With so many demands on your time, why would you choose to give up several hours a month to become a member of our board of directors? For many local women, the answer was easy, but what’s interesting is that each of those answers is a little different. That’s because our dynamic board offers a wide range of rewards to those who become involved.
Common to all of these talented women is a desire to help and an understanding that by jumping in, they can make a difference in the lives of other women who experience violence and other forms of abuse in their lives, usually from an intimate partner but increasingly through human trafficking. “It’s important work,” says Joanne Waite, a former York Region police officer who joined the board in 2020. “Sadly, it’s needed.”
If you’ve ever been on a board where you left wondering what the point was, or whether the group was actually doing anything useful, well, that’s not how members of the Women’s Resources board feel. “We certainly get things accomplished,” says Shirley Norman, a retired teacher who’s back for a second time on the board after a stint in the 1990s.
Of course, the reason so much gets done is that board members work hard. They attend one board meeting a month but also sit on at least one committee or task group that might tackle anything from advocacy for women in the court system to fundraising to human resources to governance—things like how the board itself runs and long-range planning. While the day-to-day work of supporting women escaping violence is taken care of by trained staff, board members have a wide range of strategic functions, but for anyone willing to devote the time, there are rewards aplenty:
- You’ll meet terrific women from a wide range of backgrounds who are united by their commitment to making a difference in the lives of the women of our community. “We are a friendly board. We are authentic. We try to have social gatherings as well as meetings,” says Shirley.
- You’ll learn more about the needs in Kawartha Lakes and the reality of violence against women. “At every board meeting we have presentations and discussions on domestic violence and human trafficking to ensure our members are well informed and understand the current issues that we face as an organization,” says Jane Chapman. She’s the current chair of the board and brings a background in municipal social services and as a trainer on issues related to in domestic violence, suicide intervention and policy.
- Your voice will be heard and respected. “We’ve worked at making sure that everybody feels they can speak out,” says Jane. This isn’t one of those boards where a few loud opinions dominate; rather, women with expertise and insight bring their best to solve problems and undertake exciting initiatives.
- You’ll be contributing to a well-respected organization with an impressive track record. In less than a year on the board, Joanne says she’s come to realize that Women’s Resources is “very organized, well-run, well-managed—they’ve really impressed me.”
If you’d like to learn a bit more about the organization and help out in a smaller way before applying to be a board member, consider joining one of our committees or an event-focused task group such as the one organizing this September’s golf tournament fundraiser. (Joanne chairs that group which, not surprisingly, has secured outstanding sponsors and has a waiting list of players—all this months before the event.) “There are ways for anyone to get involved—all you have to do ask,” Shirley says.
Prospective board members need to be aware that this isn’t an organization where you sit on your hands, but neither is it a place where you have to do all the work yourself, thanks to the dedicated staff. “There’s definitely a commitment required,” says Joanne, “but that’s because they have so much on the go.”
To complement the skills of those already on the board, this year Women’s Resources is particularly looking for women with skills in the areas of financial management, human resources, fundraising, strategic planning or governance. The new term begins in September, and applications are due by July 30. You can find more details and contact information here.
Meeting wonderful women and achieving great things together—just a few of the reasons to consider jumping a-board!
By Nancy Payne