Leading Up and Down: A CEO and Their Board with Sabrina Walker Hernandez and Patton McDowell | Ep. 86

Board Shorts Podcast

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About this Episode

The CEO-Board relationship often persists despite mutual frustration; each doing or not doing things that inevitably get up each other’s noses. This normalisation of Board-CEO tension is helpful to a point; however, it can lead to negative outcomes for the board, organisation, customers, and stakeholders if left unchecked. Issues between the Board and CEO frequently stem from a handful of easily managed root causes. However, these are not ferreted out, examined, worked through, and resolved. This conversation discusses five of the most common root causes of a strained Board-CEO relationship and shares easy actions for a CEO and Board to implement for a thriving relationship to blossom and sustain.

For this conversation I am joined by some previous international guests who I invited back to the Board Shorts Podcast, Sabrina Walker Hernandez and Patton McDowell. These guests bring their own experiences as being both CEOs and Board Members, and are currently working with senior leaders and board members in profit-for-purpose organisations (AKA non-profits or not-for-profits), so they are deeply attuned to the topics we cover in this episode.

About Sabrina Walker Hernandez

As a consultant and coach, Sabrina specializes in helping small businesses and nonprofits thrive by fostering meaningful relationships that directly impact revenue growth. Using the B.U.I.L.D. framework, Sabrina specializes in strategic planning, leadership retreats, board development, staff empowerment, and resource optimization. Her track record includes consistently delivering a remarkable 30% increase in revenue for the organizations that she works with. She is a bestselling author with over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, and leadership. Among her successes is that she increased operation revenue from $750K to $2.5M and completed a $12M comprehensive capital campaign in the 3rd poorest county in the United States. She has facilitated numerous workshops with hundreds of nonprofit and business professionals. She is certified in Nonprofit Management by Harvard Business School. Sabrina has also been a previous Board Shorts guest and you can revisit those conversations in episodes 59 and 83.

Connect with Sabrina on LinkedIn.
Find out more about Sabrina.

About Patton McDowell

Patton is the Founder and President of PMA Nonprofit Leadership and brings over 30 years of expertise in philanthropic leadership, having partnered with over 300 organizations across all nonprofit sectors. A CFRE and Master Trainer for AFP Global, he’s recognized for his speaking and dynamic facilitation. Starting with Special Olympics International and NC Special Olympics, his journey led to roles at Queens University of Charlotte and UNC Wilmington before founding PMA in 2009.  Currently an Executive in Residence at Cornell University’s Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Patton’s leadership insights resonate through his weekly podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership and his 2022 book of the same title. Patton was a previous guest on the Board Shorts Podcast in episode 58.

Connect with Patton on LinkedIn.
Find out more about Patton.


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