Open Nominations: Join The Mountaineers Board of Directors in 2022

Our goal is for the members of our Board of Directors to represent the communities we currently serve and those we wish to serve. Last year, we launched a new, innovative nominations process to help identify prospective Board members who could bring the qualifications and perspectives we seek for our Board. Now is the time to nominate yourself or someone you know to help drive the future of our organization.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
May 10, 2022
Open Nominations: Join The Mountaineers Board of Directors in 2022

In 2021, The Mountaineers began to utilize a new process for discovering potential candidates for open at-large positions on our Board of Directors. This new open nominations process was very successful, resulting in more than 20 nominees from across the organization. Feedback from applicants and the community at large about the new process was overwhelmingly positive. Members appreciated the transparency, rigor, and excellent results that it delivered. 

More than 1,700 current Mountaineers members voted in our fall 2021 elections, resulting in four new at-large directors being elected to the Board. All four of these directors were identified in the new open nominations process, and we were thrilled to welcome each of them to our Board of Directors. 

Building on this success, we’re following the same nominations process for the fall 2022 elections and that process is now open. Our core values state that The Mountaineers believes a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We seek to act on this belief by using a nominations process that encourages any interested member to submit a nomination for a Board candidate, particularly of individuals from communities which have historically been excluded from  outdoor activities. 

In The Mountaineers bylaws, the terms of at-large directors are capped at two consecutive, three-year terms or six consecutive years. Two current directors will term out this fall, so those positions will be vacant. Our bylaws allow The Mountaineers Board to approve from 9 to 15 at-large directors, and the number of nominees for this fall’s at-large elections will be determined at the August Board meeting. 

The Governance Committee, chartered by the Board of Directors in our bylaws, has as one of its most important responsibilities that of recruiting and nominating candidates for at-large board positions. Once the open nominations process closes on June 15, 2022, the Governance Committee evaluates candidates and narrows the pool down to a final set of nominees. At the Board of Directors August 18 meeting, the Board is asked to formally endorse these nominees. The Mountaineers is committed to an equitable process whereby all members of our community have equal access to and opportunity for consideration. 


What does the Board of Directors do?

The Mountaineers Board of Boards is the governing body accountable for the overall management of the organization, as dictated by our bylaws. The Board’s role, on   behalf of members, 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 and 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 our Board of Directors.

How are Board Directors different from 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 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 branch volunteers. Similar volunteer leadership roles exist for our lodges.

Here is a visual representation of the organizational structure of The Mountaineers. The role of leaders within branches and our outdoor centers is 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, overseeing our finances in a prudent way, and setting policies and procedures. The Mountaineers is a complicated, nonprofit corporation with an annual budget of nearly $10 million. The Board of Directors has specific, legal responsibilities to prudently guide the organization with its best interests in mind, in full compliance with all laws, and in accordance with our mission. 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 are 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, social and philanthropic resources to show up for The Mountaineers as we look to take our nonprofit to the next level
  • Acknowledge the historical barriers and bias that have prevented all people from accessing the outdoors and personally/professionally commit to working as an ally to create safe outdoor spaces for all humans.

For the 2022 cycle, we are specifically looking for individuals with professional experience in the following areas:

  • Finance, Accounting, and/or Audit
  • Publishing 
  • Philanthropy 
  • Strategic Planning and Change Management
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • 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 outdoor activities
  • Involvement and engagement with The Mountaineers
  • Leadership and professional experience

Nominate yourself or someone else

Nominate yourself or another Mountaineers member using our 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!


URL for Nomination Form: 

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. 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 15, 2022. 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 candidates and then select a slate of nominees who will be presented to members for our annual at-large director elections.

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 image: Hiking in the Hoh Rainfoest, by Brendan Moore-Penaskovic.

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Jeff Horne
Jeff Horne says:
Oct 09, 2022 08:23 AM

New bylaws: "Replaces the floor nominations process for at-large directors with the annual, open call for nominations process that has been used successfully for the last two years."
Seems like this process is buried in the overall Mountaineers website and it ultimately leaves total control of the selections to the Board of Directors. If we vote to eliminate the ability to nominate from the floor, we might as well eliminate voting altogether, since all decisions will then rest with the BoD.