Press Release

The Black Boardroom Leadership Institute (BBLI) Celebrates their First Leadership Graduation

The program, divided into two tracks, focuses on training Black leaders to position them on local nonprofit board of directors and increase diversity.

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The Orlando Economic Partnership is proud to announce the graduation of the first leadership participants in the Black Boardroom Leadership Institute (BBLI), a program under the umbrella of Leadership Orlando, which aims to amplify inclusion in boardrooms and increase Black representation on local nonprofit boards.

With only 11 percent of local boards represented by Black leaders, BBLI was created through honest conversation and idea generation of committed community leaders to address the significant diversity gap amongst Orlando’s nonprofit board of directors.

The transformational six-month program engaged 20 individuals representing small businesses, educational organizations, nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and major Fortune 500 companies from across the Orlando region.

The program, divided into two tracks, is celebrating this milestone and the success of graduating the first of many leadership classes that finished the curriculum and board training to position Black leaders to triumph on a local nonprofit board of directors.

“Our organization is focused on developing leaders that are dedicated to making an impact in our community. BBLI is a one-of-a-kind program committed to not only developing passionate leaders but providing access to opportunities to those who have historically been overlooked”

Nisha Brice, Director of Strategic Investment & Impact.

Over the last year, Brice explained, BBLI has worked with nonprofit organizations to “be intentional about their board recruitment process and create boardrooms that welcome diverse thoughts and lived experiences as well as leaders to show up authentically and unapologetically. This ultimately drives our region towards achieving our mission of broad-based prosperity, where everyone, no matter their human difference, lives a meaningful and prosperous life.”

In effort to foster authentic connections, the nonprofit executives who participated in BBLI’s nonprofit track, where they learned how to pursue and maintain diversity, equity, and inclusion on their board of directors, were invited to spend time in a one-on-one exchange with the leadership graduates during the graduation celebration in late November. Nonprofit leaders shared information about the mission and purpose of their organization, as well as board opportunities and recruitment efforts.

By creating a pipeline of leaders for organizations to identify and align skillsets with open board seats, we amplify our mission to achieve Broad-Based Prosperity and broaden the reach and importance of partnerships,” said Tim Giuliani, the Partnership’s president and CEO.

“This life-changing experience taught me things about myself that I will be able to use in my community”

Curtis L. Proctor,
Director of Development for Barry University.

“If given the opportunity, I recommend that everyone experience a space where they can be themselves and grow authentically,” Proctor added.

Tamra Boone, Director of Business Development for Edgewood Children’s Ranch said she has a different view of her ability to serve and make a change in the community. “Establishing a strong sense of community has made the greatest impact on my personal and professional journey,” Boone said.

“My experience with BBLI has catapulted and enhanced my ability to serve, work, and invest in my community”

Tamra Boone,
Director of Business Development for Edgewood Children’s Ranch 

Participating in the Black Boardroom Leadership Institute program was a transformational experience for Sazisani Viki, Regional Services Consultant for Wells Fargo.

“The program strengthened my understanding of what it truly means to be part of a nonprofit board. I’m looking forward to joining a board to serve my community, being an additional voice for diverse groups and individuals, and helping to further advance Wells Fargo’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion”

Sazisani Viki, Regional Services Consultant for Wells Fargo

During the graduation day, the graduates had several speakers, including Tony Jenkins, Market President for Florida Blue’s Central Florida region and the Partnership’s Board Chair who shared personal experiences and offered them tips to be successful in any boardroom. “They have proven their interest to participate in local boards and have amplified their talents and knowledge participating in BBLI and are now more than ready and trained to become board members in any of our Orlando region boards,” Jenkins said.

“Seeing these Black leaders is empowering and proves to us that we are on the right track”

Tony Jenkins,
Market President for Florida Blue’s Central Florida region
and the Partnership’s Board Chair

The BBLI program represents an additional layer of the Partnership’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. In January 2021, the Partnership spearheaded a DEI pledge in which local corporations committed to educating themselves about systemic racism, using their corporate power and influence to endorse racial justice policies and improving wage equity, growth potential and advancement opportunities for racial minorities. To date, more than 170 corporate CEOs have signed the pledge. 

“With our continuous innovation in community collaboration, this initiative will help address and remove barriers for the recruitment and placement of Black executives on boards”

Tim Giuliani, Partnership president and CEO

The first three years of the program will be offered at no charge thanks to an investment from an anonymous fundholder at the Central Florida Foundation. See the graduation photos and the 2022 BBLI leadership graduates directory here. 

Opportunities to participate in the next cohorts will be available 2023. Applications from nonprofit organizations interested in participating will be accepted starting on January 3. There will be a BBLI 2023 Nonprofit Informational Zoom session on Jan. 10, 2023, at 11 a.m. Those interested in learning more about the program and applying can register here.

For more information on how local nonprofits can get involved with the program, contact Nisha Brice nisha.brice@orlando.org, Partnership director, strategic investment and impact. For more information on the program, visit the Black Boardroom Leadership Institute website.

About Leadership Orlando

With over 5,000 graduates, Leadership Orlando is Central Florida’s only community leadership program that spans across the entire seven-county region and is the largest program in America, offering multiple classes each year. For more, visit LeadershipOrlando.org

About Central Florida Foundation

Central Florida Foundation stewards philanthropic dollars on behalf of individuals, families, and nonprofits. We partner with people who are determined to make a difference in their community. Knowing that true change demands more than dollars and cents, we foster collaboration, fuel ideas, and spearhead the innovation that will transform our region for good. Learn more at www.cffound.org.