LLC is excited to introduce you to two new board members and to share our process of board development. There will be opportunities for you to plug into the process. First though, a big welcome to Uma Viswanathan and Linshuang Lu.
Meet Our New Board Members:
Uma Viswanathan is a long time friend of LLC. We were lucky to collaborate with Uma when she ran the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute for Urban Habitat. As one of our featured webinar guests, Uma shared important lessons about the BCLI model which focuses on giving voice and vote to underrepresented people, along with lessons about how they were replicating their program model. Uma along with folks from Greenlining Institute, Patrick Brown and Claudia Paredes (now at Coro NY), launched a Racial Justice Leadership Network here in the Bay Area. The network had several great meetings and laid the foundation for this year’s Creating Space meeting focused on Leadership and Equity, and the original team has come back together to form the core of the dream team designing the event. Uma left the Bay Area to take a position as Program Officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she brings her passion and commitment to ongoing work on leadership, racial equity and community engagement. We know that the LLC network will benefit from her wisdom in these areas as we continue our work to advance leadership strategies that contribute to equity.
Linshuang Lu is a principal at Praxis Consulting Group where her work focuses on organizational development, leadership development and culture change. Linshuang teaches courses on team leadership (relevant to our focus on leadership as a collective practice) and on financial management, also of keen interest to LLC (and most nonprofits). She was recommended to us as a resource as we were exploring different financial models and forms of organization. When we first spoke about board service she had the wisdom to suggest that we complete the strategic revisioning process that we had undertaken before bringing on new board members. Of course she was right, so we suspended board recruitment at the time in order to sharpen our strategies, look at the board composition we would need to advance those strategies and identify the organizational form that made the most sense given the results we were seeking. You can see we benefited from Linshuang’s leadership before she even joined the board, and we are pleased that the time is now ‘right’ for Linshuang to bring her skills and expertise to the LLC network through board service.
We are in the process of board development, and like all of you, we are thinking hard about how to prioritize our leadership work in the years ahead and to what end. We have an opportunity to recruit new board members as veterans are transitioning off the board. Some of you may have been involved in board nominations in the past, and if you haven’t, we wanted to share our evolving process. We began with a vision of the traditional skills sets you want on a board (financial, marketing, fund development); an interest in how we represent the constituency we serve along a number of dimensions (geography, race/ethnicity, relationship to leadership work); and skill sets relevant to our mission. We try to target the skill sets to what we need in any given period of time to achieve our goals, so it’s a little bit of a moving target. In preparation for our board meeting last week, we did an audit of our current board and we began to brainstorm ideas about what additional skills might be most important right now to achieve our strategic results.
Our board has charged us with using the month of May to come up with clear targets for strategic board recruitment looking at the current composition of the board and what we still need. We will be sharing this with you in the next month or so and inviting your input and nominations as we look to fill these needs. We will also be developing a schedule for bringing people on and transitioning people off the board the make sure we have the right balance of consistency and movement in our rotation. We have a lot of room to do better on this and will have clearer recruitment cycles. We look forward to engaging you in board development and leadership of the organization.