"The most important thing you can do in preparation for a board meeting is make sure your members are well-engaged. I put as many board members named on the agenda as possible so that they know that they're needed, so that they show up at the meeting, and so that they're responsible for the successful outcome of that agenda item. And make sure there's at least one agenda item, one decision made every board meeting so that people know that it's really important to show up. So make sure that board members feel ownership and so they're well-engaged in every board meeting." -- Jule Castro Abrams
How do you prep for a board meeting?
Julie Castro Abrams is a national leader in microfinance and women’s issues. She has been CEO of Women’s Initiative since 2001, following a non-profit career that spanned 20 years in Chicago. She led the transition of Women’s Initiative from a founder-led organization to a rapidly growing non-profit that has expanded throughout the Bay Area and increased the number of women trained and receiving microloans tenfold. Under her leadership, significant new services have been developed that contribute to the success of entrepreneurs and the economic growth in the communities served by the organization, and the Women’s Initiative has been recognized by the Urban Institute Best Practices Foundation, the Equal Rights Advocates and Cisco Innovation in Technology, among others. Julie currently serves on the Board of the California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), on the OneCalifornia Bank Advisory board and is a highly sought after speaker and expert on microenterprise in the U.S. Julie is the recipient of the League of Women Voter’s “Women Who Could Be President” Award, SBA Advocate of the year 2009, Human Rights Award from the Commission on the Status of Women, the Women of Color Action Network Award. Prior to her work at Women’s Initiative, Julie served as Deputy Director and Director of Development and Marketing at Chicago’s Merit School of Music. Julie’s previous positions include Director of Development at Community Christian Alternative Academy and principal at the Catalyst Group consulting firm. She has also held positions with the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance, the Chicago Department of Health, and the Chicago Foundation for Women. Julie studied for her masters degree in Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and she has a BA in Human Development and Social Policy from the school of Education at Northwestern University. She currently lives in Novato with her husband and two children.
Women's Initiative for Self Employment is the largest microenterprise training and funding organization in the country. The Bay Area non-profit provides high-potential, low-income women the training, resources and on-going support to start and grow their own businesses and become financially self-sufficient. The business management training, technical assistance, and financial services we provide — in English and Spanish — improve the quality of life for the women we serve, their families and our communities. The women who go through the program launch businesses, create jobs and stimulate the local economy.