What Do You Do On the Executive Board?
By Carey Unger, Nu Omicron (Vanderbilt U), International Vice President
As the Executive Board election season begins to ramp up, culminating in elections at Convention in Dallas in June 2023, current XB members often get the question “What do you do on the Executive Board”? Being in my first board term myself, I had the exact same question this time last biennium. It was important for me to learn about the role of the board members to make sure I could see myself as a leader in that space.
The role of the board members has changed significantly over the years. Prior to the adoption of policy governance in 2009, board members were involved in the operational decisions, very much “in the weeds” of running the Fraternity. With the shift to the Carver method of Policy Governance in recent years, our role shifted even more intentionally to focus on three primary responsibilities: creating policy, monitoring, and membership connection.
In our role of creating policy, we as board members define the framework for how our volunteers and professional staff conduct their business. Boiled down, it is the Board’s obligation to define what is “out of bounds”. We do this through the development and review of our policy set.
Our Executive Director, Kaya Miller, then uses this information from the Board to partner with her professional staff and volunteers to do their work. The Board’s role of monitoring is how we help ensure the work is being done within those defined bounds, and with success. This is how we meet our responsibility of assuring organizational performance.
Finally, another key role of the Executive Board is making sure we cultivate opportunities to hear directly from our members, with the purpose of receiving the key inputs we need to help develop policies, leading our Fraternity into the future.
In addition to the three key roles specifically outlined for us under Policy Governance, our Bylaws also specifically outline roles that are reserved only for the Executive Board, such as ensuring fiscal responsibility, providing strategic leadership, approving chartering standards for new chapters, approving alumnae chapter names, and reinstating suspended members. I would encourage everyone to go read Article V, Section 3 of the bylaws to review a more comprehensive list…there may be something outlined as a Board responsibility that you didn’t know!
As you consider whether Board service is an opportunity you may want to pursue in the future, know that as long as the minimum requirements in the job description are met, there isn’t a single path of experience that best leads you to being a successful Board member. Diversity of thought and backgrounds makes our Board and the decisions we make that much stronger, and I would encourage you all to widen your lens as you consider whether you could see yourself serving in this important capacity in the future.