Thursday, November 29, 2012

FCN Election 2013: What's It Like To Serve On The Board?

Posted by: Dannielle Blumenthal, November 29, 2012

OK, so in the next day or so the call for nominations for the FCN Board will be going out to our mailing list. (Click here to join it - if you're a federal employee this automatically makes you a member.)

Please note that FCN membership is restricted to federal employees, and therefore only federal employees on our mailing list can nominate people for the Board (including themselves).

Someone sent me a note asking what's involved in the Advisory Board role and it seemed like a good opportunity to share some info on the Board of Directors' role generally.

One way to think of it is in terms of time & responsibility:
  • The Chair is the public face of FCN and harnesses the skills of the Board members to make major decisions about FCN's direction as a group
  • The Co-Chair offers support, advice and guidance and in our case moderated all the webinars (thank you Jeri Richardson!)
  • The Task Force members take responsibilities in areas of their choosing, normally "owning" a particular role. Examples: Kathleen Taylor is the Voice of FCN through our newsletter. Ellen Crown is our "mastermind" social media strategist. John Verrico established a partnership with the National Association of Government Communicators to sponsor some events. Rachel White wrote the charter with Kathleen. Bill Brantley offered to set up a Drupal site and fund it with his own money. Jay Krasnow set up our events in EventBrite. Todd Solomon set up live meeting space. 

When you join FCN you also join a community and our little SWAT team did our share of backing each other up, calming each other down (isn't it fun when the webinar ECHOES), and being supportive through life's little transitions.

Our Advisory Board members have included Camilla Stroud and David J. Starck. Basically, these are "on-call" positions where you offer advice and expertise when you have the chance, and it's up to the Board to offer them.

Of course you can always volunteer to help. Maggie McGuire set up Twitter guidelines. Melanie Solomon helped us think through the Drupal site (and her sage advice was one reason I felt we should prioritize other things.)

If I am forgetting anyone, please forgive me.

In any case, as far as Board membership goes, I asked everyone to share their experiences, and here's a word-for-word from the responses received:


Collaborate on new media/ social media initiatives
Buzz marketing (promote FCN events within smaller circles of professional communicators)
Communication planning and strategy implementation


In my agency, being assigned public affairs duties means you’re alive and breathing.  I’ve learned a great deal about communications serving as an FCN board member.  Working with communications professionals from other agencies taught me a lot, and the networking opportunities are invaluable.  And if that’s not enough, did I mention the people I’ve worked with are just genuinely nice people?

Participated in conference calls, helped draft the charter, contacted potential speakers and coordinated with the rest of the group to schedule speaking events, posted event information on Govloop and other outlets, promoted FCN among colleagues.

  • Participated in conference calls and planning meeting
  • Reviewed/edited FCN charter and other guiding documents
  • Contributed to FCN newsletter
  • Posted blogs and facilitated discussions on FCN's Linked-In group
  • Cross-posted social media discussions between FCN and other government communications related organizations, such as the National Association of Government Communicators, U.S. Navy Public Affairs and others
  • Coordinated joint events between FCN and NAGC, including leading a Webinar on media relations.
  • Promoted FCN among colleagues.

Please watch for the nomination survey this weekend, and we welcome any questions or comments.

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