Notre Dame launches BRITE Women Project to support women in nonprofit board service

The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business is launching a new initiative aimed at increasing gender diversity on nonprofit boards. The BRITE Women Project (Board Readiness Initiative to Empower Women Project), sponsored by Mendoza’s Nonprofit Professional Development department, seeks to equip women with the skills they need to provide transformational nonprofit board leadership that benefits their communities.

“Diversity of thought and perspective helps nonprofit boards and their associated organizations serve their communities better when all the voices are around the table,” said Angela Logan, the St. Andre Bessette Director of Nonprofit Professional Development. 

“Many women have extensive professional leadership experience that would be a great asset to a nonprofit board, yet they may be uncertain about how to leverage those skills to obtain a seat at the table,” said Joan McClendon, operations program director for Nonprofit Professional Development. “The objective of BRITE is to help women broaden their understanding about nonprofit boards and how they might participate.”

In addition to offering educational opportunities to women, the BRITE Women Project is working to launch a resource to connect nonprofits seeking female board members with women who are interested in serving. 

McClendon says the BRITE Women project is a natural outgrowth of Mendoza’s mission and NPD’s servant heart and business mind focus. “This is another way we are living out our mission to be a force for good, by improving how nonprofit boards operate. We are thankful for the support of Mendoza’s new dean, Martijn Cremers. He listened to our vision for our game-changing project, and his leadership caused the vision to be reality.”

The BRITE Women Project has two upcoming events:

Networking Night Out, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 14 (Wednesday) in Mendoza rooms L061 and L062 (lower level). The event includes a panel discussion featuring experts who will help participants build their nonprofit résumé:

  • Mary Adeniyi, learning and organizational development consultant, University of Notre Dame.
  • Kim Becker, founder and president, Hello Gorgeous! of Hope Inc.
  • Amanda G. McKendree, the Arthur F. and Mary J. O’Neil Director of the Fanning Center for Business Communication and associate teaching professor in Mendoza’s Management and Organization Department.
  • Vivian Sallie, Sallie and Associates.

Bethany Hartley, director of diversity and inclusion at the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership, will moderate the event.

A roundtable discussion on topics related to board service will follow. The event registration is currently full, but email to be placed on a contact list for information on future events.

BRITE Women Boot Camp, Oct. 17-19 at the Mendoza College of Business. The boot camp is a certificate program that includes four professional development sessions in addition to the three-day event. Intended for women interested in or currently serving on nonprofit boards as well as emerging leaders, young professionals and women who are passionate about social justice and impact, the boot camp features sessions on financial, managerial and communication topics that are critical to effective board service. 

The cost is $995. Register by Sept. 15 to receive a $300 discount. Registration closes on Oct. 10. Register here.

For more information about the BRITE Women Project events and to sign up for future emails, contact Joan McClendon at 574-631-5320 or

Originally published by Carol Elliott at on July 31.