Portrait by Ellen Marello
When a new member joins our board, we ask them to prepare a five-minute slide show about their lives and interests for their first meeting; we call it “What makes You, you?” The relationship between the board chair and the board begins by knowing each new member as a person before working together as board members. We also allot time at each meeting for board members to share stories and testimonies about how God works in their lives.
Trust, empathy, and vulnerability are three essential principles I strive to build within our board, and I hope to extend them to the seminary students who will need those skills as they venture out to work and serve in our changing world.
As chair, I see my role extending beyond board governance and strategies. There is always a people element – a culture that promotes synergy and collaboration that is essential to the health of the institution. Applying these principles successfully binds the board, administration, and faculty closer together.
The work continues to evolve. The team dynamics change every year with new members joining the board. I notice that new members are trying to figure things out at their first meeting. At their second meeting, they start to ask questions. They feel safe. And when I see that, I know we are heading down the right path.