Best Chamber Board Members Devote Time, Passion, Care; Commit to Organization Success

What traits do you believe are required in an excellent chamber board member?

Janet Steele, ACE, IOM
Albany Area (OR) Chamber

First, are they respected in the community as a positive decision maker. Next, are they someone committed to the chamber mission and what your chamber goals are. Then they need to be willing to give of their time, talent, personal and professional resources to help the chamber succeed. In some ways it’s like the 3 C’s: do they have the connections, can they help us convene the right people to the cause, and will they help us be a catalyst to get things done.

Alicia Main
Executive Director
Carson Valley (NV) Chamber

The most effective board members have a number of great traits. First, they must have a vision and make decisions toward that vision. This doesn’t mean action; rather, they must set the direction for the rest to follow. Without decision, there can be no action.

Second, they must collaborate and communicate. Their most effective, long-lasting visions were developed with discussion and collaboration with others: board members, chamber members, staff, agency partners and the public.

Board members who are willing to listen and share their opinions in a positive, friendly manner, engaging others in a way which fosters solutions and compromise, are the most effective.

Jeremy Harris, ACE, IOM
Long Beach Area (CA) Chamber

Many chamber executives want a board member that represents the 3T’s. A board member that has the Time, Talent, and Treasure to support the mission of the chamber. If one adheres to the 3T’s, it’s a good start. However, the traits of an excellent chamber board member should include:

• Good character. The board member has in mind the best interest of the organization as they conduct themselves.

• Passion. The board member shows passion and a strong commitment for the chamber’s mission and goals.

• Unabashed. When supporting the chamber’s advocacy efforts and leadership. Not always a popular one, but one that is needed when tackling the tough issues of the day while representing the interests of business with government.

Cyndi Vos, MEd
Lethbridge (AB) Chamber

A good board begins with a clear outline of the governance model and best practice standards.

• Be Prepared. Directors who show up to meetings with a thorough understanding of the agenda, documents and committee summaries, with questions both prepared and researched, create strategic discussions.

• Be Ready to Communicate. Members who hold strong communication skills, hold good resolution skills, and can work through conflict swiftly and positively. Remember to support board decisions as well as the professional staff that you, as a board member, have hired to serve the organization.

• Show Strong Integrity. Board members should be invested in service and remember that the primary obligation is stewardship of the organization. Board discussions are confidential, and each member should always manifest discretion and show support of decisions of the board when speaking on behalf of the organization.

• Trust Your Peers and Your Chamber’s Goals. Share your expertise and believe in the mission statement.

Bill Marcum
Kelso Longview (WA) Chamber

I am looking for someone who is engaged with the chamber already — meaning they are on a committee, ambassador, education, government affairs, etc.

If they are engaged at that level, they generally make a great board member. They already understand the value the chamber brings to the business community. They attend events, meetings, work parties; they are engaged. Adding them to the board does not change their current engagement and adds active engaged members to the board.

We currently have five board members that have all come from various committees, of which they took on leadership roles. This made an easy transition to the board of directors of the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce. And you might be wondering, which board members attend nearly every event we have…yes, those five. Engaged!

Sherry Ratcliffe Taylor
Mason Deerfield (OH) Chamber

• Sitting at the intersection of graciousness and impact.

The best board members I have ever had the privilege of working with have sat squarely at the intersection of wanting to do meaningful work and giving their all to achieve it. This means board members find their way to give time, talents, and treasure for the greater good, and not settling for less.

• Micromanagement is not an option.

The best board members dig deep to understand their role of providing leadership to the organization without managing the organization. It’s a gift that not all people understand.

• Claiming the position of being the chamber.

Many businesses think of the chamber as the staff. The best board members know they are the chamber, they own the position, and that garnering interest of other fellow business members assists in strengthening networks.