Interview with Raju Narisetti, Professor of Professional Practice & Director, Knight-Bagehot Fellowships Columbia University – School of Journalism
Previously: CEO, Gizmodo Media Group LLC of Fusion Media Group
Board Member: Institute of International Education
Vice Chair: International Center for Journalists (ICFJ)
Board Member: Wikimedia Foundation
Choosing the right board: What are the three most important considerations?
Believing in the mission of the non-profit is the bottom-line. Willing to make the time and effort is vital and having something unique to contribute to the board is a good filter to use when accepting the requests.
The benefits of serving: What makes it worth it?
For me, it is a very small but very satisfying way of giving back. I am a product of international education opportunities; have inherent faith in the good that good journalism can do; and believe in the free flow of knowledge, information, people and ideas. My three non-profit board choices are rooted in just those three areas.
Getting off to a good start: What are three important things to do in your first several months on the board?
Ask for a lot of information and meet with staff (not just board members) as part of onboarding and orientation. Listen more than talk, for sure, but don’t hesitate to ask questions from Day One. Be fully present when the non-profit needs you, even outside of the Board setting.
Participating meaningfully and productively: What should you do to make the experience worthwhile for you and for the organization?
I practice a “nose in, fingers out” philosophy to being on any board. My job is to ask constructive questions, point out new possibilities, and be there, when needed, for the management and staff.
Serving in a leadership position: What are two or three things to consider when deciding about serving as a board officer or committee chair?
Making sure you have the time, since this often means a doubling of your time/attention commitment in any year. And be picky about what that Committee is—don’t do it for quota reasons—so you are really adding some value.