The Montgomery County Foundation

2019 Women and Leadership Forum

The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. hosted the 2019 Women and Leadership Forum on December 4, 2019 at the Presidential in East Norriton, PA, from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm. Nearly 300 current and aspiring leaders from a wide range of professional backgrounds- non-profit, academic, corporate, private and public organizations registered for this powerful day of education, inspiration and networking.

The program's theme was "Taking Charge of Change" featuring three nationally acclaimed speakers. Sheryl Williams, founder of SheWillLead, provided insights into how to lead in a multigenerational workplace through effective communications across generations; Lisa Lord of Lisa Lord Consulting provided attendees a view into how people process change and how to embrace change; and Cheryl Rice, founder of the You Matter Marathon movement, discussed how to transform your inner critic into your inner champion to achieve your full potential

"Woman of Distinction" was presented to Tamala Edwards, co-anchor of Action News Mornings, channel 6abc, and the Foundation's 2019 "Critical Impact Award" was presented to Nanette and Kary LaFors, who have led "Advocates Against Hunger" to alleviate food insecurity in Montgomery County, and "Living Waters For the World" to bring clean water to developing areas globally.

The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. hosted the 2019 Women and Leadership Forum on December 4, 2019 at the Presidential in East Norriton, PA, from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm. Nearly 300 current and aspiring leaders registered for this powerful day of education, inspiration and networking.

Every attendee received a complimentary copy of Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More and Live Bolder, By Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code. The book shares powerful insights and practices to let go of the need for perfection and make bravery a lifelong habit.

Based on feedback from attendees, topics have been selected for two FREE follow-up Forum workshops on March 19 and May 13, 2020. Forum attendees are invited to the workshops.

2019 Women and Leadership Forum Program
and Speaker Presentations

Leading in the Multigenerational Workplace

Sheryl Williams, Chief Empowerment Officer, SheWillLead
View Presentation >
View Synopsis Video >


Growing Through Change

Lisa Lord, Founder, Lisa Lord Consulting
View Presentation >
View Synopsis Video >


From Inner Critic to Inner Champion

Cheryl Rice, Founder, Cheryl Rice Leadership
View Presentation >
View Synopsis Video >


2019 "Woman of Distinction" Remarks

Tamala Edwards, co-anchor, Action News Mornings, 6abc


2019 "Critical Impact Award" Remarks

Nanette and Kary LaFars, Advocates Against Hunger and Living Waters

Many Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors!


2018 Women and Leadership Forum:
Creating Intentional, Professional Relationships!

The 2018 Women and Leadership Forum was held on December 6, 2018 at the Presidential in East Norriton. The event was hosted by The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. Women's Leadership Council, led by Honorary Chairperson, Alma R. Jacobs, which represents women of diverse backgrounds supporting the work of the Foundation. More than 230 women leaders from the Greater Philadelphia area and Montgomery County attended the Forum, which featured highly accomplished women speakers sharing their knowledge and experience, and strategies for growth and success.

Attendees were inspired by keynote speakers Raquel Arredondo, Drexel University, who talked about the importance of cultivating mentors an "How to Be Happy at Work" The Power of Purpose, Hope and Friendship." Tracy Davidson, news anchor NBC 10 moderated a thought-provoking panel presentation on leadership and deepening professional relationships. Panel participants included Rev Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, Independence Blue Cross Foundation; Punam Sharma, SEI Investments; and Marianne Lynch, Habitat for Humanity.

The Foundation's prestigious "Woman of Distinction" Award was given to the remarkable mother-daughter duo of Kathy McGee Burns and Judge Kelly C. Wall. As the event ended, all attendees received a signed copy of Dr. McKee's inspiring book. Follow-up learning opportunities have been scheduled for March and May 2019.

2018 Women and Leadership Forum Program
and Speaker Presentations


Mentors & Sponsors: Developing Your Personal Advisory Board
Raquel Arredondo, Associate Director, Lebow College of Business,
Drexel University

View Presentation >

Panel Discussion: Using Your Leadership Skills to Deepen Corporate Relationships
Moderator: Tracy Davison, NBC
Panelists: Rev. Dr. Lorina Marhsall-Blake, Punam Sharma, Marianne Lynch

How to Be Happy at Work: The Power of Purpose, Hope and Friendship
Dr. AnnieMcKee, The Univeristy of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
View Presentation >

2018 MCF, Inc. "Woman of Destinction" Award Recipient Remarks
Kathy McGee Burns; Honorable Kelly C. Wall


Many Thanks to Our Generous,
Women and Leadership Forum 2018 Sponsors!

2017 Women and Leadership Forum:
Embracing Your Journey to Success

The Women and Leadership Forum drew a wide spectrum of current and aspiring leaders throughout the region and took place at The Presidential in East Norriton on December 6 (8:00am-2:30pm). The event was hosted by The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. Women's Leadership Council, lead by Honorary Chairperson, Alma R. Jacobs, which represents women of diverse backgrounds who support the work of the Foundation.

The program featured four speakers who presented on Mastering Confidence, Negotiation in Action and Transforming Conflict to Collaboration. Former 6abc news anchor and award-winning reporter, Lisa Thomas-Laury offered special remarks and Judge Cheryl L. Austin, Orphans' Court, Montgomery County 38th Judicial District was the recipient of the MCF, Inc. Woman of Distinction Award.

The agenda began with a four-actress reading from The Revolutionists, a production from Theatre Horizon's 2018 "Women Who Dare" season. The luncheon was followed by a book-signing of Thomas-Laury's recently released On Camera and Off: When the News is Good and When It's Not. This book and The Power of Difference: From Conflict to Collaboration in Five Steps were both given to participants as gifts from the Foundation. The participation goal of 250 was met which included one or more attendees representing 120 places of business in this region. Follow-up learning opportunities were scheduled to take place in 2018.

2017 Women and Leadership Forum
Program Workshops and Presentations

What’s Holding You Back? Maybe it’s YOU
Beverly L. Williams, Founder and Owner of Continuum Executive Coaching

From Conflict to Collaboration
Kedren Crosby, President, and Sarah Colantonio, Work Wisdom


Negotiation in Action
Suzanne McCall, Senior Consultant, Pinnacle Group

Special Remarks
Lisa Thomas-Laury


2017 MCF, Inc. Woman of Distinction Award Recipient Remarks
Honorable Cheryl L. Austin


Opening Remarks and Theatre Horizon Reading



Women and Leadership Forum 2017 Sponsors


Women and Leadership Forum:
Striving and Thriving in the Workplace


The Women and Leadership Forum: Striving and Thriving in the Workplace, hosted by The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc., drew over 200 attendees and 34 sponsors on Thursday, December 7, 2016 to The Presidential in East Norriton. Featured were three superb keynote speakers who addressed topics such as emotional intelligence, leadership presence and conflict resolution to an audience of both current and aspiring leaders from the nonprofit, private, public and educational sectors in the region. What made this compelling convening uniquely valuable was the setting to explore workplace challenges and opportunities as they relate to a woman's personal well-being and growth and how that most effectively translates to her professional success and to the strengthening of the field she is committed to serving increasingly well. Dr. Kathleen Owens, President, Gwynedd Mercy University, was honored with the Foundation's Woman of Distinction Award.



Emotional Intelligence: Maximizing Your Leadership Potential
Presenter: Cynthia S. Paris, Founder and CEO, The People Skills Group, LLC

Gain knowledge about what emotional intelligence (EQ) is and what it is not, explore key emotional intelligence competencies for successful leadership and see how to identify, evaluate and leverage your own emotional strengths to maximize your leadership effectiveness.

Leadership Presence: Leveraging the Power of Your Voice
Presenter: Sheryl Williams, Chief Empowerment Officer, SheWill Lead

How to strike the most effective balance between voice for self and voice for others including insights into resolving conflict and negotiating positive outcomes. How you can develop your own “signature voice” - that unique leadership presence that is confident, authentic and impactful.

Phenomenal Leader, That's You
Presenter: Meghan McVety, M.P.A., Principal and Co-Founder of Capacity for Change, LLC

Maya Angelou wrote, I'm a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.” Women are the leaders we need today and in the future so our discussion will follow Dr. Angelou’s lead to assert and celebrate women’s leadership. We’ll consider what it means to be a woman in leadership, why we need women leaders, and how to cultivate and sustain the talents and well-being of women leaders.


Aligning Your Presence with Your Situation
Thursday, February 16 - 9:00-1 0:30am (Free-of Charge)
Sheryl Williams, M.S., Chief Empowerment Officer, SheWill Lead

Like a signature, your presence is one that is recognizably unique and leaves a substantive impression on those around you and within your organization. How can you improve your leadership presence in an authentic way? What should you do first? This session will use assessments and self-reflection to develop your leadership presence profile. Using this profile, participants will identify a specific situation where their presence is being challenged or a growth opportunity has been presented. Each participant will create an integrated action plan to proactively manage the challenge or meet the opportunity.
For more information and registration: (484-532-7387)

Managing and Optimizing Conflicts
March 23 - 9:00-10:30am (Free-of Charge)
Meghan McVety, M.P.A., Principal and Co-Founder of Capacity for Change, LLC

Conflict is inevitable. Leveraging the potential positives of conflicts is not inevitable. In fact, conflicts most often are missed opportunities for innovations and breakthroughs. This workshop will cover the nature of conflicts in organizations, and explore strategies to manage and optimize conflicts. We will discuss how to achieve organizational alignment (since aligned organizations handle conflict well), and techniques and skills for successful conflict resolution.
For more information and registration: (484-532-7387)

Understanding Your Emotional Intelligence Strengths and Development Needs: Individual Feedback Session
Cindy S. Paris, Founder and CEO, The People Skills Group, LLC

Now that you have an idea of what Emotional Intelligence means for enhancing leadership, we are offering attendees the opportunity to take the EQ-i2.0 assessment and receive a two-hour, one-one feedback session and interpretation of your results (either on the phone or in-person) at a reduced consulting rate. During this session, you will:

  • Get a 27-page comprehensive Leadership Report which will provide insight into your strengths and potential areas for development on four key dimensions of leadership;
  • See how your EQ scores compare to those of other leaders;
  • Start to recognize the building blocks for enhancing your EQ development efforts; and
  • Highlight strategies for development that make sense for you in the context of your leadership role within your particular team and organizational culture.
For more informationon on pricing and a link to take the EQ-i2.0




Leading With Intention: Strengthening Your Leadership Strategy

The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. presented Leading With Intention: Strengthening Your Leadership Strategy, a major event focused on women in the nonprofit workplace on Tuesday, December 1st to a full-house of highly engaged participants at Blue Bell County Club.

Keynote speaker and SheWill Lead founder was Sheryl Williams whose personal and professional passion is supporting women in leveraging their strengths and developing both the executive presence and leadership strategies to attain their goals. A luncheon followed that included the presentation of the Foundation’s Woman of Distinction Award to Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH and Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Much appreciation to each of our sponsors this year, with very special acknowledgement to The Haverford Trust Company which has played the invaluable role of Event Partner in support of both the Leading With Intention convening and the follow-up programming scheduled for 2016. Haverford's exceptionally generous partnership has been lead by Christine E. Walker, CFP®, CIMA®, Vice President & Portfolio Manager and Robert F. Stiles, Vice President, Business Development with whom we are honored to be associated.

MCFI Gratitude to:

Events Sponsor:
The Haverford Trust Company
Gold Sponsor:
TD Bank
Silver Sponsor:
Diccianni Financial Group, Inc. National Penn Investors Trust Company, Bryn Mawr Trust, Gwynedd Mercy University, Marcia & Kirk Field
Bronze Sponsor: V
alley Forge Asset Management, LLC, Gorski Construction Inc., St. Pedro & Associates, Inc.
Event Friend Sponsor:
WIFS Philadelphia/Tri-County Chapter, Linda K. Waddell, Dr. Thurman D. Booker, David & Marsha Bolden, The Sierchio Financial Group

The 74% Initiative: A Conversation About Women in the Nonprofit Workplace

The 74% Initiative launched the Foundation's commitment to exploring the status of women in the region's nonprofit sector. A decade of fascinating, compelling research has consistently confirmed a persistent troubling truth: the women who make up more than 70 percent of the nonprofit workforce are both under-paid and under-represented in the leadership of large organizations. Participants from throughout the region enjoyed a highly informative, engaging program provided by The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. in December 2014 that included a superlative keynote address by Peggy Outon, founding Executive Director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh.

The luncheon honored Alma Jacobs, former PA Secretary of Aging and a remarkable, local trailblazer in this sector with The Montgomery County Foundation Woman of Distinction Award.

The 74% Initiative Continuing Conversations:
The Women's Leadership Roundtable Pilot Project

White Paper


The Women's Leadership Roundtable Pilot Project was created in response to The 74% Initiative: A Conversation About Women in the Nonprofit Workplace event presented in December 2014 by The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. (MCFI). The Roundtable Pilot was intended to provide a unique opportunity for a small group of women executive directors who each committed to convene for three sessions in a supportive, confidential environment to raise and address issues related to women in leadership within the region’s nonprofit sector. The pilot project was supported by Steel Valley Investment Group of Raymond James and MCFI.


MCFI forwarded an invitation to women executive directors distributed via the 74% Initiative attendance list, all nonprofit organizations within the Foundation’s database and a selection of other sources. Interest was immediate and vigorous. Within a short period of time the ideal maximum number of 12 spots was filled and a waiting list was created for prospective future opportunities.

The Roundtable was designed to be of significant personal and professional benefit, focused on what it takes to for a woman to successfully thrive in a leadership role within the nonprofit sphere.

It is critical to note that the framework was meant to ensure a trusting space in which each woman could feel confident that nothing revealed regarding anyone's personal or professional circumstances would be taken outside of the room. Also, it was understood that nothing shared would have an effect on any future MCFI granting considerations.

The Roundtable was ultimately comprised of a group whose diversity is characterized by age, culture/race and faith-affiliation. Represented are nonprofits ranging from small, grassroots organizations to a very large enterprise that is part of a national structure. Professional experience within the nonprofit sphere covers the spectrum from a founding executive director in the midst of formal succession after close to 40 years at the helm of her organization to a young woman at another nonprofit who has been promoted from within to the leadership role that she has just begun.

The Roundtable met first on Thursday, April 23 from 9:00-11:00am. The group chose to extend the timelines to 11:30am for the Thursday, May 21 and Thursday, June 11 sessions. Session content included what it takes to thrive in a leadership role, understanding the distinctions between management and leadership, organizational culture, managing change, board development, resolving staff concerns including termination and the benefits of developing a network of support.

Facilitator Background:

Meghan McVety, Co-Founder and Principal, Capacity for Change, acted as facilitator of the first two convenings, after which it was requested by the Roundtable participants that the project be extended beyond the pilot phase and that Meghan be retained to play an ongoing facilitation role throughout. One of Meghan’s core beliefs is that cultivating strong leadership in organizations and communities is pivotal to achieving positive change. Her expertise is widespread and includes organizational management, executive coaching, philanthropy and evaluation. Further, Meghan has worked extensively with foundations and nonprofits in the areas of health, advocacy, anti-violence efforts and civil rights and has a deep commitment to women and leadership.

Projected Outcomes:
  • 100% of Roundtable participants will attend each of the three sessions.
  • 85% of Roundtable Pilot participants will report a positive, meaningful learning experience.
  • 90% of Roundtable Pilot participants will report benefiting from the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills within the supportive comraderie of a networking framework.


  • The attendance rate was 89%. Those that could not attend each reported their unanticipated circumstances prior to the convenings.
  • 100% of the participants expressed a positive, meaningful learning experience in terms of supporting individual problem-solving and growth strategies in the written and/or verbal evaluations.
    Comments included:
    - All of this information, even if not pertinent to me at the moment, is vital to my new role of ED. I love these meetings and look forward to them.
    - Very good discussion. Supports my learning objectives as Executive Director.
    - Desire to discuss leadership and use of power from a woman's perspective.
  • 100% of participants expressed the invaluable benefits of networking with other women nonprofit leaders in support of their own development and growth in the written and/or verbal evaluations.
    Comments included:
    - So appreciative to have this experience with so many talented women.
    - Excellent forum for sharing issues and experiences.
    - Very needed support and networking.
    - Great opportnity to share, network, vent and learn.

Additional Comments:

  • As noted, the Roundtable participants unanimously requested, prior to the end of the Pilot, that the Roundtable be extended and each committed to participating through December 2015.
  • Significant insight was proffered with regard to lessons learned that would strengthen prospective Roundtable replication. Twelve participants is an optimum number for this framework. A commitment to attending each Roundtable is critical at least for the first several sessions. The more diverse the group the better in terms of stimulating discussion and benefiting from varying points of view. Meeting at the same, “safe” place on a specific schedule appears to work well during the first phase of getting to know each other. Including a skilled facilitator and/or presenters familiar with the women and nonprofit leadership sphere is key. Balancing the presentation of content on a variety of topics with plenty of opportunity for more informal, open-ended group sharing is very clearly integral to the success of the experience. Ongoing evaluation and encouraging input on the outcomes, content and format is also critical.
  • The Pilot definitively underscored that carefully-conceived, well-executed networking opportunities for women in leadership roles in the region’s nonprofit sector are highly desired and have the capacity to significantly affect each woman’s sense of professional well-being and efficacy.

Next Steps:

The group chose to meet once during the summer and then monthly September through December 2015. MCFI offered to provide the location and administrative support and to cover facilitation and presentation expenses.

During this phase, Roundtable members will more clearly focus their personal objectives and will report on the ways in which the Roundtable experience has supported the ability to identify and address individual professional challenges and potentially those of the organization they lead with greater assurance, clarity and success.

It is anticipated that the extended Roundtable timelines will provide valuable opportunities to further assess the extent to which this model might be replicated for a new Roundtable of women nonprofit leaders and/or a spin-off group for "ascending leaders". Further evaluation will be forthcoming as the project continues into the next phase.

July 27, 2015


The 74% Initiative Toolbox

This Toolbox is intended to provide some simple tips and resources that will support the sharing of The 74% Initiative with colleagues and board members - anyone interested in the subject of women in the nonprofit workplace.

Special appreciation to the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh for sharing their 74% - related research and materials with us here. 


  • We suggest you begin by reviewing The 74% Initiative Keynote Address by Peggy Outon, founding Executive Director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh.

    PEGGY OUTON Pay Equity for Women in the Nonprofit Workplace

  • You may wish to also familiarize yourself with the content of the PowerPoint Presentation that accompanied the Keynote Address.

  • Please feel free to reach out to The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. via to confer on tailor-made approaches to drawing your group into a thought-provoking, preliminary discussion on women in the nonprofit workplace.

Engaging Your Colleagues and/or Board Members:

  • Consider sending an email to those you believe might have an interest in The 74% Initiative and include the introductory infographic that synopsizes the report findings related to women and pay equity in the nonprofit sector.

  • The 74% Infographic: November 2013 Infographic Poster

  • Invite them to a conversation about Women in the Nonprofit Workplace - perhaps within a staff meeting setting or over the lunch-hour one day. The Foundation would be pleased to make a presentation and/or support facilitation if that would be of interest.

  • Screen a portion of the Keynote Address (please see above) that you think would most effectively represent the topic for your group.

  • Consider using the subsequent format to jump-start a preliminary discussion. Introduce the "What, So What, Now What?" concept as synopsized below as a means of eliciting the group's reaction to the topics raised in the video.

"What, So What, Now What?"

(Attribution: W3 - Liberating Structure developed by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless)

This is a model designed to offer the opportunity to debrief a meeting topic that generates complex or controversial responses - a chance for the entire gathering to reflect on a shared experience that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. Here is how it works - simple, straight-forward and effective:

  • Everyone is included and all have an equal opportunity to contribute.

  • If you have a large group, break into tables of approximately six people each.

  • After the preliminary presentation (for instance, viewing the Keynote Address video together), share that the group will now endeavor to process the content for a short period of time. Each of three stages will include:
    1.) Asking participants to reflect upon and record their feedback alone (two minutes),
    2.) followed by sharing their comments within the table setting (ten minutes) and finally
    3.) offering the table's most compelling feedback to the entire group (ten minutes in total).

    This process is repeated for each of the three stages, as defined below:
  • First Stage - WHAT?: What happened? What did you notice? What facts or observations stood out?
  • Second Stage - SO WHAT?: What about you heard is important? What patterns or conclusions are emerging? What hypothesis can we make?
  • Third Stage - NOW WHAT?: What follow-up or actions might make sense for this group to consider?
  • Depending on the outcome of this first convening, you may wish to organize subsequent sessions on this or related topics. Please share your experiences with the Foundation in order to include us in your learning process. Remember that we would be happy to confer on a wide range of "Continuing Conversations" opportunities whenever you might wish.

What's Next?:

  • Check in with The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. to make sure you/your organization are included with regard to invitations to "The 74% Initiative: Continuing Conversations" gatherings.
  • Suggest workshop topics you and your group might like to see offered.
  • Join the Foundation in the coordination of its late-fall 2015 Women and Leadership Major Event planning.

Other Resources of Interest

May 2013 Research Brochure - Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
November 2012 Research Brochure - Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
May 2012 Research Brochure - Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
November 2011 Research Brochure - Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
May 2011 Research Brochure - Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2015) - AAUW

Montgomery County Foundation E-mail the Foundation