Announcing newest additions to the National Board
This blog is a part of our monthly Board Member series.
2016 has been a challenging year, but we at the YNPN National Board are eager to take on the challenges – and opportunities – facing us in 2017 head on. We're feeling much better equipped to do so because we now have five new board members!
Without further ado, our five new national board members who will be beginning their terms in 2017:
Callum Stewart in San Antonio, TX
Sentari Minor in Phoenix, AZ (Chapter Affiliation: YNPN Phoenix)
Kendall Joyner in Washington, DC
Samantha Alarie-Leca in Indianapolis, IN (Chapter Affiliation: YNPNindy)
Jodi Benenson in Omaha, NE (Chapter Affiliation: YNPN Boston and YNPN Omaha)
(Stay tuned here for their bios!)
As we celebrate and share our new members with the network, we also want to shine a light on how we recruit.
Our recruitment process is spearheaded by our Board Development Committee, whose keyword is intentionality. We plan out our outreach and timing; we examine and document the skills and strengths our board already has and where it can use more support; we talk to our national staff about what they need. Our recruitment process doesn't begin right before our application launches –year round we are making contact with existing network leaders and would-be YNPN members, assessing interest and answering questions.
We also keep EDI at the forefront throughout our process. We are constantly discussing how to do outreach to a wider range of folks, trying to ensure we go beyond our board members' existing networks; we include our views on EDI as part of our board member "job announcement," and we look at maintaining diversity and inclusion across many aspects – gender, race/ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, etc. – with both new and existing board members when making final decisions.
Once our application launches, we eagerly await applicants as we continue to carry out board business. We also put on at least one Twitter chat each year (you can find archives from this year at #askynpnboard), where potential new board members can ask questions of our existing board members.
"The skills people can contribute are important, we want people to be able to support the network in a meaningful way. But more than that, we want them to feel like they are being heard and empowered through our work."
Alongside getting a better understanding of each person's strengths and competencies, we try to give and get a sense of how our national board culture – which we articulate very clearly – would align with what they're looking for. Are they comfortable working on a board that works remotely/virtually? Is the ambiguity inherent to our work (and our sector) something they can sit comfortably in? Do they value transparency, flexibility, community?
It's not just about what we want though – it's also about who we – and they – are. The skills people can contribute are important, we want people to be able to support the network in a meaningful way. But more than that, we want them to feel like they are being heard and empowered through our work. Being a national board member, as our tens of thousands of members can tell you, is not the only way to do that. Therefore, whether or not the people we interview become part of the board or not, we look to keep them engaged and remind them of other opportunities to stay connected.
One of those opportunities is becoming a Regional Lead. Regional Leads are five individuals from the network who will spearhead the work of our Chapter Congress. Each lead will represent a region of the country and its chapters and work with the Network Engagement Committee on strategy and planning for chapter conference.
We'll also be continuing the process of bringing other network supports for committee-specific tasks. While the network we have is constructed with the idea that co-leadership happens at all levels, ensuring that we continue to have different voices working directly with the board is crucial to ensuring we are living out our mission. More details about how to become a committee member are forthcoming.
We're also excited to continue supporting the leadership development and practices of our current board members. I'm honored to be stepping into the Co-Chair role with Ivan Canada for the national board in 2017. We're both excited to have the opportunity to bring our respective strengths together for the good of the board, the network, and our national staff. We're also excited to employ an explicit shared leadership model. Beyond the obvious benefits in terms of work-life balance for each of us and elevation of different perspectives, having a co-leadership model makes even more clear that leadership is a process, not a person.
Here's to a 2017 chock full of opportunities to get to know and support change agents at at the national level. I'm ready!
Kim Walker is a devoted non-profiteer living in Washington, DC. In her professional life, she serves as a Training and Technical Assistance Manager with the Urban Institute's Pay for Success Initiative, providing learning experiences and consulting services dedicated to ensuring Pay for Success is used in the best and most effective way possible. She also works as a personal and professional coach with a range of individuals as part of her side hustle, Beautiful Service Coaching LLC. Read more about Kim here!