All For One Welcoming New Board Members into the Fold

 It can be easy for seasoned, veteran board members to recall both the excitement  and challenge of being elected to the post. For many, the first weeks and  months are a daunting experience requiring a learning curve that is not always  easily afforded. Like most other situations in life, until one walks in the  proverbial shoes, it is difficult to actually understand all that an experience  entails. As a result, new board members have countless questions swirling  through their minds: What are my duties? How do I obtain the minutes from the  meeting? When can I bring my issues to the board? Are there books to read or  courses to take?  

 There are specific answers for the aforementioned questions (and the plethora of  others that arise), but one general answer speaks to the lot of them, explains  Ian Gopin, president and CEO of G&G Management Elite Development Group. “Every board is different, with different size communities and different ways of  approaching situations and issues, including what is expected of new board  members and how they might be treated.”  

 In order for there to be a new board member, there obviously has to be turnover.  However, Gopin said he is surprised just how little turnover there is in his  Massachusetts market. “Roughly 70 percent of the clients that hired me haven’t had any changes in the last seven years,” he says. When asked why there is such a small turnover rate, he responded, “Some owners are very quick to comment and question the board but not many people  are willing to volunteer their time and take on the issues.”  

 Whether a board has a slow or fast turnover rate, the experience for the newly  elected is always trying. “When I first sat on the board, I wasn’t offered much help, and I certainly wasn’t encouraged to bring my issues to the table at first,” says Jamie Epranian, a former condominium owner who also sat on the Danbury,  Connecticut Lake Waubeeka Association board for three years. “In hindsight, it would have been better for me to hang back and listen more but  I wanted to be part of the process and not all the senior board members liked  that approach initially.”  

 Learn as You Go

 Dale Carnegie once said, “Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. Only knowledge that is used  sticks in your mind.” This adage seems to hold true for new board members, explains Ed Hofeller of  The Hofeller Company in Brookline, Massachusetts.  

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