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Last month, the Chamber’s board room was buzzing with excitement as about 20 professionals gathered to start their day-long training session on what it takes to serve on a non-profit board. The keynote speaker, Darrin Goss, President and CEO of the Coastal Community Foundation, asked each attendee to stand up and share why they were participating. As they did, common themes emerged, even in a diverse crowd of individuals, of wanting to give back to the community, to get more involved and to make a difference in the region. That’s the point of Get on Board, to equip professionals with the tools they need to successfully serve on a non-profit board.
A slate of speakers and panels were present to give a well-rounded view of the expectations and commitments required to not only serve, but to serve well on a non-profit board. Following the training, participants were able to attend a non-profit matching session, where they interacted with several non-profits in hopes of being offered a 6-month board shadowing position.
As the President and CEO of a non-profit, Goss gave insights on what the leader of a non-profit expects of his or her board members. He was followed by the Chamber’s Beth Franklin on how to understand the budget reporting of a non-profit. After that, there were two panels, one with leaders from several non-profits (Patrick Bryant, Chairman of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce; Kecia Greenho, Executive Director of Reading Partners Charleston; Courtney Plotner, Executive Director of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired- Charleston) and another with young professionals who are currently serving on non-profit boards ( Nelson Akwari of The Boeing Company and Dustin Haynes of Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union).
The matching process is still ongoing, but it has already resulted in seven people being offered opportunities to shadow with non-profit boards and the potential for some incredible relationships to form in the future.
Feedback on the program:
If the chamber continues this program (it has my vote) I hope this is something other non-profits (especially smaller ones) might consider as a training tool for their own boards and possibly their CEO/ED. It seems to me there is a lot of info that would be valuable to them, as well as to younger leaders wanting to volunteer on boards. – Participant
Thanks again for putting on the event. I thought each of the speakers offered value and provided insight on the leadership dynamic of a non-profit. Regardless of whether or not an offer is extended to me from a non-profit, I enjoyed the matching process. You gathered a diverse, lengthy set of non-profits and facilitated this portion smoothly. – Participant
Thanks for a great day yesterday. I thought it was really informative and very helpful for people considering board service. I’m reaching out to all five of my people. As I mentioned, I have four committees and we can have any of them participate on those committees, and we are also in the process of growing our board and replacing a few of our outgoing board members in June. Thanks for including us. – Non-Profit