Benefits of Board Experience for a Solopreneur

Category : On Business

I love the freedom of solopreneurship, and I rarely wonder about forks in the road I might have taken. Most of the time I am completely certain I’m where I’m meant to be. But occasionally I will wonder about the leadership positions I might have enjoyed if I had taken a different path. My personality profiles all say I’d make a great CEO, and I definitely gravitate to leadership and love holding a vision for myself in my personal life, and for my clients in their various projects.

As a solopreneur, there are a few skills that are unlikely to happen in your daily work – human resources tasks, for example. This is where my volunteer board work has filled a few gaps for me. I have been the vice-president of the Science Writers & Communicators of Canada since 2021. Reflecting on my time with SWCC so far, I have completed a wide variety of projects, some I would not have had the chance to do in my business.

  1. I led the organization through a mission, vision and values exercise, first working with the board, and then including members in a focus group process. We now have a vision (something the organization never had before), mission and values.
  2. Following on the new vision, mission and values, we also went through a process to develop a new logo, which launched at our AGM last September.
  3. I chaired our hiring committee to replace our general manager. Human resources was an area that I had never touched before. I can’t say that I missed my calling – I felt terrible having only one position to offer so many great candidates, but it is gratifying to be working with our new general manager, and knowing I supported that selection process.

Also on the list is chairing conferences; however, that is something I have done before (granted, I swore after I chaired the Slow Food in Canada Conference in 2018 that I would never chair another conference). I helped plan our 2023 conference in Ottawa with SWCC President Rhonda Moore, and am the conference chair for our 2024 conference, happening in Saskatoon in less than a month.

While tracking all the details of an event like a conference can be a challenge, I love to create experiences, and I had a strong desire to provide a transformative program for our members and followers. This may be premature to say this, but so far, so good! I have a great team of conference volunteers helping to execute the vision, we have collaborations with the Canadian Association of Science Centres and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and when I share the conference program with people in my network, everyone gets really excited.

Check in with me after the conference is done to confirm its success, but in the meantime, I am grateful for the opportunity to support the leadership of a national organization and to steward it through changes large and small. It’s a great way to stretch some of my lesser-used business muscles and connect with like-minded people across the country.