Shannon White, Partner, and
Corporate Social Responsibility Leader, Guidehouse Consulting
Board of Directors, ECO City Farms
Choosing the right board: What are the three most important considerations?
When I consider serving on a board I think about whether I am passionate about the organization’s mission. I want to maximize my contributions to the world by focusing on those areas where professionally and personally I’m already spending my time, money, and creativity, because I’ve found there are always synergies.
I also consider how much time I have to give and what are the current needs of the organization. If the organization is a start-up there may be a greater time commitment and needs to roll up my sleeves.
I also consider the Executive Director and understand how well the board and the Executive Director work together on behalf of the organization and the mission. I think about whether the Executive Director has a compelling vision for the organization and if the Board is supportive.
Participating meaningfully and productively: What should you do to make the experience worthwhile for you and for the organization?
In order to create a meaningful and productive experience I recommend that board recruits spend the time upfront getting to know the organization, its mission, the Executive Director, the Board Chair and fellow board members. If this is not part of the organization’s current board recruiting process then ask for these meetings. In these meetings ask about expectations for a board member.
And finally, be transparent about why you are passionate about the mission and how you see yourself supporting the organization. You want to ensure that those are skills and experiences that the organization currently needs to achieve its mission.