Imagine: A Message From New Board President, Bill Corwin
Imagine: What if the board you serve on was the board that transformed the organization, that took it to a new level of effectiveness, that future boards looked back on and said, “that was the board that reinvigorated the organization”? This is my pursuit as the new President of the Flathead Land Trust Board of Directors.
I have been involved on a professional basis with the Flathead Land Trust for about 20 years. Recently, as I wean myself from my environmental consulting business and ease into retirement, I wanted to engage in volunteer work. Because of my experience with the Flathead Land Trust and its mission, I expressed an interest, and was elected to the Board of Directors, and now serve as Board President as of this January.
The Board of Directors is the engine that moves the greater organization forward. A highly effective land trust board understands that its role is to govern the organization through the creation and implementation of good policies, and the making of sound decisions that advance the land trust’s mission. We have an exceptional board, with some members having several years of board participation. However, we have board vacancies which need to be filled with new members who represent the community we are trying to serve. In November, the board sequestered ourselves for a weekend of strategic planning. Many important action items resulted, with board development a priority.
Board development equates to the creation of a highly effective board of directors. They are curious, open to challenges and differences of opinion. They are flexible, and committed to the well-being of the organization and the achievement of its goals. They are willing to risk trying new things and things they didn’t think they’d want to do; fundraising, negotiating with landowners, public speaking, and writing grant applications. They are active between meetings as committee members, task/project leaders, volunteers, fundraisers, and ambassadors for their organizations. They understand that just as a land trust is a steward of land, they are stewards of their organization. And importantly, they plan for their own succession and intentionally create a foundation of effectiveness for future boards. Board members want to feel that their time is well-spent.
Building an effective board is my top priority. By accomplishing this primary goal, realizing all our other priorities will be a piece of cake. Already we have two distinguished new members to complement our existing outstanding board. The board of directors of the Flathead Land Trust is also blessed with a dedicated and competent staff. In closing I want to express a sincere thank you to the Board of Directors and the staff for their vote of confidence in challenging me to lead the organization to the next level. And thank you to the community that supports us, without which there would be no Flathead Land Trust. There is much more to do to conserve working farms and ranches, fish and wildlife habitat, and scenic open spaces in the valley for this and future generations. You don’t have to wait until retirement to volunteer. We still have board vacancies or we have several committees that would benefit from member help.