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Key Traits of Phenomenal Foundation Executive Directors

Thursday, April 30, 2015 -
2:00pm to 4:00pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 San Francisco, CA 94105
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Foundation executive directors—particularly those with few or no staff—juggle many roles: strategic grantmaker, convener, collaborator, board wrangler, media spokesperson, technical assistance provider, mediator, and so much more. Exponent Philanthropy, with input from participants in its Master Juggler Executive Institute, has identified specific traits and behaviors that successful foundation executives tend to embody, from masterful communication to big-picture thinking. 

Join members of Exponent Philanthropy’s San Francisco Bay Area Local Engagement Group and Northern California Grantmakers for this highly interactive session, facilitated by Exponent Philanthropy’s CEO Henry Berman, exploring several key traits and behaviors and how they can be developed, practiced, and honed. Whether you’re a foundation executive director, trustee, junior staff member, or advisor, you’ll come away with insights and ideas to strengthen your organization’s leadership capacity. 

Join us after the program for an informal networking reception.  

Target Audience

This program is designed for staff and board of small foundations and family foundations.  


Henry L. Berman, Chief Executive Officer, leads Exponent Philanthropy using his wealth of experience managing people, projects, and budgets in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. He was instrumental in helping the Association of Small Foundations (ASF) evolve into Exponent Philanthropy.

In his formal philanthropic career, Henry has served as a foundation president and co-trustee, gaining significant experience working closely with grantees and evaluating funded programs. In his continuing role as a foundation trustee, Henry has been a dues-paying member of Exponent Philanthropy since 2003. He served on the Exponent Philanthropy (then, ASF) board from 2008–2010 and was appointed CEO in 2011. Through his experience as a member and a leader within the organization, he brings to the CEO role a firsthand understanding of the needs of philanthropists with few or no staff.

Before joining the staff at Exponent Philanthropy, Henry had a long career in educational media and technology. He also served as a board member, volunteer, fundraiser, and/or marketer for several organizations including the American Society for Training and Development, the American Occupational Health Association, and the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation. He is a founding board member of the Museum of Broadcast Technology and also currently serves on the boards of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the National Council of Nonprofits.

Henry earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Ithaca College, a master’s and doctorate in education from Boston University, and a certificate in business and management from the Harvard University Extension School.

Originally from Massachusetts, Henry now lives in Washington, DC. When not here, you might find him, still camera to his eye, exploring back roads and wilderness trails


If you have any questions about registration, please contact Corey Jannicelli, Program Manager, Volunteer Engagement, Exponent Philanthropy at or call 202.580.6560.