Interview with Cecily Joseph, VP Corporate Responsibility, Symantec Corporation

Board Secretary and Treasurer: Net Impact

Choosing the right board: What are the three most important considerations?

The mission of the organization; the executive director and feeling that I could be partner to them; the other board members.

The benefits of serving: What makes it worth it?

Seeing an organization grow its funding and reach. If everything works then this happens and as a board member you feel you have impacted important work.

Getting off to a good start: What are three important things to do in your first several months on the board?

Understand the organization-the finances, the goals and strategic plan if any and what the big issues are. Build solid relationships with the ED and existing board members. Understand and carve out a role—“how can I best add value to this organization?”

Participating meaningfully and productively: What should you do to make the experience worthwhile for you and for the organization?

Listen and follow through. Each board is different and has different needs and expectations. But I think key is listening–especially when you are new to a board–more than talking. And if you commit to something–deliver on it. The organization is counting on you to deliver on what you promised.

Serving in a leadership position: What are two or three things to consider when deciding about serving as a board officer or committee chair?

I always start with: “Is this something the organization needs me to do?” Next I look to see if it is something I am interested in: “Will I learn a new skill or be working in an area that I find stimulating?” (I don’t think you can do your best work if you are not engaged.)

What do you wish someone had told you when you were joining a nonprofit board?

Even though it’s a volunteer role, it’s a big commitment and very difficult to quit. So be sure–because it is truly a commitment of time and emotional energy. Very rewarding–feel like I am making a big societal difference and also the various board roles have helped me to improve my skill sets.