Published: Sept. 12, 2017 By

The Net Impact club charters the Board Fellows program.  I had the opportunity to participate in this experience over the last year; it provides an inside look at how a non-profit board of directors functions.  Students serve on a board for 1 year as a non-voting member.  If you are interested in non-profit work or the operations of a board of directors, this a great opportunity. In addition to valuable experience working alongside passionate individuals, participants also use their business skills to help complete integral projects for their organization.

To wrap up our one-year commitments, we met to discuss our different experiences and provide input for next year’s assignments.  I had the opportunity to interview several classmates who participated in the program over the past year.

Which organization
did you work with?
Caleb Garrison Caleb Garrison: The Colorado Chautauqua Association
Lauren Clayton: Naturally Boulder
Chris Shrope: The Inland Ocean Coalition

What was the best part of your Board Fellows experience?

Caleb: I got a challenging, rewarding summer internship from my experience as a Board Fellows.  In my internship, I had real decision-making power, real impact, and real responsibility.  My internship also led to consulting work this fall in Denver. 

Lauren: The opportunity to gain insight into real problems that the industry faces, and being a part of a diverse think tank that helps tackle and solve issues in our community as well as the greater state of Colorado.

Chris: “Bragging rights!” In all seriousness, I was able to learn about the backgrounds of all the board members and use this information to help steer them into more of a business operations mindset.  The process also allowed me to grow my network while taking ownership in a cause I love.  Also, I had the opportunity to pivot and use this experience for a class project. 

What was the most unexpected thing you learned during your time as a Board Fellows?

Caleb: Observing the interaction between upper management and the board—it is a complex dynamic.  I learned ways to approach things that I can apply in the future.

Lauren: I was able to be so much more hands-on with my project than I originally expected. I helped with Naturally Boulder’s Sponsor Video Series for their 13th Annual Pitch Slam & Autumn Awards and interviewed many influential professionals from various companies.

Chris: Learning how to navigate the dynamics between the board members.  I also learned how to manage nonprofit funds.

What advice do you have for next year’s Board Fellows?

Caleb: It is important to set up recurring 1 on 1 meeting with your contact from the start.  This helps understand the company culture, set expectations (theirs and yours), and create a path for deliverables.

Lauren: You have a year—make a point to ask each person on the board to get coffee with you to grow your network!