaps is the Executive Director of LeadNow and was the founding ED of Check Your Head. She leads a discussion with other fellow post-founder EDs, Mebrat Beyene of WISH and Shahnaz Rahman of the Surrey Women’s Centre.

3:00-4:20 Workshops:

#7 ED performance reviews – How to support your Board to do the right thing with Sylvia Ceacero

How to set yourself  and your Board for success –  Engaging your board in the performance review conversation. Aiming high – Tying strategic and operational plans to performance reviews. The nitty gritty – Developing a performance review that is quantitative and qualitative. Reviews that lead to rewards – Performance review and professional development and/or other incentives. Bringing it all together.

Sylvia has over 20 years of executive management experience in the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors with a focus on transformational change. Sylvia has an MBA from HEC Montreal, an MA in Political Science from McGill University, and several executive certificates from Queen’s University and a Master Certificate in Risk Management from York University. Sylvia partners with the board of directors, members, stakeholders and staff in their strategic, policy and governance roles as well as drive vision, implement strategy and excel in governance practices. Sylvia’s achievements include bringing organizations the desired vision and results that drive organizational mission.

#8 Strategic Planning – vision, mission and all that jazz with Alison Brewin

Why do strategic planning? If we’re going to spend all that time and money bringing everyone together, how will I know its worth it? How can a plan help when things are changing constantly? And that whole ‘vision’ thing? Torturous word-smithing exercise that ends in a garbled and uninspiring statement?  We’ll talk about the fundamentals or vision, mission and stratetgic thinking that will not only help your organization do better, but has the added benefit of keeping your Board focused on the horizon and you can all keep the big picture goals at the centre of your day.

Alison is the Executive Director of Vantage Point. For eight years she ran a successful consulting business supporting non-profits with strategic planning, evaluation and interim management. She was the Executive Director of West Coast LEAF and has provided interim ED services to a number of non-profits in the Lower Mainland including Access Pro Bono, VAST and the Surrey Women’s Centre.

#9 Fundraising – getting and managing grants so more come your way with Njeri Kontulahti

Vancity Community Investment Manager Njeri Kontulahti and her colleagues will come and talk about practical tips from the inside – how grantors think – to help you be successful with those project grants.

As Manager of Community Investment at Vancity, Njeri (Jeri) Kontulahti, works to build a bridge between the opportunities and needs of our communities and the products, services, advice, and partnership Vancity can offer as a financial cooperative. She is responsible for Vancity’s ‘integrated community planning’, including their granting programs. Njeri is actively involved in community development, having volunteered on the Board of the Abbotsford Community Services, member of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition, the Advisory board of the KPU NGO and Nonprofit Studies, Kinghaven Housing and various committees within the Surrey board of trade. She has a degree in economics and sociology from the University of Manitoba and in her spare time is currently undertaking the St Mary’s Masters of Management of Cooperatives and Credit Unions program in Halifax.


Open Table Discussions

Conference participants will be asked to propose topics, issues and questions that they are interested in exploring and that they are willing to lead/facilitate.  During the lunch hour, participants will be grouped by common topic interests and seated at tables for discussions. There will be further opportunities to continue networking over wine at the end of the day.


$125 for the whole day, including lunch and refreshments throughout. The day’s activities are restricted to Executive Director’s only (other than a few of the presenters) and otherwise titled non-profit managers (ie CEOs and Operations Managers etc). This will ensure it is a peer-to-peer conversation (no board members, no other staff, no private or public sector leaders who think they have what it takes to be an ED.)

To buy tickets go to or search Executive Director Pro D Day on Eventbrite. Any profits will go to Vantage Point’s bursary program! Contact for info


SFU Continuing Studies

Vancity Community Foundation