First posted in 2021.
Being on a “board” – if you have ever thought that sounded important, well, it is. But being on the TRL board doesn’t require you to have special training or credentials; it simply requires that you enjoy running and being a part of the Lizard community. With board elections coming up over the next month, if you have been thinking about joining the board, now is the time.
When we asked TRL president Angela Lindbo, why someone should serve on the Team Red Lizard board, her response was, “Because those who do keep our club active in promoting running in our community. It’s a really great way to give back to your community without a huge time commitment. Our monthly board meetings (although virtual) are a fun time to reconnect and plan ways to keep TRL relevant to our members. The friendships I’ve made through serving on the board will last a lifetime. Volunteering to support something important to you is very rewarding. We hope you’ll consider running for a board position.”
As a reminder, the board consists of “officers” and “directors.” The officers are the 4 positions that are elected every 2 years – President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The officers can then name up to 9 other directors to fill in other roles the identify (e.g. Group Runs, Membership, etc). So whether you have an interest in running for one of the elected officer positions, or might want to serve as a director, this is the time to make your interest known.
Filling a role on the board doesn’t require previous experience. Current Treasurer, Ben Flaata, “joined the Team Red Lizard board as Treasurer in April of 2021 when a vacancy presented the opportunity. Life was busy at the time, but I figured I could finish the remaining term and see how it went. The role-specific workload is light but important; issuing payments, maintaining various accounts, depositing received funds, and ensuring the board as a whole is using club funds appropriately. The larger impact of the role is in the club planning and decision-making processes. The club needs a diverse array of voices and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to contribute.”
Every member has important perspective to add, and there isn’t something unique about any of the past or current board members. Current Secretary, Janne Heinonen, shared the following perspective from before and after she joined the board: “To me, the Board seemed like running nobility, holders of unknowable wisdom about how to run the club. What could I possibly add? After four years on the TRL Board, almost two during the pandemic, my view of the Board is quite different but no less positive. Several Board members bring many years of experience and help shape the backbone of the club. But there is no secret running club manual, no running nobility, no roadmap to the future. Nothing made this more plain than the pandemic. What makes the Board work is that its members love running. They are committed to supporting the running community because they recognize how important it is in each runner’s life. They are committed to celebrating every success – whether it’s qualifying for the Olympic marathon trials, a 5k PR, or venturing out of a warm house and into an atmospheric river.”
While there may not be any mystical properties to board members, there might be some skills being on the board can help with. After being on the board for the past 2 years as Group Run Director, Garland Days, shared that: “I love being a part of the Portland running community. As a TRL board member and director of group runs, I learned so much more about the community. One of the best aspects of being on the TRL board is that you can experience the inner workings of the group. You gain a greater understanding of what it’s like to craft policies, manage running events, and coordinate social activities. Volunteering as a board member does require a considerable investment of time and effort. Was the payoff worth it? Of course! I challenged myself in something that I had never tried before. I strengthened a variety of professional skills, built new relationships, improved my ability to collaborate with others, and hopefully made a meaningful difference for the future of TRL.”
Another board director who is finishing up her first 2-year tour on the board, Membership Director, Kellie Houser, shared: “I value being a member of the TRL board and serving as membership director. I believe this allows me an opportunity to become more involved, connect with, and give back to this running community. As members of a running club, we share in the joy of the sport. I enjoy learning from members what makes this club a special and a welcoming environment, whether talking to a veteran or to a newly joined member. I appreciate the sharing of these thoughts and ideas and bringing them to board meetings. I believe this allows us to better serve members and play a more pivotal role in the future and make improvements to the club.”
Undoubtedly our longest-serving board member, current Communications Director, Torrey Lindbo, had the following to share: “I have been on the TRL board for a looong time. After spending 4 years as president, I have served in other capacities for the last 12 years. My board service is old enough to drive! A lot has changed over those years, but a lot has stayed the same. I still remember the days when I was “just a member” – joining a few group runs, but I was primarily just out to race cross country with a team. What started as trying to motivate other team members to show up for each race led to being asked to be the cross country captain, and eventually being asked to run for president. While “being asked” was certainly a big part of joining the board, I will also admit that part of that ‘ask’ was me demonstrating an interest – showing up for races and events, suggesting ideas to the board, volunteering to take on small tasks. Those are really all the same things involved in being on the board; it’s just a title and a level of commitment you are making. I know there are a lot of members out there who are actively involved and would make great members of the board. Board service might be a step up in the level of commitment you make to the club, but I have always felt like the additional work has been a meaningful extension of what I enjoyed about the club in the first place. Take it from someone who was interested, but didn’t necessarily want to raise their hand, whether you get called on or just come forward, being on the board is a great way to give back to the running community we all enjoy being part of.”
Sometimes being involved and engaged gets noticed, as in the case of Pacing Director, Gregg LeBlanc. After 2 years on the board, Gregg shared: “As a TRL member for several years, a few years ago I was asked to consider joining the Board. This is a great opportunity to give back to our local running community while not only learning more about how TRL works, but also having a voice in where TRL is going. If you appreciate what TRL is and does, this is a chance to pay it back by joining the board to be a part of what is next for TRL.”
If you think joining the board might be something you want to try, reach out to one of our current board members. Elections will be taking place later this month, with the election results being finalized at our March board meeting. So time is running out for you to join the board of your favorite running club.