Legg Mason’s Board Leadership Program (BLP) gives employees both the opportunity and the tools to effectively serve on a range of nonprofit boards in the communities where they work and live. This unique program—featuring a robust process of recruiting, board governance training, nonprofit organization matching, and continuous group learning and sharing forums—has encouraged dozens of professionals to engage in board service in communities throughout Central Maryland, Connecticut, and the New York/New Jersey area.
“This not only allows professionals to develop and invest their leadership skills, but also helps Legg Mason create a more sustained engagement with its communities,” says Business Director and Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council Member George Schott. “It also makes for a more cohesive and engaged workforce.”
“The program has brought team members together from other parts of the organization who would not necessarily have worked together, or known of each other or their experience,” says Schott. “And it provides them the opportunity to leverage existing skills. For example, by creating a brand positioning statement to guide a nonprofit’s communication strategy, or leading an executive director performance review process.”
He adds, “Through the BLP, employees can assist nonprofits in meaningful ways, while enhancing leadership skills beyond one’s regular work role.”
To provide board governance training and board placement support for participating employees, Legg Mason’s BLP works with community partners, including Business Volunteers Maryland, United Way of New York City, United Way of Western Connecticut, and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County (New Jersey). According to Head of Corporate Citizenship Kristin Kosmides, semi-annual learning forums offer additional information and support.
“Our Board Leadership participants have benefited from sessions with board governance experts, fundraising experts, and others, and then shared that expertise with their community partner organizations—a win for all,” she says.
Further, she explains, as news of Legg Mason’s success with the BLP has made the rounds, the firm has begun sharing its processes and knowledge with organizations. “We are looking to leverage our experience wherever we can. It’s good for companies. It’s good for the community. And it’s absolutely replicable.”