Seeking Applicants for New Board Position of Vice President of Branches

We are working to strengthen collaboration and communication across the organization and between branches, the front-line volunteers, and the Board of Directors by Vice-President of Branches to the Board. Please consider applying to serve in this critical role.
Chris Williams Chris Williams
August 25, 2015

We are working to strengthen collaboration and communication across the organization and between branches, the front-line volunteers, and the Board of Directors. By adding a Vice-President of Branches to the Board of Directors, the Mountaineers is reinforcing its commitment to the branches, branch programs and the dedicated volunteers who run them. Please consider applying to serve in this critical role.

Goal of Position

Working as the chair of the Managing Committee, this volunteer will lead and support a high-functioning, cohesive, well-coordinated system of branches across all of The Mountaineers. He or she will ensure a strong and effective voice of the branches and their programs in Mountaineers direction and decision-making, expand relationships and collaboration between branches and staff to accomplish critical work, and strengthen connections and two-way communication between the branches and the Board of Directors. In many ways, this role will be one of the most prominent voices of the volunteers across the organization. 

Background

In response to an analysis and recommendations by the Board’s Branch Collaborations Task Force to strengthen the voice and positive role of the branches in leadership of The Mountaineers, the Board of Directors has approved adding a new position, the Vice President of Branches, to the highest level of Mountaineers governance: the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee*.  The Board fully supported a major conclusion of the Collaboration Task Force which said that an effective Managing Committee acting as a focal point for the seven branches  could greatly streamline and improve two-way communication, issue resolution and organization-wide decision making related to core branch programs and the volunteers that run them, and also can play an essential role in increasing coordination and consistency across branch programs over time. 

* A vote by the membership is required to amend the Mountaineers bylaws to add a voting member to the Board, and the next opportunity for such a vote is the fall of 2016.  To avoid a delay in establishing the vice president of branches role, the position has been approved by the board to start immediately but as a non-voting position.  The position would attain full voting status in the fall of 2016 if the membership votes at that time for the bylaws change.  In the meantime, the person in this role will have a full voice on the Executive Committee and will be actively engaged and heard in deliberations of the Board.

Activities and Responsibilities

The vice president of branches is the leader and focal point for branch operations in the organization and its voice in Mountaineers leadership, and through the Managing Committee, will be responsible for maintaining coherence and consistency across branch operations while fostering strong local ownership and flexibility. This position shall serve as the voice of the Managing Committee and the branches on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of The Mountaineers, and shall chair the Managing Committee. To accomplish these responsibilities the VP of branches will:

  • Set agenda items of organization-wide importance before the members of the Managing Committee for resolution and/or recommendation for action to the Board of Directors.
  • Work with the Managing Committee to resolve differences among branches and bring forward coordinated branch positions on critical issues and decisions impacting branch programs and the volunteers who run them.
  • Communicate to the board the knowledge, needs and/or consensus positions of the branches, as gleaned through the Managing Committee. 
  • Communicate the business of the board back to the Managing Committee.
  • Work with the branch administrations, through the Managing Committee, to regularly review branch programs for consistency, minimum standards and alignment with the strategic direction of The Mountaineers.

Support and Resources

This position will have staff support to ensure effective meetings, agendas, and follow-through are possible. Because of the nature and importance of this position, regular communication and coordination between all levels of staff and the Board is expected, which will provide ongoing counsel and support to the role. All Branch Chairs will also serve as resources to this position, utilizing the resources and volunteers of each branch to carry out the resolutions and decisions of the Managing Committee and Board. Finally, the Managing Committee is also encouraged to pull together branch volunteers and staff into small, focused subcommittees with clearly defined tasks and time frames to accomplish objectives, wherever appropriate. 

Vintage Group

Length of Service/Time Demands

The first term of this position is expected to run until spring of 2018, with subsequent two year terms. Regularly-scheduled obligations include 2-3 meetings per month:

  • Monthly Managing Committee Meetings, typically 2 hours each and held in the central branches of The Mountaineers (Seattle and Tacoma).
  • Six Board of Directors meetings per year, including 4 evening meetings and two full-day retreats.
  • Monthly meetings of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors (currently consisting of the Executive Director, President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice-Presidents of the Outdoor Centers and Books) – some of these are conference calls. 

Qualifications Sought

This is a pivotal role to pull our diverse branch programs together, strengthen relationships and collaboration among constituencies in The Mountaineers, and ensure that branch needs and interests are clearly understood and represented in leadership decisions. Preference shall be given to candidates with extensive past or current experience in branch operations, branch leadership positions, and/or volunteer work in courses and/or activities. Strongly desired traits and skills include:

  • Leadership and Facilitation skills – it will be critical to have the ability to effectively chair and manage meetings that will bring vastly different opinions to a variety of complex agenda items. The effective candidate must have the ability to resolve differences among branches and individuals, and to respectfully and efficiently drive discussions towards resolutions that have broad support across the branches and serve the mission of the organization.
  • Ability to communicate and build trust and credibility across all levels of the organization – this person must not only be able to relate to and gain the trust and confidence of the volunteers in the field delivering branch programs day to day, but also must be able to garner the respect and confidence of the executive leadership of the organization (executive director, Board), and communicate appropriately and effectively with people across this spectrum.
  • A strong respect and dedication to the history and culture of The Mountaineers – In order to effectively fulfill the duties of this position, a person must have a passion for the Mountaineers culture, legacy, and tradition that will drive them to work through disagreements that arise from different constituencies.
  • Experience with governance and Mountaineers administration – Strong preference will be given to candidates who bring an understanding of the administrative rules that apply to Mountaineers programs and experience as an activity leader and/or committee member.

This role will require a significant time commitment and dedication to carrying it out in light of the regular meetings and other formal and informal communications and relationship-building needed to be effective in the role.

How to apply    

Candidates for this position will be vetted and forwarded by the Managing Committee to the Nominating Committee of the Board, and from there to the board for consideration and final approval.

To be considered for the role, send an email expressing your interest, as well as a detailed summary of your background (Mountaineers and other leadership experience), to

You can also speak with your Branch Chair to learn more. We encourage you to speak to others who you think might be good candidates, and urge them to put their names forward as well.

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