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Spotlight: Elements and Impacts of Relational Leadership

June 26 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Spotlight on Elements and Impacts of Relational Leadership

Virtual – Live/Online

Fee: $135 for MCN members / $175 for nonmembers

Register Now


Join us for a day of digging into the many elements and impacts of relational leadership. Participants of this Spotlight will:

  • Examine internal and external relationships that nurture reciprocity, trust, and build toward organizational longevity
  • Learn the importance of knowing and caring for oneself in reaching one’s full potential as an empathetic and respected leader
  • Address the power dynamics in leading openly and with curiosity
  • Gain knowledge and strategies for becoming a relational leader

Spotlights are day-long virtual trainings, offering four to five 60-minute sessions, each exploring a different aspect of a specific topic. Each session will be led by experienced nonprofit leaders and subject-matter experts. Spotlights are designed to offer practical information that can be applied immediately along with larger-picture questions and possibilities to consider for the long-term.

We know it’s difficult to carve out large chunks of time in your day to attend trainings, so we’ve spread the sessions out over a full day, with breaks in between. You will have access to the session recordings for three months!


Schedule (All times listed in Central Time)

9 – 10 a.m. // Heightening Self-Awareness to Become a More Effective and Inclusive Leader
Carolyn Evans, director, Master of Arts in Leadership and Center for Leadership Studies, Augsburg College

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. // Values-Based Leadership for Team Cohesion and Organizational Longevity
Athena Adkins, president, BetterWorld Partners

1 – 2 p.m. // Community Engaged Leadership: Strong, Authentic, and Personal Foundations
Maggie McKenna, program manager of Affiliate Impact, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. // Building a Strategic and Engaged Board of Directors that Centers Relationships
Molly Matheson Gruen, consultant, and Nonoko Sato, executive director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits


Event Details

This virtual event will take place on the Zoom platform. Your access link will be emailed to you the day before the event after 12 p.m.

This session will be recorded. The recording will be made available to registrants after the live event.

Captioning is provided automatically through Zoom. For information on requesting CART, ASL, or another accommodation, please visit our Registration Policies page.

Small Team Rate: Register three people from the same organization at once and the fourth registration is free! To register online, one person will login to their MCN account and will add colleagues to your group – your fourth colleague will be free! Visit our Events and Registration FAQ page (choose “How do I register multiple people?” from the FAQ options) for instructions on how to complete online group registrations.

To learn more about events, registration, and payment, visit our Event & Registration FAQ page.


Speaker Information

“Who do we Choose to Be? This is the question that drives BetterWorld Partners president Athena Adkins and her work. Throughout her 20+ year career in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector, her effort to leverage her experience and expertise and align her personal values with mission-driven organizations has led her to engage in deep, meaningful work at the intersection of organizational development and capacity building—where those ideas intersect with authentic leadership, intercultural organizational development, healing from trauma, and emotional intelligence. Essentially, she is a champion of the idea that it is not just “what we do,” but also “how we do it.”

Carolyn C. Evans, Ph.D., advances transformative, equity-minded leadership development for mid-career professionals across industries. As Director of Augsburg University’s MA in Leadership program, she leads an interdisciplinary department; works collaboratively with colleagues across the University to advance institutional, program and student leadership goals; and develops and facilitates courses. As a leadership development consultant, Carolyn coaches clients to achieve sustainable personal and organizational growth, designs and facilitates virtual and live learning sessions, and provides consultation for leaders in transition.

Molly Matheson Gruen works on building strong nonprofits for community good and advancing equity through better philanthropic practices with her consulting practice dawn:dusk. She spent eleven years at the Bush Foundation where she partnered with staff to consider how the Foundation’s grantmaking programs and practices could maximize its positive impact. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Molly spent twelve years working with nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities and internationally. She has also been an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University, where she co-taught a class about community action and social change. She recently wrapped up her tenure as chair of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits board of directors.

With a Master’s Degree in Human Development, Maggie McKenna has built her expertise in designing and facilitating transformational experiences for change-makers across the country. For over 15 years, Maggie has worked to lead initiatives that advance racial and environmental justice in order to build trust across difference and collective action in the face of polarization. She has worked with organizations and governments to address issues of oppression, amplify underrepresented voices, and develop leadership for social change. Skilled in facilitation, project management, curriculum and program design, as well as conflict mediation, Maggie shows deep commitment to creating warm and welcoming environments for individuals and groups to learn, grow, envision, and shape the future. Over the course of her career she has helped to launch over 30 businesses, mentored over 50 educators, and led trainings for over 500 individuals. Maggie now leads innovative, equity centered, interdisciplinary programming to build capacity, amplify impact, and deepen the networks of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

Nonoko Sato is the executive director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN), the largest state association for nonprofits in the United States. She oversees MCN’s strategic response to organizational and sector challenges through public policy and advocacy, responsive and educational programming, and sector-wide research. Nonoko serves or has served in a variety of advisory, board, and trustee roles, including Governor Walz’s Council on Economic Expansion, Equity Diversity Impact Assessment Committee of the Minneapolis Public Schools, Coalition of Asian American Leaders, Theater Mu, Carleton College, among others. Prior to these roles, Nonoko served as the executive director of SMART, an organization in San Francisco that champions educational equity by supporting students in overcoming systemic barriers on their journey to a college degree. Originally from Tokyo and Chicago, Nonoko graduated from Carleton College as a first-generation college student. She currently lives in Minneapolis with her family.


June 26
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
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Virtual – Live/Online