Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

Give, Gain, and Grow as a Babson Board Fellow

The Babson Board Fellows program pairs Babson MBA students and MBA alumni with local nonprofits. The program allows you, the Fellow, to put your MBA skills and Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® (ET&A™) methodology to practice.

The job of a Board is to ensure the sustainability of the corporation. The job of a nonprofit Board is to ensure the organization is sustainable while staying true to their clear social mission. Board Fellows work alongside their mentors to effectively run the business of the nonprofit corporation.

As we frequently say in ET&A™, it’s not about what you’re going to do, it’s about what you’re going to do next. And what are our Board Fellows going to do next? Of the 2017–2018 Fellows who responded to a survey:

  • 42% plan to remain on their current Board
  • 42% plan to look for another Board
  • 16% plan to focus on a startup in another country

Through the first week of June, you can apply to be a Babson Board Fellow for the upcoming academic year. This opportunity will allow you to accomplish three main goals:

Give Back

Our mantra at The Lewis Institute is “Do Something That Matters” (hat tip to gapingvoid).

While there are numerous ways to give back to your community, from volunteerism to philanthropy, serving on a nonprofit Board provides a unique opportunity to explore how you can contribute directly to the business of the organization. How does your particular set of skills, talents, and insights show up in this space? What value can you offer this Board?

Then beyond your Board Fellows year, how will you create social impact in the world? Will you choose to serve on a nonprofit Board again? Will you start a nonprofit or a hybrid nonprofit-for-profit? Will you become a social entrepreneur? Philanthropist? Governmental changemaker? Or find another path?

Gain Experience

As a Babson Board Fellow (BBF), you experience first-hand the inner workings of a nonprofit Board. Audrey Scagnelli, a Babson Board Fellow 2017–18, says of her Fellows experience, “the Board inspires you with their leadership, professionalism, and passion for what they do.”

As Bader Almandeel (BBF 2017–18) describes, “We were able to experience and learn from the basic practices at Board meetings, including managing the meeting, reviewing minutes, discussing critical issues, assigning action plans, and seeing votes on key decisions. Additionally, we had the opportunity to see the financial challenges of a nonprofit, and the strategies and execution needed to secure alternative funding and develop new revenue streams.”

Running a nonprofit isn’t easy, nor is managing a nonprofit Board. As with anything in real life, sometimes things run smoothly…and sometimes things are challenging. You will gain tremendous perspective as you consider: What worked well? What did not? What can you learn from the leadership skills and styles you observed? What can you learn from the makeup of the Board team itself? How will you want to lead and compose your own advisory team in the future?

Grow Partnerships

Through the Babson Board Fellows program, you cultivate numerous relationships.

In addition to Board meetings, Fellows meet several times a year with Pam Martin, our Board Fellows Manager, to share experiences, give and receive advice, and exchange resources with peers. You also work closely with a Board mentor, who helps you navigate your experience on the Board. All of these people act as your sounding board and advisors.

Nonprofit Boards naturally provide what we like to call an “Uncommon Table,” bringing together both the usual and unusual suspects to create change. The Board itself offers an interesting Table, often bringing together a variety of senior leaders from multiple sectors. As David Mungai (BBF 2017–18) explains, “you learn the importance of private-public partnerships that enable social and economic change.”

Not only do you enhance your networking, but you learn how to forge partnerships and find your tribe—the group of people who will help you create change.

Now, go do something that matters!

Apply to be a Babson Board Fellow

Deadline for the 2019–2020 academic year is June 7, 2019.

Questions? Email Pam Martin.