When I came across the opportunity to attend the BoardSource Leadership Forum (BLF) in Los Angeles on a Judith O'Connor Memorial Scholarship, I leapt. It gave me the opportunity to attend a conference that specializes in the exact governance skills I was looking to educate myself in — something I would not have been able to do without the financial support.

BLF was useful in that it married the theoretical with the practical. The sessions showed somebody like me — a young, green, passionate, nonprofit professional — where the rubber meets the road. We were encouraged to examine what we were doing, and perhaps most importantly, why we were doing it.

I left BLF after just a few short days with concrete, actionable ideas on how I could better work with my board to carry forward our mission; how I could partner with my board chair to grow our base of support and bring new partners into her sphere.

Since I received the scholarship, I've used the lessons from these BLF sessions and have worked with my board and our partners to move Inkululeko from strength to strength.

We've gone from one staff person to five.

We've grown our funding base in both South Africa and the United States.

We've forged new partnerships with entities like Syracuse University, the University of Michigan, Bloomfield College, and Oxford.

We've launched a social enterprise unit that our learners help operate in South Africa.

The seeds for this growth occurred in a number of places around the world, the place they were planted was at the BoardSource Leadership Forum in Los Angeles.

Read the full article on the BoardSource Leadership Forum by Jason Torreano and Beth Gibbons at BoardSource.