About BoardStrong

Learn more about our organization and the values that drive us.

BoardStrong’s mission is to help nonprofit organizations achieve the highest standards of board leadership, governance and oversight. We do this by providing nonprofit board training, consultation and educational resources. We also have an online recruitment platform that helps organizations find talented board candidates from outside their networks. BoardStrong is a subsidiary of the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON).

Our Vision

To have more knowledgeable and diverse leaders on more nonprofit boards serving their communities for the public good.

Our Mission

To transform the flow of knowledgeable and diverse leaders onto nonprofit boards by:

  • Identifying and guiding new leaders into board service.
  • Fostering a more efficient process for boards to fill their leadership needs.

Our Core Values

  • Unyielding focus on strengthening nonprofit boards
  • Strong spirit of collaboration
  • Dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Fundamental belief in the value of citizens serving as volunteer trustees
  • Deep commitment to respectful communication
  • Protection of privacy

Questions about using BoardStrong’s matching portal? Click here to view our FAQ page.

Our Board Officers

David S. Birdsell, PhD | Board Chair

David S. Birdsell, PhD | Board Chair

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kean University

Before starting his tenure at Kean University, David served as Dean at Baruch College’s Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs for fifteen years. David has centered his academic work on the nexus of communication, media, and information technology in politics, government and nonprofit administration. An expert on political debating and widely published on communication theory and practice, David is a regular guest commentator on debates and other aspects of political communication for television and print media. His work has been supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the IBM Endowment for the Study of Business and Government, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the United Way of New York City, the Markle Foundation, and other funders. David is President of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, and serves on NASPAA’s Executive Council. He chairs the board of BoardStrong and is a member of the board of the New York Council of Nonprofits. David received his BA and MA degrees from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in Public Communication from the University of Maryland.
Althea Luehrsen | Vice Chair

Althea Luehrsen | Vice Chair

CEO, Leadership Buffalo, Inc.

Althea became the 4th Executive Director of Leadership Buffalo in 2012. Prior to her appointment, she was at the University at Buffalo for eleven years and held positions as the Executive Director of UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Assistant Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Ms. Luehrsen holds an extensive background in business and leadership that include management positions within the University at Buffalo, Abbott Laboratories, and Marriott Corporation. Althea is a graduate of the SUNY Empire (Empire State College) where she received both her BA and MA. Her published work, entitled “A Historical View Of The Development and Growth Of Women-Owned Businesses in The United States and the Motivation Behind the Growth” can be accessed on-line.

Althea currently holds several board and committee positions including Erie Community College Foundation Board and Empire State College Alumni Board Member.  She is a past president of the WNY Affiliate Susan G. Komen Foundation.

David M. Rottkamp, CPA | Treasurer

David M. Rottkamp, CPA | Treasurer

Partner, Not-for-Profit Practice Leader, Grassi Advisors & Accountants

David M. Rottkamp, CPA, is an Audit Partner, Not-for-Profit Practice Leader, at Grassi Advisors & Accountants. David has over 35 years of experience providing audit and advisory services to the not-for-profit and health care industries. David focuses on organizations serving individuals with special needs, religious organizations, educational institutions, membership associations, social service providers, healthcare providers, foundations, and the arts and culture world. David’s technical knowledge allows him to provide specific services, including Single Audits/Uniform Guidance compliance audits and retirement plan audits. David is an active member of the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA), where he is a previous Chair of the Not-for-Profit Committee and several of its subcommittees, including government funding sources and cost reporting updates. David is a graduate from Pace University, with a BBA in Accounting.

Daniel Flax | Secretary

Daniel Flax | Secretary

CIO and Advisor 360, MassMutual

Daniel is the CIO and Advisor 360 for MassMutal. Most recently, he was the Chief Technology Officer for OmegaOne and the Chief Information Officer at TheStreet. Prior to TheStreet, Daniel was the Chief Information Officer for Cowen Group, where he was responsible for the delivery of technology services to all areas of the bank, including research, investment banking, and trading. Mr. Flax holds a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and was an Undergraduate Research Fellow in High Energy Astrophysics at CalTech in a joint program with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA.

Our Board of Directors

Jabari Bell
Managing Partner
Walter & Wells Real Estate Group

Mary Ellen Cologero
Senior Wealth Manager
Wilmington Trust

Martin Conroy
Community Leader

Marina Cvetkovic
Co-CEO and Co-Owner
Heimann Cvetkovic & Partners AG

Janet T. Farrell
Group Vice President, Education and Nonprofit Banking Group (Retired)
M & T Bank

Reg Foster
RB Foster Consulting


Eleanor Hume
Your Part-Time Controller, LLC

Jeffrey Jacob
Chief Financial and Administrative Officer
JCC Association of North America

Hsing Hsing Li
Managing Principal

Rachel D. Pardoe
Senior Program Officer
The New York Community Trust

Sheila M. Strong, EdD
Director of Leadership Development and Equity
United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes

Tai Terry
Community Leader


Our Staff

Megan Allen

Megan Allen


Megan is a trusted nonprofit leader of two decades with proven managerial, communications, and team-building skills who specializes in organizational growth. She is also a board member with the Capital District Women’s Employment and Resource Center.

Barbara Paxton

Barbara Paxton


Barbara has years of experience working with nonprofit boards and helping them achieve success. She is an expert in personalized board matching services and has served on boards of The Pearl Theatre Company, Heiress Productions and the New York Junior League.

Malick Diomande

Malick Diomande

Community Engagement Coordinator

Malick aims to help bolster the capacity of nonprofit boards by connecting members with information and resources to help further their organization’s mission. He is a Cornell University graduate with a degree in Government, who also serves as a high school track and field coach.