Having served on several boards within JCI MI and my local chapter of JCI Kalamazoo I have learned over that the tone of the entire team is definitely set by the President. For anyone considering serving on the JCI Board in 2021 you may wonder what that would look like if I am elected and truthfully, I hope you do!
First comes the appointments interest meeting. Outside of the elected Board Members, the remaining officers, auxiliary officers, and committee members are appointed by the elected President. Positions that are eligible for election but have no candidates are also filled in this way. Going into this process it has been very important for me to keep an open mind in considering appointments and therefore I have decided to wait for election results to be announced and see who is interested in serving and what roles they are interested in before deciding appointments for any position – including the Chief of Staff and the Chief Operations Officer. In previous years, it’s been my experience that many of the appointed roles are promised out prior to the election. While there can be advantages in the increased amount of time to plan for the next year, I also believe this leaves a disadvantage for members who want to step forward for consideration but aren’t aware of how to do that until the election is complete and the interest form is available. To ensure that all members receive a fair consideration for appointments I am committing to holding that interested meeting and reviewing the interest forms for all positions after the election.
If elected, once the appointments are completed my next step to lead the group would be to hold a SWOT Analysis and planning session. This is a great opportunity for the newly formed Board of Directors and Committee Members to meet one another, discuss the vision and plan for the organization, and start the process of what will eventually become our long term strategic plan.
I think it’s also important to provide some training opportunities to the Board and Committee Members. There is a lot of responsibility that goes into serving on the State organization and the best way to be successful is to provide those leadership development opportunities. A few of the training sessions would include bringing outside trainers for virtual or in person sessions to assist the board with learning more about diversity, inclusion, and addressing member reported issues of assault, sexual assault, trauma, or other issues brought forward. Too often we expect our leaders to just know how to handle things like this but that expectation is unfounded. To better serve our members, we need to be educated as leaders on all aspects of supporting the membership. Additionally, training on conflict management, balancing work load, and managing teams are important development skills to bring forward.
During the year, I look to all members of the Board as a primary contact for chapters. I would encourage travel – visiting chapters projects, GMM’s, and socials. The State Board has a responsibility to provide support to chapters and that starts with proactively reaching out and connecting. Travel will be a big component of my plan as a leader and for those who are leading along side me as well.
An important aspect of leading the way is also listening. If elected, I would ensure open office hours available monthly for any member to be able to connect and communicate with myself and other members of the Board. Breaking down the communication barriers between the local organizations, members, and State Board of Directors is an important focus for me. Without members and local organizations there is no reason for a State President and State Board – providing the resources needed is vital to the continuation of JCI MI.
During the year I plan to hold quarterly SWOT analysis with the entire Board and Committees to ensure we are capitalizing on strengths, turning our weaknesses into strengths, and addressing the external forces in our opportunities and threats to ensure a successful year.
I believe that serving as President is much like managing a team in a work place. It’s important to connect alongside all the members of the team, to focus on our mission, vision, and goals, and in doing so we will find success.
I hope to be a leader that JCI MI is proud of and to bring up other leaders along side me to continue a strong legacy of leadership for JCI MI in years to come.