All About Boards: Government Relations 2019

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This workshop is part of a 4 part series called All About Boards. For more information and to register for the entire series please click here.


When the nonprofit sector engages in public policy and government relations, it leads to better decisions and programs with more impact at the community level. We will explore the role of a board of directors in public policy and government relations.

Join us to learn how a nonprofit can build relationships at municipal, provincial and federal levels of government, and the role of governance volunteers in developing organizational strategy related to advocacy and public policy. This workshop will help organizations build capacity to effectively engage with government and influence and shape public policy.

In this session you will learn:

  • The basics of how government works
  • How to build relationships that last & influence government and public policy
  • The role of the board of directors in government relations
  • What makes for good strategy in public policy and government relations
  • How to use storytelling when connecting with government
  • The various opportunities and meetings for connecting with government

Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Target Audience: Board Members, Executive Directors, board support staff  and those interested in learning about becoming a volunteer board member

About the Presenters:

Sara Middleton is Director, Community Impact at United Way Elgin Middlesex, a regional charity working to improve lives and build community by engaging a variety of partners and mobilizing action.

As a member of the senior management team, Sara is responsible for planning and implementing the organization's community impact strategy, including allocation of approximately $6 million in community funding annually. Sara's day-to-day activities include government relations, advocacy and working with diverse stakeholders to come up with innovative solutions to the biggest social challenges facing our communities today.

Sara is a graduate of Maytree Policy School and has a Hons BA Recreation & Leisure Studies Co-op (Business, Parks) from University of Waterloo.

Sara’s previous professional roles include manager of an outdoor education centre with YWCA Edmonton, Program Director at YMCA Kitchener-Waterloo and coordinator of recreation programs. In addition, she has done independent contract work in the areas of fund development, program evaluation and planning.
Sara is a past Chair of the Alberta Camping Association Board of Directors and has been a board member with Learning from Play Educational Foundation, Canadian Camping Association, London Training Centre, London Youth Advisory Council and St John the Evangelist Anglican Church. An advocate for active school travel, Sara is involved in school travel planning initiatives at Lord Roberts French Immersion Public School. An avid runner, Sara is an ambassador for sport hydration company nuun.

Michelle Baldwin is Executive Director of Pillar Nonprofit Network and helped to co-create Innovation Works and VERGE Capital in London, Ontario. As a social innovator whose personal mission is to be a community connector, Michelle is passionate about connecting people and organizations. Michelle is a firm believer that nonprofits are integral to our community and that business, government and nonprofit sectors must work collaboratively to strengthen it. She has extensive experience in nonprofit management, social enterprise, social innovation, social finance, communications and fundraising.

In the development of Innovation Works a 32,000 sq ft co-working space for social innovators, Michelle was involved in bringing innovative social finance tools including a 1 million dollar community bond and 1.2 million in social finance loans to make the project possible. She currently serves on the Board of the Ontario Nonprofit Network and Atlohsa Native Healing Services. Michelle currently sits on the Premier’s Advisory Committee on Community Hubs, Community Economic Advisory Panel with City of London and Entrepreneur Support Network. She is also a past board member of Huron University College where she was the chair of the Campus Community Advisory Committee and the London Health Sciences Community Advisory Council.

Pillar Nonprofit Network has been recognized with the June Callwood Outstanding Voluntarism Award from the Ontario government and London Convention Centre Ambassador Award. Michelle was the recipient of an Honorary Diploma from the Faculty of Media, Arts, Design from Fanshawe College and Green Umbrella Award from the Urban League of London for demonstrating outstanding community citizenship and leadership in the City of London. Michelle holds a Master of Educational Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, as well as a Communications & Public Relations Professional Certificate from Western, Volunteer Management Certificate from Fanshawe College and completed the Maytree Policy School and Banff Centre for Creativity & Arts Foundations of Purpose program.

Generously Supported by the City of London

Thank you to our 2019 Learning and Development Sponsors:

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