Behind every great nonprofit is a great board of directors. A board provides essential oversight and governance, helping guide the organization’s strategy and ensuring sound financial practices.
Are you interested in applying to be a member of the Council’s Board of Directors? Our Board consists of 15 dedicated members from all parts of Wisconsin, including individuals both with and without vision loss. Board members are well educated and involved in their local communities. Each member serves as an advocate for the blind and visually impaired community in their geographical area. There are currently open seats on our Board, and we encourage interested people to apply.
Why join the Board? Current Board Chair Nick Sinram of Milwaukee says it depends on the person. “Everyone has their own reason, and that’s one of the things that is interesting, because it can be meaningful in different ways to different people.” Nick points out that for many, it’s a way to “give back.”
“Some have joined after first receiving service from the council,” Nick says. In fact, Nick was one of those candidates. He looked to the Council first as a client seeking services and a Sharper Vision Store customer. As a high school senior, Nick received a Council Scholarship to help with college costs. “So for me, it’s nice to give back to an organization that’s been of such help,” he says.
Madison resident Chamomile Harrison is just completing her first year on the Board. “It’s been really great, really nice to jump in but also do it at my own pace,” Chamomile says. “There was a nice orientation followed by getting some meetings under my belt. I joined because I’ve worked with the Council in the past and I was excited to be able to help shape it.”
As part of that jumping in, Chamomile joined the Finance Committee and a newly created committee, the Sunshine Committee. “It’s new this year, and was kind of abstract at first,” she explains. “The goal was to build morale and make connections to each other across the Board. To increase engagement overall.” The Sunshine Committee is charged with scheduling check-ins and Zoom meetings for members that are as much social as they are business. Chamomile says these gatherings will help them gain deeper insights into what makes other members tick, providing context to comments and positions taken during business meetings.
Through her Council work, Chamomile says she feels more connected to issues and policies that impact so many Wisconsinites. “Like the non-driver transportation work that happens,” she says. “These are opportunities to advocate for topics outside of ordinary Board work,” she says.
Nick says Board service is a way to advance the work of the Council, but he has discovered that it’s also a way to grow personally. He points to new skills he gained in conversation and meeting facilitation. He adds that it’s not all nose-to-the-grindstone committee stuff. “It’s lots of fun,” he says. “We’re not totally boring! And it can be also very professionally fulfilling…learning new things like accessibility and technology. And then a chance to mentor or learn from other Board members.”
What kind of person is a good fit for the Board? “Anyone who is interested could be a valuable addition to the board,” says Chamomile. “There is no single skill set. Our skill sets are diverse,” she says. “I’m young. I’m bringing that to the board. Even that experience. Like what’s going on with college students. We need everyone in this movement.”
Nick agrees that there’s a wide range of backgrounds that will help a person be a quality candidate for the Board. But, he says, there’s a couple of qualifications that are a must. “We’re always looking for someone who is motivated and interested,” he says. “Someone who has a passion for the mission and a connection to the work we’re doing.”
“We’re also looking to add skills that complement the current set of skills we have,” Nick says. “Often we look for people from nonprofits, people with legal knowledge, public relations, things like that that any organization needs to fill gaps.”
If you are interested in applying to join the Council Board, you can find the Board of Directors Application on our website.