FAQ: What’s it like being on the board?

I’ve already gotten this question enough, so I’ll post a note now and update it as I learn more.

Answer: It’s fascinating, fun, scary, exhausting, frustrating, angering, confusing (already!), and I wouldn’t miss a minute. I’m very proud to serve our community in this way. Although I’ve only been in the job for a little over month and I’m spending lots and lots of time reading and learning the job, I already know that what I saw as a member of the public was roughly 20% of what goes on. Part of that 80% is what I hope to make more visible here or through my actions as a board member, but a significant portion of the job can never be explained or shared because being part of the Board is being part of a team, with our administration, and the relationships, protocols, etc., that one learns simply can’t be shared easily in words.

I will add that many folks work in jobs or businesses that are far more homogeneous than they realize. We often share common skills, training, goals, etc., with our coworkers, but Boards are less like that. Members come from a much wider range of backgrounds and experiences and, like our community, this diversity can be both good and bad at times. It’s good when we bring different points of view and creative solutions to problems. It’s bad when we aren’t communicating because we work in different vocabularies. Good communication takes time and careful listening.

Certainly, my experience in volunteer leadership positions in the community has given me lots of practice in working in such groups, so while this group is unique, in many ways it is not. Time will tell and I hope to share the ride with you.

Keep asking the question and I suspect my answer might change.

[For more on communicating and consensus, see my post on “listening rhetoric”.]

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