Boost Your Career with Board Service

I remember the days when I wanted to get involved in the community, but wasn’t sure where to start. I’d volunteer here and there, serving on committees or doing random jobs to help out. Joining a board of directors was my ultimate goal – not only would I be able to help a cause that was important to me, it would be great for my career too, right? Getting involved in my local young professional network (CYPN) was incredibly beneficial, helping me to build my network alongside other like-minded professionals. Eventually, I ended up on a board, then another and then before I knew it, I was one of those young professionals who were highly sought after by nonprofits to serve on their boards.

That last statement may sound somewhat arrogant, but I assure you, it’s not. There’s been a growing issue in NH of seasoned board members wanting to retire and not enough younger, energetic leaders stepping up to serve on boards. So, when I say that I was “one of those young professionals who were highly sought after,” it’s because NH nonprofits need all young professionals to get engaged.

Last year, I was contacted by the NH Center for Nonprofits to work with them on the Hoffman-Haas Fellowship. A few years ago, the Center found that, in addition to nonprofits’ need for younger board members, employers want their employees to be engaged in the community and young professionals want to get engaged, but aren’t always sure where to start, so they created the Hoffman-Haas Fellowship, which responds to all of these needs.

I had the opportunity to go through the Fellowship this past winter and found it so valuable. Yes, I’ve already served on boards, but the nationally recognized speakers that present the workshops are teaching those of us who already serve on boards the skills and best practices to take the organization to the next level. And for the Fellows who haven’t ever served on a board – well, they get a huge head start on board experience and skills. There is also a mentorship aspect to the Fellowship, in which new relationships are forged and offers another level of learning and experience. For me, it was great to be able to “debrief” with my mentor after each session.

Credit: Jim Stankiewicz Photography

Credit: Jim Stankiewicz Photography

My favorite session was called “Governance as Leadership.” It focused on generative discussions versus strategic and fiscal. The best part about that workshop for me was, not only were the skills learned extremely valuable for me to apply in a nonprofit role that I already have, but the skills are also transferable to work situations.

I would encourage everyone to take a look at the Hoffman-Haas Fellowship and consider participating – either as a Fellow, Mentor or if you’re an employer, encourage your employees to get involved. The success of NH nonprofit organizations contributes directly to our quality of life here in NH and by serving on nonprofit boards, we are all doing our part to keep NH a great play to stay, work and play!

There are so many wonderful people and organizations making a difference in our own backyards! If you would like us to feature your nonprofit or know of an amazing NH professional giving back email  doinggood@stayworkplay.org

One Response to “Boost Your Career with Board Service”

  1. PadenFebruary 12, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    Great advice!

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