We had the unique pleasure of interviewing notable people in the nonprofit sector, including those who serve on boards, to help our new web-based collaboration tool Board Management. Board Management is a new and easy-to-use platform for information that will help nonprofits run more efficiently and help boards to better communicate with each other.
In order for us to ensure a great tool for our nonprofit friends, we interviewed many that would be regular users of our online software. One of those valued connections we spoke to is the President and CEO of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Christine Ross. Christine serves as the lead staff person at the chamber, reporting to the 24-member board of directors. The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is a “membership organization whose mission is to serve their members, promote an environment where business can grow and prosper, and to enhance the quality of life of the Bonita Springs area.” They have a vision statement that strives “to be the premier business organization in Southwest Florida leading change for the betterment of our community.”
It’s imperative for boards to effectively manage themselves and stay organized; a difficult task, but done well through effective governance with the understanding that the board is working in a collaborative effort to achieve all responsibilities of the organization. Governance keeps the organization running smoothly and soundly, as long as everyone is on the same page.
We asked Christine “What are the most important things you do as a board, or that boards can do-to effectively manage themselves and stay organized?” Her response to this was that “Strong leadership at the board chair level is critical to the organization and collegiality of the board activities. Through strong board governance orientation and written guidelines, the board members know their roles and act accordingly. If anyone strays, other board members are quick to bring them back in line.”
It is important for board members to perform as a team, because the vision of an organization is a collaborative effort, one that depends on trust among team members. Board members must rely on each other openly and without reservation.