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Benefits of joining a board of directors

Visit Durango currently has five open board member positions. They include Lodging & Hospitality, Specialty Lodging, Outdoor Recreation, Agritourism & Heritage, and At Large, which is open to all community members and is not sector specific.

We want to take this opportunity to share some of the benefits of serving on a board of directors and encourage those who are interested to apply. Applications and additional information can be found on Visit Durango’s board of directors webpage: bit.ly/VisitDurangoBOD.

While board positions are a great professional opportunity, many still shy away from adding one to their career plan. Some say it is because they find the strenuous selection process daunting or worry about the time commitment of serving on a board. These are fair considerations, but the challenges are well outweighed by the experiences and professional growth it can provide. As you decide whether a board role is right for you, consider these benefits serving on a board of directors will give you:

1. Expand your network. Most people who are on boards enjoy networking and have a strong professional circle that afforded them a board opportunity. When you serve on a board with local leaders who are passionate about making new connections, you will be able to expand your existing community of friends and colleagues, adding influential people with different backgrounds and insights. This new network can be an asset for the rest of your career when you are looking for new jobs, additional board roles or simply to swap ideas with someone who has a different outlook or background than you.

2. Grow your professional brand. Outside of optimizing your LinkedIn profile, joining a board is a great way to boost your professional brand. It is an impressive addition that adds gravitas to any resume, CV or online profile. A board role also shows other thought leaders in your industry that you are a front runner in your field and well-equipped to help shape the future of an organization.

3. Support initiatives that resonate with you. Many people join a board as a way to give back. Nonprofit boards can provide an excellent opportunity to positively affect change or support organizations working toward a cause they are passionate about. Small private boards offer the chance to provide your specific knowledge or expertise to the organization. Whether you are helping to hone the focus of an organization currently working toward an initiative that resonates with you or supporting one that is just beginning their efforts to achieve a goal that aligns with your passions, serving on a board can be a uniquely rewarding experience.

5. Intellectual challenge. For leaders who are curious to learn, board duties will provide a rewarding intellectual challenge. If the board serves a different industry than your specialty, over time you will become well-versed about the sector and its competitive landscape in order to make informed contributions.

6. Improve performance at your current job. As a board member, you will gain insight into an organization that may have a different structure and business practices than ones you are familiar with. The other board members may also be from various industries and roles. The deviation from your norm will teach you new ways of operating and how different organizations and industries approach situations. Simply listening to others in board meetings will provide cross-functional information about ways to approach problems and find new solutions. Those takeaways can not only help you during your time on the board, but also as you continue in your career.

Percy Stevens is director of sales and marketing at Visit Durango.