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As a business owner, I place a high value on commitment to the community. One of the ways I choose to give back is by serving on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. Helping to develop women leaders has long been a passion of mine. My work with the Girl Scouts provides a unique opportunity for me to help develop girls into the leaders of tomorrow.

When I recently completed my term as chair of the board development committee, I was surprised to receive a special recognition. The President’s Plaque is an award given to a board member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty as a board member to help forward the mission of Girl Scouting. What an honor! I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with this organization.

“Under Amy’s leadership as chair of the Board Development Committee, her team consistently exceeds expectations and has always done a great job ensuring Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland has a strong slate of diverse, talented candidates for open board roles,” says Julie Holbein, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland President and Board Chair.

Six Lessons for Board Development

As I reflect back on my term as board development committee chair, I’d like to share six board development lessons I learned along the way as we built a world-class board for the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. I stepped into the role with a vision that was created around four pillars: the candidate slate, board performance, board skill development, and the on-boarding experience.

If you are developing a board, I encourage you to consider these tips.

  • Think big picture. Create a vision for what your board should be. It’s more than finding an arbitrary slate of candidates. The candidates must be in alignment with the mission of the organization, and their skills must forward the strategic priorities of the board.
  • Communicate metrics. Most boards require their members to maintain a certain level of performance and achieve specific compliance metrics, such as are you meeting financial contributions, attending meetings and other functions. Others are tied to strategic priorities, such as contributing your time and talent by performing a service like facilitating introductions. Make sure your candidates are “on board” with these requirements before they take their place on the board.
  • Provide skill development. To have a world-class board, you must help your members stretch and grow. At the Girl Scouts, we hold regular board development session on topics that may range from philanthropy to leadership.
  • Plan for the future. Look at your leadership pipeline and continually ensure there are members who are ready to step into the roles.
  • Stay small. When you’re considering your board development committee, a smaller team can be more nimble, as well as more strategic.
  • Create opportunities for others. After I developed the pillars, other committee chairs stepped up to be leaders for each of the pillars. That helped spread the work, and also allowed them to be creative in their areas of expertise.

Have you ever been involved with board development? What tips can you share?

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