coupled & compiling: the why of wanting to meet the C4Q BoD
Tonight I Googled what a Board of Directors (BoD) does.
I remember first hearing of a BoD when reading about Enron in this book, years ago.
That context may have tainted my idea of what a BoD is. I didn’t realize nonprofits had them, too, until the recent meeting we had about the C4Q Pay It Forward agreement/contract. Jukay mentioned the board in the context of who made the decisions about how C4Q resources are allocated.
Oh, my other understanding of a BoD comes from the 1954 romantic comedy/drama Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. So mostly quiet, stern dudes in pointy suits and totally de-saturated (racially and also just color-wise; it’s a black & white movie).
So the three things I know about Boards of Directors are that 1) something something Enron, 2) they call the shots w/r/t finances, 3) suits. Understandably, I am kind of intimidated by Boards of Directors.
But a year ago I was intimidated by Jukay.
I remember before I was accepted into C4Q doing an internet deep dive (I like, Googled his name and read three articles, relax Jukay) on this guy who started this career training program I was interested in. I was impressed with his C4Q bio and what I found beyond his bio. I’m still impressed and a little in awe, but I’ve also eaten pizza with him and seen him correct slides mid-presentation, so, y’know, he’s less mysterious now. And that’s a good thing, because it makes him easier to listen to and work with.
I don’t expect to be buddy-buddy with the BoD, but I think if they had a chance to hear from the students, even a quick, TED-talk-style presentation, they would listen. I understand that they represent the shareholders and need to care about results and the bottom line to do their job. I also think listening to stories about what students sacrifice and go through to complete the program coupled with the facts on-the-ground would help them do better when making decisions about C4Qs resources and growth.
The reality of working with an underrepresented, unprivileged, and underestimated population means being ready for people close to or going through crises, whether said crisis has to do with housing, mental health, confidence, finances, relationships, some combination of the preceding or something else entirely. The board must be made aware of this fact if it wants C4Q to be the special organization it’s becoming and not just another flash-in-the-pan bootcamp.
As a graduated fellow of C4Q and my cohort’s alumni representative, I’m in a position to help provide input and energy into things C4Q can do to improve, and I take that responsibility seriously. For a good presentation that serves everyone's interests I would need to gather data from past and current cohorts and then practice the pitch for whatever solutions are envisioned. Ideally, this pitch could be done in 2018 in Q3 after the 4th cohort is graduated and we have even more data, with time to start implementing changes before 5.X.
One of my last notes from tonight’s first alumni representatives meeting is from V. and it’s just one word in all capitals: BENCHMARKS. I hope one of our benchmarks for our success as alumni representatives is not just happy, productive, and supportive alumni, but a two-fer of 1) a supportive (while challenging) environment for fellows and 2) moving closer to a 100% graduation rate that will help ensure the future of C4Q. I think we can achieve the last two benchmarks by influencing those who decide on C4Qs benchmarks for itself.