EDGE Spotlight: Being a Non-Profit Board Member

Hello EDGE members, my name is Anne Carlson. As an Edge Philanthropy Committee member preparing for the upcoming In the Mix event, it felt like a natural fit to sit down with my colleague from SAFE Credit Union, Shannon Heaps, for a little Q & A. Shannon shares the inside scoop as a Young Professional on her board roles with two community organizations.

Shannon Heaps, Financial Confidence Coordinator at SAFE Credit Union

Board member for Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT) since Fall 2013 and Credit Union Partners in Education (CUPIE) since 2009

Why join a board as a Young Professional?

As a board member, you are committed to a particular organization for an extended period of time. This ongoing commitment keeps you active and involved; you are part of a family. There is a certain belonging being more closely associated with an organization. Board positions can offer more opportunity for personal and career development. The organization's efforts are something you actually believe in and are dedicating your time to.

What advice/tips would you give to someone looking to join a board on finding the right fit?

To find the best fit research the organization’s mission. You should be passionate about their mission to thrive with the organization. Also, take a look at how the board members operate and how you can strategically align with them to develop your career. I wanted to be a part of RAFT because of their mission and what they stood for. RAFT focuses on low-cost resources at a high impact - supporting hands-on learning in the Sacramento region. This is important in my personal life, work life, and the community I live in.

How has being on the board impacted your career?

It has provided me with close relationships with other community leaders. It is a positive learning environment to collaborate with other board members on issues concerning RAFT and the community in general. It has extended my network beyond the norm.

How do you think being a YP has impacted the boards you sit on?

Being a YP provides a new perspective and ways to approach different issues. It is beneficial to YP’s to be surrounded by different minds; it brings better brainstorming and better solutions.

What tips can you share about balancing and managing your time as a busy YP?

The ability to say no to things is very powerful in all aspects of life; it’s ok to say no. Be strategic about what you are choosing to spend your time on. This will allow you to be the most effective in the commitments you have. Potential is all around us, but the key to success is finding how you can maximize your potential in certain areas.

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