By Peer Engagement Team
Are you an officer, a director, a committee chairperson, or a member of a committee? Have you ever considered being a member of a committee, a committee chairperson, a director, or an officer? Who, me?
The Peer Engagement Team knows it can be daunting and confusing when thinking about taking that next step. But it’s really not that scary and it’s really not that confusing, especially when you keep in mind that you will be a member of a committee, will receive mentoring, and will not be asked to take on anything alone.
Below, we have broken down each role into its basic parts. We hope that this checklist will help to demystify each role, make clear each role’s key jobs, and encourage you to step forward and get involved.
We start with members of a committee because they are the backbone and engine of any organization. We recommend that each committee has at least three members – both to take advantage of multiple perspectives and to avoid the “lone wolf” member who tries to run projects without input or accountability. Committee members are the thinkers, the planners, and the workers. PCB has hundreds of peers, each with vast experience and special skill-sets, just waiting to be asked to do a job. Have you ever sat at a meeting and had a good idea, voiced an opinion, or shared an insight? Then you are ready to be a member of a committee. Your organization has several committees, each with a specific mission and all needing fresh voices and visions to keep the group alive and growing.
A committee chairperson, often a member of the committee who has worked on projects for a few years, has been mentored by the chairperson, and has shown leadership qualities, is often appointed by the president. The chairperson recruits members for the committee, sets the agenda for committee meetings (based on directives from the membership and the president), presides at all committee meetings, manages projects undertaken by the committee, And often presents committee reports at meetings. The chairperson may also be tasked with developing future leaders from among committee members. Finally, it’s also a good idea that each committee develops a useful record on how the committee conducts its business and how projects are run as part of the organization’s institutional knowledge
A director sits on the organization’s board along with the officers and, sometimes, the immediate past president. Typically, the board sets organizational policy, considers major projects before they go before the general membership, recruits and approves candidates for positions that come open (usually, not president), and performs duties set forth in the bylaws. A director attends board meetings, provides insight and advice, votes on all board issues, and may be tasked to head a special project or chair a committee. Many times, serving as a director for a term is a good way for a member to progress from a committee member or chair to running for and being elected to an officer position.
The membership Secretary, who often serves as the chair of the membership committee, has several important jobs: develop programs to get new members, develop programs to retain existing members, keep the official membership roster, and, generally, keep track of the mood and engagement of members and reach out to members who haven’t attended an organization event in a while.
Some organizations have a recording secretary (who takes and distributes minutes) and a correspondence secretary (who is responsible for all correspondence outside the organization), but many PCB teams, chapters, and affiliates have one secretary (who does both). Hence, the Secretary takes minutes of all meetings and distributes them to the membership, keeps all official records, and is responsible for all official correspondence from and to entities outside of the organization.
The treasurer, who usually serves as co-signatory on organization checks, is the chief financial officer. As such, the treasurer is responsible for: keeping accurate records of all funds, accounts, and project finances, collecting membership dues and remitting shares to ACB/PCB, making Treasurer’s Reports at all meetings, paying all outstanding invoices, and filing necessary filings with the bank, the state, the IRS, etc., Finally, the treasurer often serves as the chair of Fundraising committee.
The 2nd vice president has one big job: filling in for the president when the president and the 1st VP can’t preside. As with the 1st VP, many bylaws set forth other duties of the 2nd VP. Often, the 2nd VP is groomed to advance to the position of 1st VP.
The 1st vice president has one big job: filling in for the president when the president can’t preside. In addition, many bylaws set forth other duties of the 1st VP. Often, the 1st VP is groomed to advance to the position of president.
The president is chairman of the board. As such, the president: often, serves as co-signatory on organization checks, sets the agenda for all meetings, and presides at all meetings. The president also appoints committee chairs and makes sure committees are doing what they should be doing when they should be doing it. The president is an ex officio member of all committees except Nominating – ex officio means that the president can attend and advise but cannot vote. Finally, the president represents the organization to the outside world as public face and mouth-piece. The president becomes the immediate past president once the new president takes office.
The immediate past president has three basic duties: acts as repository of institutional knowledge, advises officers and the membership from a position of experience, and models good leadership and effective mentoring. The immediate past president vacates this office and the member who was serving as president becomes the new immediate past president.
The parliamentarian, who often serves as a member or the chair of Constitution & Bylaws Committee, rules on questions of order and procedure at all meetings and, more than not, handles all aspects of constitution and/or bylaws, including amendments.
So, that wasn’t really that bad, was it? We think the best way that any team, chapter, or affiliate can get peers involved, engaged, and empowered is to get them interested in something they are passionate about, mentor them as members of a committee, offer training, and provide everyone with the tools and resources they need to succeed. In sum, everyone has something to offer and an organization only thrives when everyone gets a chance to shine. Yes, you!