When I first started with StartingBloc, we had a board of directors made up of some StartingBloc Fellows, but a lot of them were advisors or people who have spoken at our institutes previously.
We’re in board recruitment right now so this is a fun time to be talking about this. We’re looking to build a new board that is a combination of Fellows and non-Fellows.
We wanted a board that had, one, the lived experience because they can really understand the needs of the fellowship and two, be a board that was “on board.” “On board” for the vision of the organization and “on board” to support the fellowship.
In the last two years we’ve gone through the process of revisiting our mission, vision and values as an organization and really trying to clarify them. We’ve also come up with some community norms in collaboration with our community. For me, it’s are you “on board” with those?
When you’re interviewing people, listen to the language they’re using and see if it’s aligned with the language we’re using when we’re talking about our mission, vision and values. I think this is the movement we will continue to see. We’ll see boards that are represented more by the people who are at the center of the work the organization is doing.
If I’m looking at an organization and I look at their board, and their mission is to end homelessness and they don’t have a person that has experienced this, I might not be likely to really get “on board” with that board.
I think that’s the direction a lot of nonprofits are going and I think that’s great.
See more from the People Matter series here.