What a wild few years it’s been. For those of us leaving the board this year after two terms — and for those remaining — we often reflect on all we’ve seen over the years: Front Office negotiations, MLS code of conduct struggles, a pandemic, many playoff runs, a Timbers Cup game at home with a week’s notice, The Athletic article, the Yates report and resulting fallout, and so much more.
Just before the elections process starts, we usually talk as a board about what we’re looking for going into the year. This year, a few things bubbled to the surface more than others:
Leadership. We need someone good at project management and organization. There are always a lot of things in process, and having someone with the power to herd cats is invaluable. Also, with the Front Office issues and new Thorns ownership, someone willing to lead the organization and work with others to reimagine the path forward is needed.
Financial experience. Budgets! Reporting! Fundraising! This is a large part of nonprofit work, and we always need people with this experience, especially as we grow.
Secretary role (nonprofit administration). This is an important role. We need folks who love managing the nonprofit side of the organization: legal matters, rules, trademarks, insurance, meeting minutes, documentation and all the things that keep us a 501(c)(7).
Communications. We’ve really worked to improve communications over the past several years through many forums — but we can always be better. What new ideas can you bring about how to communicate with our members about our activities and work? In what spaces?
Conflict management and people skills. The board deals with the Front Office, volunteers, members, the community, other nonprofits and more. People who can help navigate sticky situations and interact with new partners and our community are always appreciated.
Forward-thinkers and organizers. We have so many ideas and so many plans, but we need minds and hands to really make them a reality. Are you good with building community and organizing events? We need you!
Another item that came up regularly: Make sure people really understand the time commitment. Yes. It is more of a time commitment than you might realize. Between meetings (board meetings, committee meetings and other meetings as needed), there is constant communication and project work that happens. It requires a lot of time and mental energy to keep up. For some, it’s almost a part-time job; for others, it may be an hour or two a day. Still, it is something that requires dedication and it can be a lot.
An evergreen question that arises during elections is: “Are we a working board or a strategic board”? We would love to be the latter, but we need the folks to get us to that point. We need ideas and the people to make those ideas happen. It’s one thing to say, “What the board needs is [this]!”; it’s another to take that idea and run with it. People who have ideas and inspire folks to get involved and lead projects.
The board of today is not the same as it was 10 years ago, or even five years ago. Every year brings a new focus; a new challenge. We want you to take us to the next version of 107IST. We have a lot of things planned, and we need your energy to bring them to fruition.