By Koren Phillips, Phi Chi (U of Chicago), International Vice President
One of the major cornerstones of our service as Executive Board members is a commitment to ongoing education. Through our Governance and Board Development (GBD) Committee, our board participates in educational opportunities at all of our meetings. The Executive Board is committed to growing and learning as a team to enhance our collective leadership of the Fraternity. Here are a few examples of the types of education that we’ve tackled as an Executive Board:
Policy Governance Education
As part of our ongoing commitment to Policy Governance, we regularly practice various scenarios as an Executive Board. We take the basic tenets and framework of the Policy Governance model and apply them to real-world issues as part of these rehearsal opportunities. Our GBD Committee will create example questions and hypothetical scenarios and our Executive Board members will respond in advance of our meetings using our own policy set and experiences. At our meetings, we’ll then take the opportunity to discuss our responses and reasoning as a full board team. As with many things, practice makes perfect!
The Executive Board Bookshelf
Several times a year, the GBD Committee will suggest a full book for us to read and discuss as a board. We recently read Marketing to Gen Z by Jeff Fromm and Angie Read. Since none of our current Executive Board members fall into the Gen Z (born 1996-2010) cohort of our current collegians and young alumnae, it was important to educate ourselves on this generation and to understand how best to make authentic connections with them.
On the horizon, we will be reading the new release, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear Fighter Manual by Luvvie Ajayi Jones. As part of this exercise, our Executive Board members are being asked to develop our own life mission statements. Through this exercise, the hope is that we will learn how to use our voices for the greater good – per the author, “the point is not to be fearless, but to know we are afraid and charge forward regardless. It is to recognize that the things we must do are more significant than our fears.”
Current Events Education
We’ve also had the opportunity to ask Board Members to share expertise on topics of professional or personal knowledge to specifically stay abreast of current events. For example, given my background in healthcare administration and public health, I was able to share knowledge and resources regarding racism as a public health crisis. At our September 2020 Executive Board meeting, I shared articles and information on maternal health, COVID-19, and structural racism and health to further expand our Executive Board’s working knowledge of this important topic.
Even though the day-to-day business of Alpha Omicron Pi takes up a significant amount of time and energy in our Executive Board meetings, it is important for us to prioritize our education and leadership development. This is true of AOIIs at all levels of our organization – we should all consider how to create intentional time for educational growth and development in support of our personal and professional goals. A spirit of continuous learning and education is something that we can all share, even in our virtual world.