Why You Should Apply to be an Student Board Member

Applications are now open for the Student Board member position. Natalia Rodriguez, a current Student Board member, shares her thoughts — complete with fun GIFs — on why all students should consider applying and the benefits of holding this exciting position.

It’s that time of year!, the leading non-profit promoting the advancement of industry women in tech — yes they’re also in charge of the Grace Hopper Celebration, but they do a bunch of stuff year-round — is taking applications/nominations for its student seat on the Board of Trustees.

As a current student board member who has learned a ton, I am writing up an 9-reason summary of why you should apply — hopefully it can teach you what you would be doing and why it’s a worthwhile experience.

1. See the inner workings of a successful nonprofit

Learn a ton from the staff, see the numbers, the planning, the strategy. If you ever want to start your own non-profit, or even company, you can learn all about it here!

2. Share your own perspective and experiences on how things can be better for students

The whole reason there is even a board position for a student (not a traditional approach) is because the Board wants to have the voice of a younger person at the table.

Roughly a third of the audience is made up of students. Most of the other board members are accomplished career people of an older demographic. That means your input as a student is valuable!

If you have ideas on how can improve its programs, this is an opportunity to voice your opinion and provide insights for solutions.

3. Learn about what a board even is and what it does

Nora Denzel taught me, and has spoken about, the importance of women holding more board seats on both public and non-profit boards.

But in summary, holding a board seat = having a voice in the direction a company takes.

4. Surround yourself with inspirational women

Oh, where can I begin with this one? The Board is made up of a mentor stack crazier than you could ever imagine. Check out the official list here.

Fran Berman will give hugs, Telle Whitney will share life lessons while Nora Denzel will crack jokes about her early career. The list goes on, and it will be wonderful.

5. Learn to strategize

There is literally a board meeting called the “strategy” meeting where we look ahead to the next three years and brainstorm how to tackle the diversity and geography problem in tech.

6. Attend GHC and ABI.Local events

This one is just a side perk, but it means you are guaranteed an in into all events.

So that’s a really nice plus but not the most outstanding by far, plus I wanted to use this GIF.

7. Mentor another student board member and be mentored by an another awesome girl

There will be another student right there with you–since you both serve two year terms and one is elected a year, you’ll always have someone to go to.

8. Get out of your comfort zone

The Board lineup can be a tad intimidating, but it also means you will be out of your comfort zone discussing topics with CTOs and CEOs at prominent technology organizations.

And you will learn a ton doing it and also watching them do it!

9. In the end you will feel like an equal and take part in making a difference

After the first board meeting you will soon realize your voice is as every bit as valuable as everyone else’s, and you will bid adieu to your intimidation.

So apply apply apply!

P.S. Here’s a breakdown of the time commitment: it is a two-year term. It’s okay if you’re a rising senior, will work with you if that is the case. Undergrad, Masters, Ph.D.s — we’ve had them all. Time wise, you will be on one-hour phone calls once every three weeks. There are three in-person meetings a year one happens at GHC and the rest are in the Bay Area.