Santa Rosa, Calif. board makeover began with NAOC

Lessons learned helped build a board that works.

by John E. Brown – 

How does one become an advisory board member? As president of the Rotary Club I was invited by the local corps officer to “do him a favor.”

The officer—Major Ralph Hood—challenged Rotary to improve the Army’s ability to respond to fires, floods and earthquakes. Within a year we were able to help purchase and equip a mobile canteen kitchen. Major Hood then asked me to join the advisory board.

In 1999 three members became the first from Santa Rosa to attend the National Advisory Organizations Conference (NAOC) in Pasadena, Calif. During the conference, I was asked if I would consider board leadership. At the time I thought that the leadership of the board was a lifetime appointment! I learned that there was a manual that clearly defined three-year terms of service for regular members and officers.

This brings us to the heart of the matter—many of our board members were there in name only and there was so much work to be done—we sought to diversify membership. Our priority was to make sure that each new annual slate of members included people who viewed service with a can-do attitude and valued the opportunity to improve the ministry of the Army.

“Board makeovers” can occur in any town if the people closest to the Army decide to make things happen. The Manual for Advisory Organizations and attending NAOC gave us guidance and structure.

In the past, the chief benefit of being a board member seemed to be that it made for a more interesting obituary. Today, the advisory board for Santa Rosa has influence in the community, and membership is highly desired.

Recruit, train and utilize people who believe in the mission and ministry of the Army. You’ll be amazed at the changes and opportunities that will follow.

John E. Brown currently serves as head of the nominating committee for the Santa Rosa Corps advisory board. Captains Fred and Patty Rasmussen are the corps officers.

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