Board Building for Transformative Governance: Introducing CompassPoint’s New Board

June 27, 2023
Photo collage of CompassPoint's Board of Directors.

[Image description: A photo collage featuring CompassPoint's six Board members, set against a blue and green abstract backdrop with the headline "Board Building for Transformative Governance: Introducing CompassPoint’s New Board" in yellow and white text.]

We’re excited to re-introduce the CompassPoint board to you—six experienced leaders who are:

  • co-creating governance with us in ways that challenge traditional notions around the power of boards, and
  • helping us activate our commitment to racial justice as a multiracial organization that centers pro-Blackness.

Co-Chair: Adrienne Kimball, Rubicon Programs

Co-Chair: Ada Palotai, The StarLion Collective

Vice Chair: Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, Justice Funders

Treasurer: Patrick Brown, Venture with Purpose

Secretary: Leila Saadat, West Oakland Health

Anbar Mahar, RVC (Rooted in Vibrant Communities) Seattle


Board Members as Co-Learners and Co-Creators

Our board members are co-learners engaged in challenges and experiments in service of CompassPoint’s vision. Over the last few years, we’ve been growing this board by building relationships with folks who can help us lead in ways that reflect our vision and values. These board members are all folks with deep experience as social justice workers, strategists, trainers with a liberatory pedagogy, and leaders in the economic justice and solidarity economy space.

Beyond “oversight,” they contribute meaningful thought partnerships across a wide range of areas: They are active in movement spaces, they work to shift systems and culture to build power within nonprofits, and they actively experiment with new organizational and programmatic models that embody liberatory/restorative principles and practices. As an all-BIPOC board, they bring lived experience, connection, and commitment to supporting leaders and organizations driving social justice efforts.


Co-creating a Different Approach to Governance

We’re experimenting with different ways to challenge traditional notions of how power moves through an organization–including how we think about board leadership! Instead of traditional “board committees,” we are establishing several board/staff teams that share power in stewarding some key areas of organizational governance. For example, leadership transitions, questions of structure, principles for decision-making, and how we engage with conflict as an organization.

Board meetings are open to all staff by default, and there are times we invite board members into staff meetings, creating opportunities for connection and collaboration. We’re encouraging staff to build relationships with board members without having to rely on executive leaders as a buffer or channel for communication.

Ultimately, it’s about shifting structures and culture–committing to experimentation, trust building, and struggling through challenges together. Even amongst folks who are connected to movement and social justice work in different ways, developing a shared political analysis can still be a bit of a learning curve. Sharing decision-making, committing to political study, and growing relationships help us build co-ownership of our overall vision and direction.


Challenging "The Way Things Have Always Been Done"

This group challenges the idea that boards are the ultimate deciders and purveyors of power.

As a board, they’re actively thinking about and trying on ways to shift power to those most impacted/those closest to the issue within the organization. This means clearly defining what the board is accountable for on a legal basis, and challenging other norms that have become ingrained just because “that’s the way things have always been done.”

We’re invested in transforming expectations of governance, building new structures, and nurturing relationships in order to strengthen and deepen CompassPoint’s work and impact. Most importantly, embracing governance in this way is in service of the community of social justice leaders and organizations we work with, and we’re excited about all the ways our board members will help us continue to learn, practice, and stay accountable to you and our mission.



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