Mission Critical: Harnessing Untapped Board Potential

Tue., December 03, 2019 | 6:00 PM — 8:00 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Center
Grainger Ballroom
220 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Mission-driven organizations need to do a lot with a little. When faced with challenges like tight budgets, small staffs, and a crowded marketplace, how can leaders get the most out of resources they might be overlooking—like their board members?

Board membership convenes mission-focused leaders from across sectors and industries, offering a deep bench with a wide-ranging skillset that can be brought to bear to advance an organization’s goals.

But how can emerging leaders in the social sector effectively leverage board members? How can you focus the talent, knowledge, and skills of their organization’s board to drive innovation, facilitate collaboration, implement change, and manage outcomes? Or if interested in serving on a board, how can you position yourself as an added value to the organization and senior leadership so that you can make an impact?

The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy invites you to hear strategies and tactics that address these questions from noted economist Katherine Baicker, Dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor; Beth Swanson, MPP’02, CEO of A Better Chicago; and Doug Grissom, seasoned board member and Managing Director and Co-Head of MDP’s Business and Government Software and Services team.


  • Beth Swanson, MPP'02, is CEO at A Better Chicago. Before joining A Better Chicago, she was with the Joyce Foundation where, as vice president of strategy and programs, she oversaw an annual grant portfolio of $50 million, provided strategic direction to all programs, and drove foundation-wide innovation initiatives. Prior to her work with the Joyce Foundation, Swanson served as deputy chief of staff for education in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

  • Doug Grissom is a Managing Director and Co-Head of MDP's Business & Government Software and Services team. Grissom currently serves on the Boards of Directors of BlueCat Networks, CoVant Technologies II, Fleet Complete, Lightspeed Systems and LinQuest Corporation. In addition, he was formerly on the Boards of Directors of @stake, Aderant, Asurion, Cbeyond, Fieldglass, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, Intelsat, LGS Innovations and Neoworld. He also is a Board Member at Amherst College, the Harvard Business School Fund Council, the Lincoln Park Zoo, METROsquash, the Museum of Science and Industry, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and Churchill Downs.


  • University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor Katherine Baicker is a leading scholar in the economic analysis of health policy. She is currently one of the leaders of a research program investigating the many effects of expanding health insurance coverage in the context of a randomized Medicaid expansion in Oregon. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Baicker was the C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. From 2005–07, she served as a Senate-confirmed Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, where she played a leading role in the development of health policy. Baicker earned her BA in economics from Yale and her PhD in economics from Harvard.


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