Legacies: Ah-One, Ah-Two— the Partnership for Excellence Conference

Posted on Mar 25 by SEASONS Magazine

Keynote speaker Leah Weiss, PhD, at the 2016 Partnership for Excellence Conference. Photo by Robert Redfield, courtesy Partnership for Excellence.

Keynote speaker Leah Weiss, PhD, at the 2016 Partnership for Excellence Conference. Photo by Robert Redfield, courtesy Partnership for Excellence.

By Nancy A. Shobe

What happens on Thursday, April 13, when nearly 500 leaders from Santa Barbara County’s philanthropic sector convene at The Fess Parker, a Doubletree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara?

The 24th annual Partnership for Excellence (PFE) Conference: Unlocking the Power of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in Our Community is what happens.

This annual conference—funded by The Foundation Roundtable, a regional association of grant makers—serves to unite, support, inspire and motivate nonprofit professionals. PFE is believed to be the only conference of its kind in the United States that unites and connects both funders and nonprofit professionals in one room, says Judy Hawkins, PFE volunteer steering committee member, producer of the conference and founder of Ruby Road Leadership.

This year’s keynote, Working in Concert, is unique in that it is an interactive hands-on musical experience.

Hawkins says, “The keynote will be lead by Gary Muszynski, chief orchestrator of the Northern California-based Orchestrating Excellence—a global leadership and learning development company. Joining him is a team of professional musician facilitators including Brian Rice, Bryan Dyer and Chris French.”

“Maestro” Muszynski and his merry band of musicians engage the audience in a performance that shows firsthand the importance of orchestration, collaboration, improvisation and innovation.

According to Orchestrating Excellence’s website, Muszynski is internationally recognized as an organizational development pioneer, bandleader, executive coach and a leader in applying the principles of play and creative engagement to workplace leadership, collaboration, change and innovation.

The PFE steering committee decided to focus on the theme of diversity because it was most frequently cited as a preferred future topic in attendee surveys.

Volunteer chair of the 2017 PFE steering committee and Ann Jackson Family Foundation board member Palmer Jackson, Jr. says, “The themes of diversity, inclusion and equity are important and sensitive topics. The committee looked at a number of keynote speakers. All were great, but Orchestrating Excellence felt more inclusive, like the right group to tackle this subject.”

After the morning keynote and provided lunch, attendees participate in a variety of thought-provoking breakout sessions derived by the PFE steering committee.

In addition to Jackson and Hawkins, steering committee members include Angela Antenore, Antenore & Associates; Owen Bailey, Environmental Defense Center; Lori Goodman, Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM); Greg Gorga, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum; Elsa Granados, Rape Crisis Center; Frederick Janka, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara; Joni Meisel, The Foundation Roundtable; Kristi Newton, United Boys and Girls Club; Elena Richardson, The Fund for Santa Barbara; Ken Saxon, Leading from Within; Amy Schneider, Santa Barbara Foundation; Jarrod Schwartz, Just Communities; June Sochel, RBK Fund; and Rob Skinner, The Towbes Foundation.

“Our goal for this conference is the same that it is for every year, we hope that people are inspired to do something different or better in their jobs and hope that participants walk way with one or two concrete things that they’ve learned that they can put into practice—It’s all about partnership,” says Jackson.  

The Partnership for Excellence Conference is on April 13 from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. at The Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. For conference schedule, workshop overviews and registration, visit nprnsb.org/PFE. Registration and interpretation are available in both English and Spanish.

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

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