[Interview] Meet The African American Board Leadership Institute


Before we conducted research about African American millennials, we had a hunch that board leadership was at the top of ways in which we prefer to give our time. Now that we have the research nods to prove it, we’re pushing board leadership to the forefront of our conversations. And we’re not just pushing the idea of board leadership, we’re emphasizing the importance of training. Yes, training. Training to be a good, effective board leader. To help us drive home this point is the only national institute targeted towards black professionals. Meet The African American Board Leadership Institute based on Los Angeles, CA. We had a few minutes to ask Katarina Eleby, Manager of Programs & Operations for AABLI, about board leadership as young, black professionals.

Eavesdrop into our conversation…..

Friends of Ebonie: From your experience with AABLI, why is diversity, specifically of African American diversity, so important to non – profit organizations?

Katarina Eleby: Diversity builds capacity in all organizations. It allows for more transparent thought leadership in decision making, the allocation of resources and serves as the ‘vital voice’ addressing the needs of minority populations. The African American presence in the board room gives institutions the opportunity to be better aligned with the communities they serve.

Friends: Why is board leadership training so important?

KE: Board leadership training is essential for anyone considering board service. One must know beforehand what is expected of them, what risks are involved and what rules and regulations govern their role as a trustee or director. It is important to learn how to recognize situations that require your attention or consideration. Understanding the basic rules and guidelines will help you navigate potential traps and ensure that you and your organization have the resources that you need to make sound decisions now and in the future.


Friends: What is the greatest challenge young professionals have when joining boards?

KE: Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear derived from insecurities within themselves that prevent them from taking on new responsibilities. The solution: Love. Love for the mission and vision of the organization will overcome the obstacles they’ve created internally that keep them from transcending to the next level of consciousness personally and professionally.

Friends: AABLI is based in LA. If our readers don’t live in LA, how can they get your resources? Or can you recommend other institutes like yours for young, black professionals?

KE: AABLI provides resources on our website and via social media for those looking to educate themselves in board leadership. So add us, follow us and like us to stay informed.

Keep up with AABLI on: Twitter @Theaabli and Facebook

Website: http://aabli.org/aabli/

Thank you Katarina and AABLI for all that you do to help strengthen our leadership!


If you’re in DC, join us next Tuesday for our new programming event, The Crossover: DC. At The Crossover, we’ll be talking, what else? Board Leadership 101 with young, black professionals from all industries and Kelly Brinkley, COO United Way National Capital Area. Join us! Tickets are limited: https://thecrossoverdc.eventbrite.com/

The Crossover - v9

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