Alice Collier Cochran, M.Ed has been consultant in the field of organization effectiveness for over twenty years.

She currently focuses on developing college leaders, facilitating inclusive strategic planning, increasing collaboration in groups, improving meetings, and facilitating “ Done-In-a-Day” planning retreats and off-sites.

Alice wrote Roberta’s Rules of Order for nonprofit boards and other teams (published by Jossey- Bass/Wiley in 2004). The book was nominated for the 2005 Terry McAdams nonprofit book award by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.

She has also written a new QuickStart Guide to implement the sections on meetings and group decisions in Roberta’s Rules of Order. A second QuickStart Guide is in development.

Alice is a sailor who uses sailing and sea analogies to explain concepts in her books, workshops, and presentations. She owns a small traditional catboat that she berths in Sausalito, Calfiornia and also loves to sail in the summer in Maine.

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Break With Convention For Better Meetings: Part Two

This is the second in a two-part article on how to produce more effective board meetings. I have framed this article using four commonly accepted conventions on how to conduct board meetings. Part one of this article addressed the first two conventions: shorter meetings and starting on time. In this second part I will address…

Break With Convention For Better Meetings: Part One

Roberta Sanchez was pleased to have been approached to join the board of directors of a nonprofit with a mission dear to her heart. Knowing the commitment is substantial, she wisely asked to attend a board meeting as an observer before making a decision. She was told that their meetings were only one hour and…

Using the Sea to See Clearly--Are You a Lighthouse Keeper or Ship's Crew in Your Organization? Part 2

Last month, the first part of this article used a sea metaphor to describe a nonprofit board of directors as lighthouse keepers.  In summary, they keep the nonprofit “ship” out of danger by sending the signals on how to stay in safe water and off the rocky shore. Here’s again is the vignette that launched our…

Using the Sea to See Clearly - Are You A Lighthouse Keeper or Ship's Crew in Your Organization? Part 1

The executive director of a nonprofit that promotes the arts within a metropolitan area was extremely capable and energetic. He wasn’t the founder of the organization, but was involved in its early years. He served or the board initially, became an interim ED and then was hired full time.  He remained a voting member of…

Board Structure: Current Trends and Options

BACKGROUND According to a Sandra Hughes, senior consultant with BoardSource (formerly National Center for Nonprofit Boards) in Washington, DC, “when you’ve seen one board…. you’ve seen one board!” All boards are not alike, and have different structures due to mission, tradition, leadership and “board culture.” Although each board has its own characteristics, there are lessons…