Published: about 1 year ago by Lauren King.
Serving on an associate board is a form of civic engagement. It’s a recognized way to give back to the community. While I absolutely agree, I also think that sometimes people overlook another major benefit of serving on a board: professional development. Serving on an associate board can provide transformational learning opportunities.
At work you are often given tasks based on what you already know how to do. Serving on a board, you have the opportunity to work in a team with peers across various backgrounds to tackle challenges that require different skill sets than those you use at your nine to five job. For example, if you work in finance you may have never had the opportunity to plan an event for several hundred guests before. Event planning calls upon a multitude of skills from budgeting, to marketing, to program development. By engaging with a committee that takes on a task outside of your expertise, you acquire new skills and get to apply them immediately. Because of the team dynamic that most boards employ, you are in a safe space to try out those new skills.
Further, there are a multitude of leadership development opportunities. From serving on the executive committee to taking on public speaking engagements, you have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills in a supportive environment. You also have an opportunity to gain knowledge that helps shape your opinions on various social issues and what resources are needed to address those issues. If you take these skills and experiences back to your day job, you are bound to see an increase in creativity and confidence when you are asked to take on new responsibilities.
With all that being said, each experience is what you make it. If you don’t actively engage with your associate board, chances are your term will end and you will feel you’ve done nothing more than attend meetings. But if you keep your eyes open for chances to expand yourself, you can walk away with a more developed leadership style and a whole new skillset.
If you are looking to join an associate board, join us at the 2017 CharityScenes Social where you can interact with board members representing over 20 local associate boards.