It took me a very long time to understand what our Board does and what their conversations are like - in fact, not until I attended my first Board meeting. Why does this matter? Well, for one, Board members get the Corp discount. So you might want to have something to talk about when they answer "I'm on the Board" to your inquiring about where they work. What's more, it's sometimes difficult to explain how students are our "shareholders" or how we're a non-profit company dedicated to serving students, and knowing a little bit about the Board helps you understand the identity of the Corp a little bit better.
There are four students on the Board who have never worked for the Corp before. The three officers (me, Brad, and Phil) are Corp employees. So Corp employees have three votes and non-Corp employees (representatives of the Georgetown community) have four votes. These external Board members or "Members at-Large" are campus leaders and general Georgetown all-stars that are chosen to advise the Corp and provide some oversight of our activities on behalf of the student body for a year.
So, hypothetically, if the Corp decided to spend money on Rolexes for the Corp Upper Management instead of spending money in the best interests of the student body, the Board could step in and prevent that. Since of course we don't try to do that, the Board can act in a more cooperative role and help us keep in touch with our mission while we (the Corp Upper Management) concentrate on running the most innovative, efficient, profitable business possible.
That's not to say that the Corp UM doesn't think about Students Serving Students. In fact, many of the conversations at Corp UM meetings are very mission-driven, and that's awesome. But UM members also have a responsibility to the company to run the best services they can, so that's their main focus. The external Board members have specific roles too, but their positions connect directly with the Corp's softer side and its long-term health.
At some companies, the Board will meet every quarter (like in Dayton, mentioned below) or even less frequently, just to make major decisions and generally keep tabs on what's going on. Ours meets weekly, or a little less frequently, and stays up-to-date about what's going on, looking for opportunities to lend some time, effort, and expertise to the Corp through task forces, thoughtful conversations, or formal proposals that help keep us a healthy, responsible company.
They're Omar, Sunny, Nick, and Pat. They'll be working with me, you, and the Corp to leave it at least a little better than they found it, just like all of us.