By Maria Baratta, Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees
During the Board’s July meeting, new members were asked to share any questions or apprehensions they might have about joining the Board. Retiring and returning Board members were asked to share a piece of advice. In the course of our discussion, it became clear that the apprehensions and advice shared would apply to anyone taking on a new role with a governing committee, ministry, task force or team at UUCWC. What follows is a summary of our conversation.
New members and officers want to know what the expectations are for them in these new roles. They want to know what, if any, established practices they should follow. What are they supposed to actually do to prepare themselves to help manage the affairs of the church?
Having served on a variety of committees, ministries and task forces at UUCWC, I know that I’ve had all these same questions or thoughts when beginning in a role. There is a voice in my head that says “I don’t know if I’m qualified to do this.” With every new experience I’ve learned that I actually know more than I first realized. And, like everyone else who serves in some capacity, we all want to do what is best for the church.
So, what advice did our returning and retiring Board members have to offer? Again, this advice works not just for the Board, but for all groups in our church:
- Do a little prep before attending meetings. Read reports, documents and agendas that are shared in advance.
- Don’t worry if you’re not fully familiar with a topic being discussed. Be an active listener. Share your thoughts on a topic when it’s time to discuss it.
- Take the work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to enjoy the company of your team members.
- Your voice, your perspective matters. Everyone cares about what you have to say. If you have a question or need clarification, there are chances others do, too.
- While we are doing the business of the church, remember that it is still spiritual work. It is not like the work done on a corporate or nonprofit board.
- We value the democratic process. Church members have put their trust in us to make decisions on behalf of the congregation.
- Courage is the root of change. Be brave.
- Enjoy the time spent together.
- Try new things that take you out of your comfort zone.
- Every configuration of a Board (committee/ministry/task force/team) is unique with each member offering something original. Appreciate that dynamic energy.
- Fresh perspectives are needed, which is a major benefit of having term limits and new members joining each year.
What other advice would you have for our new and returning Board members? Feel free to share your thoughts with the Board by speaking with a member or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As a reminder, Board members for the 2023-2024 church year are:
Wendy Stasolla – President
Jamie Evanini – Vice President
Denny Rodgers – Treasurer
Colleen McCourt – Secretary
Maria Baratta – Trustee
Karen Kent – Trustee
Gina Turner – Trustee
Michael Waas – Trustee
Michelle Zechner – Trustee
We all look forward to a busy and exciting year ahead.