Have you ever considered joining a company’s board of directors? Obviously I’ve always fancied one of those gigs cabinet members appear to get offered when leaving office: a hundred grand for twelve days work on the board of a FTSE 100 firm. However, there are other options nearly as attractive.
Being on the board of a ‘non-profit’ gives you a view into the inside workings of a worthwhile organisation, sharing with them their highs and lows. It is a chance to put your skills to use in a new context, to learn new things and get introduced to people you would never otherwise meet.
Arts companies, especially those of smaller organisations like Stan’s Cafe are usually very keen to bring on board people with experiences from from beyond the arts world and ironically there is probably no better time to join a board than right now.
It is often said that boards come into their own in a time of crisis. In normal times, when events follow a smooth predictable path, inertia can lead to a boards to just monitor and nudge, but when crisis hits advice and support are needed, difficult problems need debating and resolving, tough decisions may need to be made and calm heads must prevail.
Things haven’t been that dramatic at Stan’s Cafe, but we have increased the frequency of our board meetings in order to keep on top of events. Being a director on our board is a voluntary position that also carries legal responsibility, as well as time commitment, so we are very grateful to them all and appreciative of the work they do. But as Lara Ratnaraja, a former long time board member of ours, points out in an interview published on this website today, the transaction works both ways and a board member who thinks they are only bringing things to the party is not making the best of the party, there are non-financial rewards for the board member too. Being on a board rarely means being bored.
Lara Ratnaraja is an influential Creative Consultant based in the West Midlands, in this rare interview she explains how formative experiences in the Soviet Union during the last days of communism are proving valuable in her work today. She explains her pride in watching a new collaborative generation of leaders help diversify the arts scene. She unveils the mysteries of Arts Council’s ‘regional council’ and expands on the rewards of being on a board. I encourage you to read on…