Nonprofit and Leadership Academy

Every year we kick off the year’s education events with our Nonprofit and Leadership Academy: Starting Point – a half-day of learning and networking for nonprofits and business leaders. After that we host a monthly workshop that gives a deeper dive into fundraising, storytelling, leadership development, business operations and more.

Upcoming Events




Men, Mental Health and Success

When: May 9, 2024| 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce | 10000 Avalon Blvd, Suite 100 Alpharetta, GA 30009

Cost: Free

Mental health matters, and men’s mental health is often overlooked.

Join us for an evening with Dr. Emmett Shaffer, The Mental Health Concierge as we discuss men’s mental health and success. We’re partnering with 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta this May to help bring more awareness to mental health.

Past Events: NPLA Starting Point

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT – Elizabeth Hornbuckle, Principal Wellspring Resource

Session 1: Priming the Pump – Building Your Reserve Fund

Reserve funds can be a key financial piece of the puzzle as a nonprofit seeks financial resiliency. But what exactly are reserve funds? Reserve funds are unrestricted funds set aside from normal operating funds for the nonprofit. It’s an organization’s savings account. Developing healthy reserves is a key financial milestone for building a sustainable organization. It should be one of the priorities when gaining maturity and moving past the scarcity mindset. Reserves are meant for emergencies in which expected income falls through or unexpected expenses hit.

Session 2: Implementing Your Reserve Fund

When establishing your nonprofit’s operating reserve policy, a key best practice is to have a clear understanding among your leadership and staff to ensure all parties agree on the parameters for using it. Involving different points of view in drafting the policy will improve the process of implementing and managing the reserve. Learn best practice solutions

Meet the Speaker

Leveraging over three decades of nonprofit fundraising experience, Elizabeth Van Winkle Hornbuckle is passionate about developing strategies to help exceptional organizations overcome financial barriers that prevent program growth and success. Elizabeth started Wellspring in 2005 with aspirations of helping nonprofits increase their impact on the Atlanta community.

A graduate of Brenau Academy and Oglethorpe University, Elizabeth became the Development Manager for Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History prior to its opening in 1992. There she managed all fundraising, including a $20 million capital campaign. She later served as Director of Development for Parent to Parent of Georgia, where she increased donations by more than 300 percent. At Foxhall Events, she worked with six figure corporate sponsors to ensure sponsorship value and benefits.

When she is not working, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family and serving as a deacon at Peachtree Christian Church.

LEADERSHIP – Kent Vaughn, Clear Living

Session 1 & 2: Unlock Potential and Improve Performance workouts designed to ignite mastery in productivity, purpose, goals, and resilience

Learn how to maximize productivity within your organization, Live with purpose and passion, set goals and crush them, AND bounce back from setbacks

Meet the speaker

In the past 30 years, Kent has helped 100’s of organizations improve their Performance and Results. He has conducted over 2,000 days of Strategy & Execution Consulting, Leadership Development, and Process Improvement work.

He is the CEO and Co-Founder of both an international consulting firm and a software company with licensees in North America, India, Asia, and Europe.

Kent was a Managing Director at Franklin Covey with annual team sales of $ 15 million+. He also served as a Senior Execution Leader working with the Executive teams at Nissan, Wal-Mart, ServiceMaster, Covenant, US Express, ABF Freight, Asurion, and many more.

He served as a Financial and Operations Leader with a Fortune 100 company in their two Flagship Facilities.

Kent graduated from the University of Alabama; where he completed a B.S. in Business Administration/Finance and an MBA (all in four years) graduating with Honors. He served as a Soviet Military Analyst with the US Army (stationed near the East German Border for 2 1⁄2 years) and was a Paperboy for two years.

Kent and his wife (the love of his life) have been married for over 35 years and have three amazing children and one grandson. He loves swimming, running, cycling, Martial Arts, working out, and hanging out with his family. Kent continues to be goal-oriented earning his 1st black belt on his 40th birthday, running a marathon for his 45th birthday, completing a mile swim for his 50th, and completing multiple Sprint Triathlons for his 55th.

Kent is a Critically Acclaimed Author of the books “Everyone Can Lead,” “The 3 Keys of Execution,” and “The Get CLEAR Leadership Series.”

BRANDING – Brian Weiss, Partner/Vice President, The Faces of Your Town

Session 1 & 2: Build your Brand, Inspired by the book The Go-Giver

How do we attract the business/life we dream of having? We’ll talk about the 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success as framed up in the book and how they apply to our individual mindset as well as how we serve our employees and our customers. The experiences we create, moment by moment, become our brand. This session will encourage conversation and dialogue. 

Meet the speaker

Vice President – Sales, Veugeler Creative

Vice President – The Faces Of, LLC. 

Certified Speaker/Coach – The Go-Giver

Successful career in sales and sales consulting prior to current role. Experienced entrepreneur. Passionate husband and father. Friend to many.

HUMAN CAPITAL – Krista Johnson, Vice President of The Grant Partners; Krin Baer, The Grant Partners

Session 1 & 2: Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

Ensuring the success of your company’s mission hinges on recruiting top-tier individuals possessing exceptional skills. Just as in any relationship, the ongoing employee journey should surpass the initial experience of joining your team. Join our conversation to explore the foundational elements of recruitment and retention, vital for crafting a strategy that not only attracts but also retains the finest talent available.

Meet the speaker

Krista Johnston serves as Vice President of The Grant Partners. With nearly a decade of executive search experience working with search firms and in internal talent acquisition, Krista is a seasoned professional who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to bear for The Grant Partners. She is deeply passionate about executive search, recognizing its potential to enhance the corporate culture and grow the base of talent for her clients.

Krista, who spent eight years working with Nissan North American prior to moving into executive search, works closely with her clients throughout the process, focusing on delivering talented, high-quality candidates on time. Client focused and results driven, she values the relationship portion of search, consulting with both clients and candidates to find the right fit.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, earning a BBA in International Business. Krista lives in Atlanta with her husband, Brannon, and their two daughters.

Panel Discussion

Running Your Nonprofit like a Top Notch Corporation

Moderator: JT Wu, Founder, Executive Director of Preface Project      


Senior Executive/Board Member Exclusive

Financial Housekeeping – Brad Swinsburg, Chief Investment Officer of Smith and Howard; Jeff Brandon, Certified Financial Planner at Smith and Howard

Session: Investing for Nonprofits: Making Money Matter

Exploring financial options for a nonprofit to engage their boards and align their values into investment policy statements and long-term asset pools. Plus, learn how to approach the conversation and execute investing while working closely with a Community Foundation.

Topics include:

Meet the speakers

Brad uses his extensive experience and deep investment knowledge to help drive the Smith + Howard Wealth Management investment process and program. He works directly with our clients to help them define their goals and properly structure portfolios that can help them meet those goals.

Brad joined Smith + Howard Wealth Management in 2016. As Chief Investment Officer, he chairs the Investment Policy Committee and is responsible for the oversight and development of Smith + Howard Wealth Management’s investment program. Additionally, Brad works directly on asset allocation, investment implementation and monitoring. He also publishes various market and investment-oriented articles, including the firm’s quarterly newsletter.

Brad’s career has been spent serving family offices and affluent clients throughout the southeast and southwest. In addition to a previous role with Hirtle, Callaghan & Co., Brad was also a global investment specialist with J.P. Morgan Private Bank and spent a decade early in his career at Goldman Sachs & Co.

Brad lives in Atlanta with his wife and daughter.

With nearly two decades of experience, Jeff works closely with affluent individuals and families by helping them develop a plan to achieve their long-term financial goals.

Jeff brings a broad background of working with clients in financial planning, investing, insurance, and estate planning. His analytical mindset and insight allow him to bring a refreshing approach to his clients.

Jeff and his family have lived in South Atlanta for over 20 years. When away from the office, Jeff stays involved with activities that impact his children and their peers.

Jeff is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor as designated by the Exit Planning Institute (EPI). This designation is achieved through completion of a rigorous program designed for advisors who work with owners of privately held businesses and focuses on the consideration of business, personal and financial goals in the process of exit planning.

Effective Communication – Linnea Miller, President Long Table

Session: Maximize Organizational Culture and Team Performance Through Effective Communication

If communication is essential to human connection and collaboration, why does it have to be so complicated?  Learn to transmit and receive communication codes that will unlock the complexity of communication to improve relationships and maximize productivity.

Meet the speaker

Linnea serves as the President and CEO of Long Table, LLC, dedicated to growing leaders for thriving relationships, better performance, and greater impact. As an accomplished leadership development coach and consultant, Linnea delivers transformative outcomes for clients across diverse industries, including government, nonprofit, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.

Certified in Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI), GiANT Worldwide, and the 6 Types of Working Geniuses, Linnea leverages her background as a former educator and nonprofit leader to create engaging and impactful experiences for her clients.

Long Table has earned multiple nominations as a finalist for the Gwinnett Chamber Small Business of the Year, and Linnea was recognized with the 2020 Moxie award for her contributions to the Greater Good of the community. Currently in her third term as a council member and holding the position of Mayor Pro Tempore for the City of Suwanee, Linnea is passionate about connecting people to people and people to their place. Actively involved in numerous nonprofit committees and boards (including Georgia City Solutions, Georgia Municipal Association, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Create Gwinnett and Suwanee Arts Center), she brings her commitment to community service to the forefront. In addition to her professional commitments, Linnea finds joy in art and nature. Whether exploring her local farmer’s market, engaging in a DIY project, or spending quality time with her husband, four children, and grandbabies, Linnea values the richness of deep relationships.