Get on Board – a changemaker story

About This Project

In 2018 a relationship building meeting occurred between BAF, The Wheelhouse and Taranaki Young Professionals (TYP).  This was to discuss some training opportunities and to see if there were any synergies that could be developed.  During the course of the conversation Portia Smith then TYP chair, indicated that they had a number of members who were interested in joining a community board, but did not feel they had the knowledge, experience or confidence to take the first step.  For context, TYP members are skilled, motivated individuals at the beginning of their professional careers.

This created a “we have got to be able to do something innovative here” moment. BAF is continually told by Community groups and Not for Profit organisations, that they are struggling to find and recruit appropriate people into governance positions.  This is not a new challenge, but one where BAF and The Wheelhouse are continuing to try new initiations and opportunities to make a real difference.

From this conversation BAF started to develop a programme concept in consultation with TYP who understood the requirements of their members.  For the programme to be successful it had to ensure the TYP members felt well supported, that their knowledge and skills about community governance were enhanced and that they had a really positive experience that would all combine to build their confidence and encourage them to move onto community boards.

The Get on Board programme provides participants with education workshops via The Wheelhouse. These cover Governance, Planning and Financial Management for community boards.  The workshops are delivered before the participants are placed on boards.  Well-functioning and supportive boards are handpicked for participants to join.  The boards need to provide positive learning experiences, while developing the trainee’s confidence to become an active board member in the community.

There are informal catch up sessions after work where any issues can be discussed, as well as a forum for all the participants to discuss their experiences and share about the wide range of Community and Not for Profit groups they have become involved with.  All the participants continue to learn from each other and the mixed experiences.

A new cohort of TYP participants join the Get on Board programme annually, which ensures we continue to increase the pool of available board members in Taranaki.  Over the last two years we have begun to include people from outside of the TYP network as our intention is to expand this opportunity further.

The outcomes from the Get on Board programme have been fantastic;

  • 100% of the Get on Board participants have gone on to join a community or Not for Profit board.
  • At the last promotional evening with prospective TYP members a past participant spoke about how she is now on four boards, two of them are small local groups, one is a larger regional organisation and one is a national entity.
  • A number of the Get on Board participants have reflected on the fact they have grown their professional and personal networks because of their involvement on the board

“I would never had the chance to meet these key community and business leaders any other way”

We now have 30 new board members on their own governance pathways who are likely to continue contributing for many years to come.

The Get on Board programme provides positive outcomes for participating boards who gain a fresh perspective and get the contribution on fresh ideas and perspectives.

The outcomes for the hosting boards have also been impressive;

  • Participating boards have praised the input and work ethic of the trainee board members and the fantastic contributions they have made to the boards they are on.
  • The trainees provide fresh eyes, energy, skills and ideas
  • Connects boards with a younger stakeholder base/network
  • Increases the number of people who know about their activities and creates a supporter of the organisation’s endeavours once they leave
  • Supports board diversity and inclusion
  • A number have provided new innovations and concepts

Here’s what previous Get on Board trainees and boards have said about the programme:

“Get on Board is an invaluable experience that fast tracks your governance journey. It’s exciting to sit around the table with amazing leaders within our community and be part of effective governance at play”. – Sade Sadd

“Through the Get on Board programme placement I’ve been able to network with passionate experts and help secure great outcomes for community-driven conservation. The programme was run well with great support and training along the way.” – Cal Bouzaid

“Get on Board is an awesome programme to connect with talented and passionate people, ready to learn and make a difference.”

” We loved the new ideas and energy that Cal has brought to the board.” – WildlifeAI

The outlook for the future is exciting for the Get on Board programme as we look to expand the programme.

Our Impact