The Value of Joining a Board

I dare you to volunteer for the board of an organization.  If you take me up on this dare, you’ll encounter perks.  You’ll be viewed as a leader, for one, and such leadership skills are transferrable to senior corporate roles.  After all, I’m gunning for a CMO role, and I want to see you in the C-Suite.

Here are several benefits to volunteering on a board:

Board roles benefit certain career paths.  During my term at the University, I discovered that student political candidates always maintained a lengthy list of board and committee roles on their profiles.  Not only does a resume of board roles make candidates more appealing to student voters, but such roles also highlight the ability to multitask and manage responsibility.  The real question is, however, “Was the person’s participation in the board superficial or active?” Active board members surely gain the most.

As another example, to get accepted into medical school, you’ll need a long list of health-related extracurricular, work, and voluntary activities.  A friend of mine wanted to enter medical school and volunteered at a hospice center, worked part-time, and took on multiple extracurricular roles.  She said it was all expected of medical student applicants.

Learn to manage multiple responsibilities.  But what if you have no time for a board or committee?  From my experience, the more responsibilities we have, the more competent we become at juggling tasks.  And the more responsibilities we can manage, the more senior roles we can assume in our careers.

Networking.  The more connections you make, the more opportunities you have at your disposal.  This is true if you plan on selling products to your network or working for their firms.  I know a lawyer who goes to great lengths to join clubs and organizations, as those places are where he acquires many of his clients.

Resume.  A resume featuring a board role with a prestigious title can help you reach the top.  Listing such a board role on your resume can signal that you are leadership material, that you have insights into how a large organization is managed from top down.  Do try, however, to make your board position relevant to your chosen career path.

Skillset and Strategy.  On a board, you learn how other individuals strategize.  You learn tactics you may have never considered.  You learn which decisions get support and which decisions generate results, which may not be the same.  All this exposure can help you create meaningful strategy for large organizations.

Leadership.  Board roles can help you gain experience managing people, which bodes well for job advancements.  My brother, who earned over half a million a year in a director role, would watch job postings like a hawk, and apply for each advancement.  He did this until he climbed from a temp role to nearly the top rung in his global organization.

Interpersonal Communications.  People skills are a hallmark of someone meant for leadership.  I’ve heard that top executives are often charismatic, or at the least, very formal.  I believe the best people skill comes from having a deeply rooted desire for all others’ happiness and good fortune—even for our enemies’.

With that said, once you receive your AU degree or certificate, why not apply to a board?  And if you don’t yet have an academic credential, why not apply anyway? Nothing can truly stop you from being all you desire to be, as your potential has no limits.