Power In Purpose

CNM's 501(c)onference
May 11-12, 2022

Join us May 11 & 12 for two days of inspiring talks, thoughtful discussions, and lively breakout sessions held virtually – all led by nonprofit innovators and visionaries adept at addressing our sector’s timely challenges by leading us to think differently, solve problems, and improve our impact. You’ll gain insights, explore ideas, and come away inspired all while developing relationships that benefit you, your organization, and the communities you serve.

This year, we're exploring the question:
What is our purpose and our power?

As you know, we’re living and working during an era of massive disruption, change, and progress – the pandemic’s devastation, vast public need, and opportunities to access unprecedented levels of public sector support. Much of the response to these factors and the opportunities they present lands squarely on the nonprofit sector’s shoulders.

It’s not a matter of if we can take these challenges on. We will. It’s who we are. Together our sector employs a significant portion of the Southern California workforce and we’re uniquely positioned to understand what it takes to change lives, improve the planet, and drive meaningful discussions that can influence policy and investment. So, how do we maximize our power to fulfill our purpose?

This conference forms around themes of recovery, equity, sustainability, and reflection. We’ll take stock of where our sector is today, what the future may hold, and what it could mean for your organization, your team, your community – all while finding both power and purpose in our shared efforts to create change. Leaders in education, organizational management, public policy, and justice reform will offer perspectives on equitable recovery, change management, elevating advocacy, adapting funding strategies, navigating ‘the great resignation,’ and lots more.

Please join us and explore our purpose as change-makers and collaborators who are making a difference for Southern California.


Day 1
Wednesday, May 11th

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Conference Platform Opens

9:00 AM - 9:10 AM

Opening Welcome

  • The Hon. Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the California State Assembly

  • Regina Birdsell, President and CEO, Southern California Center for Nonprofit Management

9:10 AM - 10:10 AM


What's Next for Southern California's Nonprofits?

  • Shawn Bolton, Chief Operating Officer, Inner City Law Center

  • Jennifer Holk, Social Innovation Leader,  Deloitte

  • Francis Johnson, Managing Director, Technology Services – IT Infrastructure, Tech Impact

  • Moderator: Regina Birdsell, President & CEO, Center for Nonprofit Management

The paradigm has changed and there’s no going back. Starting off our conference, this dynamic session takes a look at what we know now, and how those experiences and decisions are shaping what’s ahead for our area’s nonprofits and their collaborators. We’ll talk about how Inclusive leadership, giving choices, and the impact of technology are reshaping how organizations are working differently now and in the future.

10:10 AM - 10:20 AM


10:20 AM - 11:20 AM

Breakout Sessions

Session A:
The Power of Partnerships

Carrie Harlow, Director, Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative

Partnerships bring new vitality to organizations. They create opportunities that can help build capacity to sustain an organization’s mission and scale its vision. The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI), an LA-based fund that invests in nonprofit organizations during moments of transformation, talks about the growing interest in building collaboration and networks to achieve greater results. You’ll hear from organization leaders that took advantage of this funding opportunity and about their experiences.

Session B:
Building Your Advocacy Muscle

Dr. Wilma Franco, Executive Director, SELA Collaborative

Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations know what works to meet community need and change lives. Since government is the largest funder for social services, it’s imperative that policymakers hear from experts in our field. Many organizations are confused by the differences between lobbying and advocacy; learn the different ways your staff and board can engage with this vitally important audience to better achieve your organization’s mission.

Session C:
Equitable Nonprofit Workplaces: Perspectives & Possibilities


Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations know what works to meet community need and change lives. Since government is the largest funder for social services, it’s imperative that policymakers hear from experts in our field. Many organizations are confused by the differences between lobbying and advocacy; learn the different ways your staff and board can engage with this vitally important audience to better achieve your organization’s mission.

11:20 AM - 11:30 AM


11:20 AM - 12:30 PM


Building a Strategic Response to the Current Environment

With wide disparities in underserved communities, Los Angeles County has set a 10-year goal to improve the lives of people historically left behind with specific benchmarks. How can you be part of that important transformation? Learn more about this plan and explore how your organization can evolve to strengthen your anti-racism identity and have greater impact activating the goals for equality and justice.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Networking Meet ups (optional)

End of Day 1

Day 2
Wednesday, May 12th

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Conference Platform Opens

9:00 AM - 9:25 AM

Opening Welcome

  • Alyson Sattler, Vice President, Corporate Charitable Giving, The Capital Group Companies & Center for Nonprofit Management Board Chair

  • D’Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D. Executive Director of Racial Equity, Los Angeles County

9:25 AM - 10:10 AM


The Role of Nonprofits in Advancing Equity

With wide disparities in underserved communities, Los Angeles County has set a 10-year goal to improve the lives of people historically left behind with specific benchmarks. How can you be part of that important transformation? Learn more about this plan and explore how your organization can evolve to strengthen your anti-racism identity and have greater impact activating the goals for equality and justice.

10:10 AM - 10:20 AM


10:20 AM - 11:20 AM

Breakout Session

Session A:
Community Centered Transformation

Martha A. Rivas, Ph.D., CEO/Principal, Dr. Martha A. Rivas & Co.

Session B:
The Great Reshuffle: Agility in Tough Times

Clark Souers, Owner, Expert Effect

If you’re seeing higher-than-usual employee turnover and having difficulty hiring and retaining talented staff – you’re not alone. Hear how your peers are addressing the challenges and finding ways to influence retention and strengthen your organizational culture, particularly in today’s virtual and hybrid work environments.

Session C:
Addressing Bias, Bigotry, and Racism:
What is the role of nonprofit organizations this year and beyond

Reena Hajat Carroll, Executive Director, CCEJ

As a service provider, your mission is clear. This session for leaders around leading with equity asks: What else could you be doing more to address bigger problems in our community? These are difficult conversations that will take years to take root. Find out what your team can do to better understand how to move ahead with more intention and awareness.

11:20 AM - 11:30 AM


11:30 AM - 12:30 PM


Managing Change While Staying Focused

What are the current challenges that nonprofit executive directors are facing and what are the strategies for a more sustainable nonprofit sector? We’ve all participated in the surveys – what is the local data telling us about the current opportunities and challenges organizations are facing now and next year? As our sector expands, this session looks at changed expectations for boards of directors, donors’ growing demand for proving results, emphasis on work-life balance from staff, impact of funder collaboratives on giving, and the role of business as a partner in creating jobs and improving lives.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Networking Meet Ups (Optional)

End of Day 2


Meet our speakers, panelists, and presenters below. Check back soon as new speakers are added daily

regina birdsell 501(c)onference 2022Regina brings to the Southern California Center for Nonprofit Management a wide-range of diverse, entrepreneurial experiences and a reputation for leveraging public and private assets to achieve ambitious goals. For more than 25 years, Regina has been collaborating successfully with media, business, philanthropy, government, nonprofit executives, creating strategic partnerships throughout California to address complex problems. She launched her unique career path at Eyewitness News in Los Angeles before serving as press secretary for California’s Attorney General. Regina built the division of public affairs at Children’s Hospital, ran the New Los Angeles Marketing Partnership with Mayor Riordan and 100 corporate leaders, and was appointed by California’s Governor to lead the Office of Ratepayer Advocates at the California Public Utilities Commission. She was named as a Most Admired CEO by the Los Angeles Business Journal for her role as advisor to hundreds of leaders across the region.

shawn bolton 501(c)onference 2022Shawn Bolton is an integrity-driven and passionate nonprofit professional dedicated to enhancing and motivating under-represented communities. Shawn serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Inner City Law Center, a nonprofit legal aid-law firm serving systematically marginalized and vulnerable populations of Los Angeles. With more than 15 years’ experience in operations, program design, staff development, program implementation, and overseeing Federal, State, and locally-funded community programs, Shawn holds degrees in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, Education in Leadership and Change, and Public Health/Kinesiology. Shawn believes the key to a successful community-based approach is embedded in the intersections of these disciplines, each acting as an anchor to provide wrap-around services and eradicate poverty.

Learn more about Inner City Law Center.

Efrain Escobedo VicePresidentEducationImmigration CaliforniaCommunityFoundationCCFCircle 501(c)onference 2022Efrain is Vice President in charge of education and immigration programs at California Community Foundation. He has had an extensive career dedicated to increasing civic engagement and ensuring public policies and institutions not only serve but also empower our communities. He has worked both locally and nationally on efforts to increase citizenship, voter participation, and the U.S. Census and is widely recognized as an expert and active leader in Latino civic engagement and elections policy.

Learn more about California Community Foundation.

LizetteEscobedo AssociateVicePresidentofCivicEngagementandAdvocacy AltaMedHealthServices 501(c)onference 2022Lizette is the Associate Vice President of Civic Engagement & Advocacy for AltaMed Health Services. Prior to joining AltaMed, her roles at the NALEO Educational Fund included National Director of Civic Engagement and Director of National Census Programs where she led national efforts to ensure a full count of Latinos in the 2020 Census and a national effort to get out the Latino vote. Prior to that, she worked as the Communications Director for SEIU Local 2015, representing more than 390,000 long-term care workers in California. Lizette has dedicated more than 12 years of her career mobilizing and empowering communities to ensure they have a voice in the democratic process. In 2016, she served as a delegate for the 57th Assembly District and in 2019, Lizette was named Woman of the Year by California Assembly Majority Leader, Ian Calderon. Born and raised in Southeast Los Angeles, she earned a B.A. in Communications and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

Learn more about AltaMed Health Services.

WilmaFrancoEdD ExecutiveDirector SELACollaborative Circle 501(c)onference 2022As Executive Director of the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, Dr. Franco earned her doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne. Dr. Franco completed her undergraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her master’s degree at University of Southern California. Dr. Franco has more than 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector and community based programs with a strong background in program development, evaluations, partnership development, finance and development.

Learn more about SELA Collaborative.

michelle freridge 501(c)onference 2022Michelle joined AYC as the Development Director in 2002, became the Program Director in 2007, and was tapped to be the Executive Director in 2012. She completed a B.A. at Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Western Michigan University before moving to Southern California in 1999. After more than 20 years of direct service, development, and management work in the non-profit sector, she attended Loyola Law School’s evening program and was admitted to the California Bar in 2011. She is an Adjunct Professor at University of the West, where she teaches MBA classes with a non-profit focus. Deeply committed to empowering youth to succeed in life, Michelle sits on the Board of the Rosemead Kiwanis Foundation, the San Gabriel Valley Bar Association, and the Pasadena Community College President’s Asian American & Pacific Islander Advisory Committee.

Learn more about the Asian Youth Center.

ReenaHajatCarroll ExecutiveDirector CCEJ circle 501(c)onference 2022Reena is the Executive Director for California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) and is a seasoned non-profit leader with more than 14 years in the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity field. Her experiences run the gamut from program management, streamlining operations, volunteer and board cultivation to public speaking and fundraising. She holds a master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis Brown School of Social Work with an emphasis on social and economic development and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Occidental College, Los Angeles. Reena’s drive to work collaboratively with underserved communities is rooted in her strong belief that equity and inclusion are not negotiable in any segment of society.

Learn more about California Conference for Equality and Justice.

CarrieHarlow Director NonprofitSustainabilityInitiative Circle 501(c)onference 2022Carrie is founder and principal consultant for Harlow Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that supports collaborative philanthropy practices for greater impact. She currently serves as the Director of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, as well as a consultant to the national Sustained Collaboration Network and the LA Arts Recovery Fund. Prior to this, Carrie served as a Program Officer at The Ahmanson Foundation. She earned a master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s from Occidental College. Carrie currently serves on the Advisory Board of TeenTixLA and is a partner with Social Justice Partners, Los Angeles.

Learn more about Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative.

maura harrington 501(c)onference 2022An expert in the field of organizational development with a focus on strategic planning, Maura brings to CNM both consulting and training services to the nonprofit and public sectors. Maura’s extensive background includes serving as an adjunct professor at the USC School of Social Work, designing and delivering leadership workshops, and training for leadership development research studies through the Connective Leadership Institute where she serves as an advisory board member. Maura is an executive coach and a certified Governance Trainer through BoardSource. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Claremont Graduate School, an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, and a B.S. in Psychology from Georgetown University.

maral karaccusian 501(c)onference 2022Maral (she/her) is a public servant who is deeply committed to the advancement of progressive policies that defend and increase opportunities for children, older adults, and current and former foster youth. She serves as the Senior Children and Human Services Deputy for Supervisor Janice Hahn, where she focuses on developing and implementing policies for early care and education, child welfare, social services, domestic violence, issues pertaining to older adults, helping direct mental health resources to small community based agencies, and ultimately trying to ensure that the County’s safety net is reaching those who need it the most.

Learn more about the Office of Supervisor Janice Hahn, LAC Board of Supervisors.

francis jonhson 501(c)onference 2022Francis serves as Managing Director of Technology Services at Tech Impact, a nonprofit on a mission to use technology to better serve the world. In this role, he oversees the delivery of all technology infrastructure projects and cybersecurity, compliance, and support services, and leads a team of engineers and analysts supporting the work of thousands of nonprofit staff and volunteers across hundreds of organizations nationally. Francis is passionate about helping nonprofits build their technology and operational capacity to serve more constituents and communities efficiently and securely, and is constantly seeking new ways for organizations to fully adopt cost-effective technologies that strengthen their missions.

Learn more about Tech Impact.

claire knowlton 501(c)onference 2022Claire leads NFF’s work on full cost with nonprofits, funders, and government partners and authored the article: “Why Funding Overhead is Not the Real Issue: The Case to Cover Full Costs.” She leads several major initiatives, including NFF’s work to improve the flow of revenue and capital to organizations combating the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County, and a six-year effort that combines anti-racism, capacity building, and funding to develop new nonprofit arts models. Prior to joining NFF in 2014, Claire led a community-based art center in Los Angeles from financial distress to a model of excellence in programming and organizational management. She has also worked as an auditor and tax-preparer for nonprofits. Claire earned a Bachelor of Arts from University of the Pacific with a double major in economics and religious studies.

Learn more about Nonprofit Finance Fund.

alexis moreno 501(c)onference 2022Alexis is a Senior Strategist at the Center for Nonprofit Management with more than two decades of leadership experience in higher education and the non-profit sector. Her career has centered around building leadership capacity of staff and community members, organizational development, program evaluation and community-based participatory research. She has worked in and with organizations focused on educational equity, urban planning and local history, environmental advocacy, community health, systems change and family strengthening. A lifelong Southern Californian whose ancestors were born in the US, Mexico, and the Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico, she identifies as a first generation college graduate and white-collar professional. To nurture her resilience, she enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy, listening to podcasts, practicing yoga, learning about herbal medicine and other healing modalities, spending time in nature, and resting.

trisha muse 501(c)onference 2022Trisha Muse is the Director of Community Relations for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility. SoCalGas delivers clean, reliable and affordable energy to over 22 million consumers in 12 counties from Visalia to the Mexican border. In her current role, Muse is responsible for community investment, employee engagement and community involvement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing, from California State University at Fullerton.

She proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Southern California Leadership Network and the Discovery Cube Foundation of Los Angeles. And, she serves on the Board of Governors for KHEIR.

Learn more about SoCalGas.

ConfHeadshotCircle MarthaR1 501(c)onference 2022Born in Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico, Dr. Rivas was raised in Indio, California and has dedicated the last 25 years living, learning, and teaching in Los Angeles, CA. She is a first-generation academic scholar, holding four degrees from UCLA, including a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in race and ethnic studies. While she continues to teach at various universities, she served as Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at the community college level, expanding her knowledge on the lack of equity-driven efforts in this sector. With more than a decade of federal compliance and nonprofit executive leadership experience, she has led efforts to secure more than $500 million dollars for the greater Los Angeles region. Dr. Rivas is a critical race theorist and Chicana epistemic methodologist; she addresses white supremacy, systemic oppression, and the resilience of marginalized folks as we, collectively, decolonize our practices to hone into our intuitive and ancestral knowledge. She is a spoken-word theorist and poet, unapologetically speaking truth to power as a link towards our collective liberation.

DArtagnanScorzaPh.D. ExecutiveDirectorRacialEquityatLosAngelesCountyCEOCircle 501(c)onference 2022Dr. Scorza currently serves as the inaugural Executive Director of Racial Equity for Los Angeles County. In this capacity, he is tasked with championing the elimination of structural racism while also promoting efforts to deepen the County’s work on diversity, equity and inclusion. His life’s work is centered on building leaders who fight for equity in communities and schools. In his previous roles as the Executive Director of Social Justice Learning Institute, a UC Regent, and the President of the Board of Education for the Inglewood Unified School District; he launched programs that helped youth of color become social justice leaders and college graduates. He also helped pass policies that prioritized $160 million for student services across UC campuses and secured $350 million to support school construction for K-12 schools. As a U.S. Navy Iraq-War Veteran and civic leader, he has received numerous awards and accolades, including the UCLA Recent Graduate Achievement Award and recognition by the Empowerment Congress among its 40 Emerging Civic Leaders under 40.

Learn more about Los Angeles County.

ClarkSouers Owner ExpertEffect Circle 501(c)onference 2022In 1994, Clark began his human resources career which spans the entertainment, hotel, and nonprofit industries. His nonprofit expertise was gained through executive l-level HR at Penny Lane (a large social services organization in Southern California) and through his role as Director of Human Resources & Talent Management for Community Partners where he provided HR consulting services to more than 125 emerging philanthropies that focus on dynamic social innovation.Clark is the founder and owner of EXPERT EFFECT, a company that provides human resources excellence for a minimal investment and surrounds business executives, entrepreneurs, athletes, and high performing students with a team of stress-resiliency experts. He is an Achieve Global, DDI, and Zenger Miller active trainer and after attending the Co-Active Training Institute, became an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. He was valedictorian of his class at Pepperdine University and earned an MBA from Arizona State University.

sean thomas breitfeld 501(c)onference 2022Sean co-directs the Building Movement Project. Prior to joining the BMP staff, he spent a decade working in various roles at Community Change, where he developed training programs for grassroots leaders, worked in the communications and policy departments, and lobbied on a range of issues, including immigration reform, transportation equity, and anti-poverty programs. Before joining Community Change, Sean worked as a policy analyst at UnidosUS, where he focused on employment and income security issues. He holds a master’s in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and a B.A. in social work and multicultural studies from St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Learn more about Building Movement Project.

torresbenjaminheadshot 200x200Circle 501(c)onference 2022Benjamin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech), a 501(c)(3) organization focused on addressing issues of racial equity and economic justice in low-income areas of Los Angeles through a social justice lens that empowers residents to lead the process of their community’s stabilization efforts. Benjamin’s entire career has been focused on placing the tools of democracy directly in the hands of society’s most marginalized residents through education, training, engagement and multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic community building. For the last 25 years, his voice and leadership have supported the South LA region’s Black/Brown neighborhoods to increase their social capital and economic opportunity through inclusive democratic and power building action and the strategic utilization of highly effective public, private, nonprofit and resident partnerships. Prior to becoming CDTech’s President and CEO in 2010, Benjamin served as the Vice President of the Working Democracy Division and Director of CDTech’s Community Planning program at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC); the MultiCultural Collaborative’s Community School Initiative in Watts; and, the Multi-Cultural Education Consortium in Santa Barbara.

Learn more about CD Tech.

Dr.DavidTurner ChancellorsPostdoctoralFellowatUniversityofCaliforniaLosAngelesTheMillionDollarHoodsProjecttheInstituteforAmericanCulturesatUCLA circle 501(c)onference 2022An activist scholar from Inglewood, California, David C. Turner III earned his Ph.D. in the Social and Cultural Studies in Education program at UC Berkeley, where his research focused on youth-based social movements, political identity, and resistance to the prison regime. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, including manuscripts in the American Educational Research Journal, Theory Into Practice, and the Berkeley Review of Education. A seasoned community organizer and educator, Dr. Turner has worked to negotiate and win demands for racial justice, secure funding, divest resources from punitive and harmful institutions, and coordinate direct actions in California and across the nation, all while teaching at both the K-12 and the postsecondary level. Dr. Turner worked in LA County with Boys and Men of Color at the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, where he co-led campaigns to change school discipline practices, support youth development investment, and end policies and practices that lead to criminalization in communities of color. As the manager of the BSS coalition, Dr. Turner was selected as an inaugural fellow for the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Data Fellowship through Policylink, and he was selected to be a member of the first cohort of John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows with the Weingart Foundation. Currently a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, Dr. Turner will join the Department of Social Welfare in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs as an Assistant Professor of Black Life and Racial Justice later this year.

Learn more about David Turner.


Thank you to the generous sponsors presenting this event:

Capital Group Logo 501(c)onference 2022
Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Deloitte Transparent 501(c)onference 2022
Enterprise 501(c)onference 2022
EastWestBank 501(c)onference 2022
edison international 501(c)onference 2022
first 5 la 01 501(c)onference 2022
JPMorgan Chase 501(c)onference 2022
kaiser permanente 01 501(c)onference 2022
MajesticRealty 501(c)onference 2022
UnionBank 501(c)onference 2022
Voya 03 501(c)onference 2022
To learn about sponsoring CNM’s 501(c)onference, please contact [email protected].


Sign up for CNM's eBlasts

Required *