Open Nominations: Join The Mountaineers Board of Directors

It’s important that the members of our Board of Directors represent the communities we wish to serve. That’s why we’re launching a new member nominations process to discover potential and qualified board members to bring diverse perspectives to our org leadership. Nominate yourself or someone you know to help drive the future of our organization.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
May 06, 2021

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL, and in order to realize this aspiration we are launching a new board nominations process to help us discover potential and qualified board members. We are looking for members with a passion for The Mountaineers who bring a diversity of experience, skills, and expertise to successfully lead our organization, especially during these challenging social and economic times. 

The Governance Committee, chartered by the Board of Directors in our bylaws, is responsible for recruiting and nominating candidates for at-large board positions. This new board nominations process was designed by an ad hoc subcommittee of the Governance Committee in partnership with the Equity & Inclusion Committee. Ad hoc subcommittee members Gabe Aeschliman (Chair), Serene Chen, James Henderson, Peter Hendrickson, Jocelyn Huang, Rich Johnston, Mark Kerr, Manisha Powar, and Siana Wong sought to create and execute an equitable nominations and recruitment process with the goal of increasing the pool of qualified candidates to join the board. We are committed to an equitable process wherein all members of our community have equal access to and opportunity for consideration. 

What does the Board of Directors do?

The Mountaineers Board of Directors is the governing body accountable for the overall operation of the organization, as dictated by our bylaws. The Board’s role, on your behalf, is to set the financial, strategic, and social goals for The Mountaineers. The Board’s responsibilities include developing and approving the strategic plan, approving the organization’s annual budget, tracking overall financial performance, hiring the CEO, electing the board’s officers, and setting organizational policies and procedures. The board works with the CEO and staff to set the overall direction for the organization through the strategic plan (e.g., Vision 2022). The board also reviews and approves the annual budget, reviews performance to that budget, and provides oversight and assistance to management to achieve our annual goals. Most importantly, the board assures we are living our vision, mission, and values.

As a board member, you volunteer to steward the future of our organization. You commit to attend meetings (6 times/year, including 1-2 day retreats) and actively participate in ad-hoc work as an officer, through committee meetings, by providing virtual support, by being an active participant in our philanthropic fundraising efforts, and by attending events. You serve a 3-year term, with the opportunity for an additional term.

Learn more about the role of Board of Directors.

How is a board role different than other leadership positions?

The Mountaineers is a volunteer-led, staff supported organization. The vast majority of our programs are organized and delivered by volunteers through one of our seven branches. Each branch has activity committees that plan and lead courses and activities. For example, our Olympia branch has committees for hiking/backpacking, sea kayaking, climbing, and scrambling, just to name a few. Each of these committees has leaders who volunteer to lead and organize the courses related to those activities. Activity committee leaders from the various branches come together each year in Summits to discuss and reach agreements on decisions such as standards for course graduates and leaders. 

Each branch has as a chairperson, vice chair, treasurer, and secretary. These administrative leadership roles set strategy for the branch, work with the board Finance Committee to create the annual budget and track results, and oversee recognition and development programs for its volunteers. Similar volunteer leadership roles exist for our lodges.

The role of leaders within branches and our outdoor centers are no less important than the directors for the board - they are just very different from one another. The board focuses on the overall strategy of the organization, managing our finances in a prudent way, and setting policies and procedures. Branches and lodges focus on planning and delivering programs, strategizing how branches and committees work together, and working to define how we develop and recognize volunteers. The organization runs more smoothly and better supports members and volunteers alike when these very different roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, understood by leaders, and have minimal overlap. 

Who should join the board?

We are looking for members with a passion for The Mountaineers who want to be part of building and expanding the future of our organization. We seek individuals with a diversity of experience, skills, and expertise to successfully lead our organization. Core to this are the experience and judgment to understand The Mountaineers current and future business needs.

As a member of our Board of Directors, you (or the person you’re nominating) are:

  • Motivated to expand our vision to offer opportunities to connect with nature and one another for all people
  • A believer that outdoor experiences inspire confidence, foster leadership, and create critical life skills
  • Excited to participate in strategic and innovation conversations to increase our impact
  • Willing to have brave conversations to build bridges, challenge the status quo, and make our organization better
  • Willing to commit your intellectual and financial resources to show up for The Mountaineers as we look to take our nonprofit to the next level
  • Acknowledge the historical inequities and institutionalized racism that has existed in the outdoors and personally/professionally commit to working as an ally to create safe outdoor spaces for all humans.

We are specifically looking for individuals with professional experience in the following areas:

  • Finance and/or Audit
  • Publishing 
  • Philanthropy 
  • Strategic Planning
  • DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) 
  • Conservation & advocacy
  • Change Management 
  • Connection to Outdoor Sector (brands/industry) 
  • Connection to Broader Community (outside of The Mountaineers) 
  • Nonprofit management

Diversifying our board

Nonprofit Boards too often do not fully represent the community they seek to serve. Our goal is to deepen the diversity of perspectives and lived experiences represented on our Board to help inform better policies and to strengthen relationships between board members, Mountaineers members, and the wider outdoor community. The Mountaineers values different perspectives that are shaped by unique lived experiences. 

Since diversity can mean many different things, we are specifically considering nominees based on dimensions that shape a person's lived experience that include: 

  • Ethnicity and/or race
  • Gender identity
  • Age
  • Disability status
  • Military status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Parent or guardian status
  • Branch affiliation
  • Primary activities
  • Involvement and engagement with The Mountaineers
  • Leadership and professional experience

Nominate yourself or someone else

Nominate yourself or another Mountaineers member using our online Nomination Form. Individuals who nominate themselves will be asked to express their interest in the Board and outline their professional experience, nonprofit leadership, and engagement with The Mountaineers. Anyone who is nominated by someone else will also be asked to submit a self-nomination form as a commitment of their interest, so please encourage anyone you nominate to fill out the form as well.

We seek to have a board that represents the broad diversity of the communities we serve, and we encourage people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply. If you are, or if you know of, a current Mountaineers member who is excited to expand our vision to offer opportunities to connect with nature and one another for all people, we want to hear from you!

Nominate

All nominees will also be asked to share a personal diversity statement. We’re investing in Equity & Inclusion as a commitment to our core values in response to our community’s feedback which drove our strategic plan Vision 2022. It’s important our leadership is aligned with these goals.

Selection process

Nomination forms will be reviewed annually in June, and to be considered this year forms must be completed by June 3, 2021. Each nominee will be evaluated by the Governance Committee. Nominees whose experience and expression of interest and values best aligns with our current needs will be contacted for a conversation with a member of the committee. The Governance Committee will interview finalist nominees and then select a slate of candidates who will be presented to members for our annual at-large director elections. Selection of the at-large director candidates will reflect both an evaluation of each nominee as well as  how the entire slate will complement the rest of the Board and represent the diverse perspectives of our membership. 

This is a new process and we expect to learn from it and improve how it works in the years ahead. A future goal we aspire to is including the ability to nominate candidates for other leadership roles, for example positions such as branch chairs and treasurers.

Help spread the word

Not sure who to nominate but still want to help? Please share this blog post with your professional or social networks!

Main blog image by Rafael Godoi.