Finding a Seat at the (Board Room) Table

Consider participatingSubmitted by Mary Murphy-Overmann, Nominating Committee chair

The search is on. Do you want to be found?

We’re seeking engaged, attentive, productive members who value “big picture” planning. You know the kind of planning I mean. It’s the behind-the-scenes brainwork that helps ensure our Society’s longevity and fiscal health, and that ponders and guides our impact in the broader community.

But being on the Ethical Society Board of Trustees is much more than thinking great thoughts.

The Society’s trustees are our elected representatives. As a body, one of the Board’s chief tasks is to lead us in determining and assessing organizational performance.

You can stop right here if phrases like “strategic planning,” “developing initiatives,” and “communicating mission and vision” cause you to wrinkle your nose. But these are the basic endeavors of our board governance.

Why would you want to participate in that level of planning? Because it’s this kind of thoughtful, proactive brainstorming that guides us when we face concrete questions like,

–How/whether the Society should be involved in local and national actions regarding Ferguson, social justice, and equality.

–How/whether to prioritize investing in our building and grounds, in a two-leader system, or in a co-sponsored regional endeavor.

In FAQ-fashion, here’s more about board service:

What do they do?

The Board of Trustees is responsible for Society policy, oversight of the Society’s finances, and supervision of the leader(s). The Board’s focus is on mission management, long-term goal setting, and the well-being of our community members. They don’t get down and dirty in administrative detail.

Who’s eligible?

Active* members of the Society.

* Active = a member who pledges and contributes annually to the Society.

What kind of time commitment are we talking about?

Board service includes attendance at monthly Board meetings, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. on the second Monday. Trustees commit to special committees and specific projects as their interests, availability, skill sets and passions allow, and in a fair distribution of the work. Trustees serve three-year terms.

What skills are needed to be a trustee?

-Time management: pre-meeting reading of board packets and adherence to the meeting agenda time frames.

-Willingness to familiarize yourself with the Society’s bylaws, policies, traditions, finances, and the Board Policy Manual

-Communication skills: active listening, thoughtful input, and the ability to contribute to an atmosphere of compassionate candor

-Serve as a role model for each other and for the congregation in stewardship of the building and grounds, in community life and engagement, and in financial support of the Society

-Active engagement in fundraising in ways best suited to each individual

What if I say I want to be considered for the Board but then I don’t get nominated? Is there a different route to the Board?

Yep. Our bylaws provide for additional nominations to the Board by written petition signed by at least ten Active Members. If the nominee-by-petition is running to be an officer, the position must be specified. All such written petitions must be filed at the Society office at least 30 days prior to the Annual Meeting (scheduled for May 14, 2015).

If you would like to be considered for Board service, or if you want to recommend a candidate, please contact Nominating Committee Chair Mary Murphy-Overmann by February 15th:, 314-369-9669.