This past weekend was the University of Texas at Austin's commencement ceremony, a celebration and hope-filled farewell to the University's 135th class of world-changing graduates. Earlier this year, we had the honor to engage with a select group of these graduates from the McCombs Board Fellows. The McCombs Board Fellows is a student-run organization that places students on the boards of local nonprofits as non-voting members for a year. Notley co-founder, Dan Graham, had the honor of kicking off their 2018 speaker series at The Refinery.
Check out highlights from his talk on how to position yourself to make a lasting impact as a board member.
1. Be on a board that solves a problem that really matters to you.
Being on a board is often hard work! Make sure that the problem your board is trying to solve is an issue that really frustrates you, or is a community topic that you have apassion for. A board full of members who are fired up is most effective when solving tough challenges.
2. Build relationships outside of the boardroom.
Take time to cultivate relationships outside of your board. Networking is the most valuable skill that they don’t teach you in school - practice it! If you connect with individuals outside of your organization, you’ll expand the perspective and resources necessary to truly tackle the issues that you’re dedicated to fixing.
3. Fill your board with people who care, not just your friends.
It is important to include members that represent a diverse range of skills, professions, and perspectives. A homogeneous board is likely not going to challenge each other, which results in
slow-moving change, if any at all.
4. Speak up!
Perhaps the most important element to being an effective board member is to find your voice and speak up. Own your position and get involved anywhere that you can.