Providing Young Professionals with BOLD Opportunities

February 10, 2020 | United Way Team

Learn how BOLD is paving the way for aspiring leaders in our community.

07-2019 Blog_BOLDDoors are opening for many young professionals in East Central Iowa, thanks to a program that encourages involvement and leadership with nonprofit organizations.

The Board Orientation & Leadership Development (BOLD) program, a United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) program, is in the middle of its second year. The series was created with three goals in mind: equip emerging leaders with necessary board skills, increase board diversity in Linn County, and support local employers in engaging and retaining talented employees.

Some of the topics current year participants have discussed include the basics of serving on nonprofit boards, strategic planning, advocacy, public engagement, fundraising, and resource development. Future sessions will cover topics such as diverse community engagement, as well as financial management and responsibility. Along with monthly sessions, participants attend different meetings to see how boards function.

BOLD-500x250For graduates like Meryn Fluker, BOLD provided her with a variety of lessons and skills to apply to real-life situations.

“I've leaned on that knowledge [from BOLD] frequently as a board member,” Fluker said. “BOLD gave me the confidence, as a new board member, to speak my mind and feel like my opinions were valid. I think that may have taken me longer without BOLD.”

Elizabeth Buch, another graduate, recently accepted a position as Kirkwood Alumni Leadership Council’s new Nominations Chair. She credits the program for giving her insight into what it takes to contribute to a nonprofit board.

“This program taught me the intricacies of board advocacy, planning, commitment, and so much more in the most objective and welcoming way,” Buch said. “After taking this program I feel a lot more inspired and equipped to join a non-profit/foundation board.”

The combination of monthly sessions and meeting visits helps participants understand and experience how nonprofit boards work. Rachel Rigdon, a current BOLD participant, found value in attending local meetings and learning about the different services each organization provides.

“The most exciting and beneficial parts have been attending board meetings [of local nonprofits]. It gives BOLD members a well-rounded understanding of which type of board fits their personality.”

Kristin Parrott, another current participant, agrees that meeting visits have been insightful in learning the ins and outs of serving on a nonprofit board.

“[Because of BOLD] I now know what is expected of me, the time commitment, and what it will take to be the best candidate for the job.”