Towards Nonprofit Excellence

Speaker Bios

Mary Alex, Miriams House, provides both domestic and international consulting services around organizational development (hands-on coaching, analysis, & intervention), resource plans, and feasibility/market research. Her expertise is growing nonprofits with an eye towards strategic collaborations for long-term sustainability. A particular passion of hers is to facilitate “enterprise development” by isolating new streams of funding, believing all nonprofits need to operate with a “business-lens” model. Other specific areas of expertise for Mary Alex include nonprofit branding and creating all communication tools to enhance visibility and clout. Her past clients include national and global organizations in the areas of human rights, prevention of human-trafficking, and amelioration of HIV/AIDS around the world. She also brings experience working in broadcast journalism for CBS All-News Radio & NPR in the San Francisco Bay area.

Mary Alex runs a nonprofit and teaches at Sweet Briar College’s School of Business (Nonprofit Administration). She holds a Masters degree from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as a B.A. in Communications/PR from George Washington University. She just graduated from the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.


Katie Campbell, CVA, Skye Consulting, has worked in the field of nonprofit and volunteer management for over 30 years as practitioner, author, trainer and leader.  She now serves as the Executive Director of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA), managing professional credentialing programs for leaders of volunteers.

Her career began in 1973 at the Philadelphia Family Court where she helped develop an extensive volunteer program to provide support services to the probation officers and their young clients.  Since then she has provided training and technical assistance throughout North America, becoming well-known in the field.  For 14 years she worked at the Virginia Office of Volunteerism, eventually becoming director.  And from 1997 to 2003 she served as executive director of the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA), the international professional association for leaders and managers of volunteer programs. 

Katie is also an independent consultant in nonprofit and volunteer resources management.  She has authored and co-authored several articles and publications and teaches as adjunct faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia and Tidewater Community College. 


Maria Markham, Senior Consultant, La Piana Consulting

Maria Markham, Senior Consultant, La Piana Consulting brings more than two decades experience as a nonprofit executive and a consultant when she works with nonprofit groups. Her work has extended across the sector with new, emerging, and established organizations.

 Maria has worked with many diverse groups, individuals and communities including most recently in the US-Mexico border region. She has extensive experience in helping organizations develop strategies and practicalapproaches to major change and transition points in their growth. In addition to working with groups to help them build and strengthen their Boards, translate vision into action, and focus on results and impact, Maria has specialized in capacity building, communications, resource development, and planning.

Prior to joining La Piana Consulting, Maria was founder and principal of Peann Consulting in Washington, DC. Her past positions include Director of Development at Pyramid Atlantic and Director of Development at the Washington Bach Consort. Prior to arriving in Washington, Maria served as the first executive director of The Art Connection in Boston, as Director of Program Development and then Director of Development and Public Relations at HealthQuarters in Beverly, MA, and also as Director of Agency Services at The Greater Boston Food Bank. 

Maria has extensive leadership experience, working closely with and as a member of coalitions, Boards of Directors, and committees. She is a founding Board member of The Art Connection in the Capital Region and serves on the Board of The Galapagos Conservancy.

Maria received her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Brandeis University and a B.S. from Trinity College, Ireland. Maria lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband and two children.


Bunkie Righter, Director, Business Development, GuideStar USA, has 20 years of experience in both nonprofit management, fundraising and revenue generation. GuideStar (, the national database of nonprofit organizations provides a broad spectrum of useful on-line information and tools to access that information. During the last 10 years with GuideStar, Ms. Righter has worked in a variety of roles and for the last seven years in her current role, where she focuses on developing partner relationships and delivering comprehensive data solutions from the GuideStar database for partners and clients.

Beyond the distribution of GuideStar's extensive database through licensing partnerships, she travels throughout the country talking with NPO professionals about GuideStar's role in the nonprofit sector. Ms. Righter attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Ms. Righter recently received a certificate in NonProfit Management from Virginia Commonwealth University. She serves on the stewardship committee and sings in her church choir and is a member of The Women with a Cause Committee in Williamsburg as well a founding member of SpiritWorks Foundation a Center for Addiction Recovery located in Williamsburg VA.

 Ms. Righter will be speaking on: The Ratings Game

Bunkie Righter will take the audience through the evolution of GuideStar and talk about the problem GuideStar was trying to solve at the beginning and the problem we try to solve today. Then she will talk about the distinction of being mistaken for an organization that rates charities and why GuideStar actually doesn’t. She and the audience will then discuss the ups and downs of ratings, great when they are good, terrible when their bad-and finally, she will be sure and leave time for a lively Q and A session.


Rosetta Thurman, Thurman Consulting, grew up in the public housing projects of Cleveland, Ohio, and if it weren’t for the nonprofits in her community who helped her family in times of need, she doesn’t know where she would be today. Fueled by a passion for social change, Rosetta worked in the nonprofit community for eight years before founding Thurman Consulting, an education company specializing in personal and professional development to help nonprofit leaders and passionate entrepreneurs change the world.

Rosetta is the co-author of How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar, 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career, an accessible, do-it-yourself guide for how to build a successful career in the nonprofit sector. She holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Trinity Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. Rosetta has also taught management and leadership courses as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Professional Studies at Trinity Washington University. In 2008, she was named a “New Leader in Philanthropy” by Greater DC Cares.

Rosetta has been featured in numerous media outlets such as JET Magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Forbes Woman, Fox 5 News and The Network Journal. She is proud to be a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. In her free time, Rosetta writes poetry, listens to the Isley Brothers and eats way too many desserts. She also tweets. A lot.