Nonprofit Lunch and Learn: Ronald Riggio

On November 21st, the Events Committee invited Ronald Riggio to the second Nonprofit Lunch and Learn of the year. Several local nonprofits attended the event, including Meals on Wheels, Bright Prospect, Pomona Hope, and the Children’s Advocacy Center. Nonprofit Lunch and Learns aim to bring together nonprofits in the greater Claremont area to discuss, collaborate, and learn from another.

Dr. Riggio is the former director of the Kravis Leadership Institute and a current professor of Organizational Psychology and Leadership at CMC. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Santa Clara University before earning his master’s and PhD in Social and Personality Psychology at UC Riverside. Dr. Riggio is the author of several books, including his latest Industrial and Organizational Psychology and specializes in leadership, human resource management, social psychology and organizational psychology. His talk centered around the necessary principles that nonprofits should adopt to run an efficient and successful board.

He started off by asking all the nonprofit representatives in the room to write down three strengths about their current board and three weaknesses. With that, he allowed the representatives in the room converse with each other, asking questions and building models that seemed ideal. This transitioned into a presentation of a Stanford study that explored what most nonprofit boards lacked, which happened to be similar to many of the findings in the room. This included essentials such as governance structures, basic distribution and understanding of roles, and financial difficulties. To assist, Riggio presented what he refers to as the “HR model,” outlining key steps that each nonprofit must action to transform their boards. The steps included careful selection of board members, orienting and structuring board members’ roles, evaluating and providing feedback, and providing ongoing development for members. To summarize, Riggio recited a saying by Lao Tzu, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

by maxine baghdadi