A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
I’m curious how others full vacant Board positions and/or rotate folks on/off the Board. We have a Board with a long tenure, making candidates for next year’s President slim.
The Benefits of Chamber Board Term Limits
The benefits behind chamber board term limits are introducing new ideas through new blood, limiting the power that is inherent with being in a role for years and creating more opportunity within the community.
If your chamber is considering term limits, check your by-laws. Term limits may already be stipulated, but not enforced. If nothing is written and you are creating your own term limit addition to the by-laws, consider the following:
Number of years served. Will you limit your board members to one term or allow them to serve multiple terms?
Number of years off. After the board member has reached her term limit, how many years must she sit off the board before she can serve again? Most chambers that have this stipulation in place opt for 1-2 years between terms of service.
Staggered terms. While staggered terms (a portion of your board is up every year) is probably something that is already in practice, if your entire board is currently up for renewal at the same time, you may want to consider staggering to ensure there’s some institutional knowledge that carries over.
Once you institute term limits, you are limiting the number of people who are eligible to serve. In order to be able to fill vacated seats as soon as possible, you’ll want to keep a list of potential board members. April Rome Wehr from the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce keeps a list “based on desire, needed industry on the board, funding opportunities and geography.”
Holding a position on the chamber board is an excellent growth opportunity for people within your community. While chambers add value by grooming future leaders and providing the opportunity to serve, it’s also important that your terms are long enough that the board members can be successful in the leadership they’re bringing to the chamber.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by Alex “Skud” Bailey
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