Taylor CarolBy Carol Taylor

It has been a goal of our Bridges Community to have a Getting Ahead graduate serve on a non-profit board. We started working toward this goal by gaining agreements from five non-profits in town to welcome GA graduates to their boards. The goal has now reached the final stage of being achieved!

In December, we offered our first “Leadership Academy” that provided GA graduates the opportunity to learn about serving on a board prior to joining. Three GA graduates attended the four-week session. We had key community volunteers assist with teaching the four sessions.

  • Session 1: General overview of what it means to serve on a board and the responsibilities associated with the position.  This was led by a member of the United Way of Hancock County staff, Bev Phillips.
  • Session 2: Focused on appropriate attire for board meetings and was led by the Director of the Hancock County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Angela Crist.
  • Session 3: Focused on learning to read a financial statement and was led by a retired accountant from Marathon Oil Company, John Calvelage.
  • Session 4: Focused on understanding Robert’s Rules of Order and was led by the CEO of Hope House, Sammie Rhoades.

The graduates thoroughly enjoyed themselves, learned valuable information, and feel more prepared to join a board. Each session was held in a boardroom and the graduates were asked to dress for each session as they would for a board meeting so that they could receive feedback. The graduates and all of the presenters plan to meet together quarterly to go over questions the graduates may have once they have started to serve.

We are so proud of the graduates’ dedication to taking the foundation they established in Getting Ahead and building on it by sharing their voice and opinion in such a powerful way. The Leadership Academy will be repeated this spring and we will be adding a session for strengths/skills assessment and a session regarding networking. Community sustainability is coming!