Over the summer Coastside Leadership Academy officially became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and this week I led my first Board of Directors meeting for CLA. While my title has changed from Founder to President, my role feels the same, but this is proof that CLA is growing. Lindsay and I invited three women with different expertises to join our Board of Directors and after only one meeting, I have already gained new insight on CLA and its potential.
In the past, I have attended Board meetings, or meetings in general, that have felt like a waste of time. Lindsay and I are sensitive about excessive or unproductive meetings, and we want everyone to feel like their time and presence is valued. To do this, we prepared a Board Report and agenda ahead of time for Board Members to review so we could keep the meeting to 40 minutes. This allowed our Board to prepare questions ahead of time as well.
As the meeting progressed, it was clear that our Board members were invested in their roles and wanted to help. They asked great questions about enrollment, long term planning, and brought new perspectives on CLA that we had not considered. I had been concerned about wasting their time with a meeting, but I didn’t have to be. They said yes when we asked them to be on the Board, and they showed up when we asked them to. Now it is up to me as the leader to trust that their yes to being a Board Member is a “yes I can help” until they communicate differently. They trust us to be reasonable and professional with our asks and we plan to extend our meeting to a full hour to allow more time for discussion next time.
I am excited about the partnership we are building with our Board of Directors. Starting your own business can feel lonely, and I am already feeling supported by our Board who just joined the community. They wanted to make sure that we were taking care of our own mental health and find ways for CLA to be sustainable. I felt like they were asking the right questions, and offering suggestions, while also holding our expertise in high regard. This is the power of women lifting up women! I am looking forward to learning from our Board Members and working together to take CLA beyond what we have already thought is possible.