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Board Service: A Huge Need and Opportunity to Advance Inclusion

January 20, 2020

What can I do outside of my day-to-day work to fuel my ambition for social impact and inclusion? In my client work and through my involvement with FH4Inclusion, I felt like I was helping advance my clients’ purpose and the agency’s goal of making FleishmanHillard “the most inclusive global communications agency there is and nothing less.” But I was hungry to do more.

Only one-quarter of Americans take the time to volunteer, according to the latest survey results by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, according to the National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, a number of nonprofits boards are looking for increased diversity, strategic thinking and a higher level of engagement in advocacy.

About a year ago, I met a like-minded social impact communicator who was part of the Net Impact San Francisco Chapter Leadership team (NISF) – an organization that strives to build and empower a network of professionals with the vision, connections and resources they need to drive positive social and environmental change. She knew about my interest and portfolio of work in social impact and inclusion and invited me to attend a couple networking and panel events organized by the chapter. After I attended a few events, I realized I wanted more from this experience and the timing was perfect. My contact reached out to me asking if I was interested in applying for a leadership position with the chapter.

The Net Impact San Francisco Professional Chapter organized an event at a local chocolate factory where participants toured the facilities and learned about the sustainable sourcing practices.

For almost a year now, I’ve served on the Net Impact San Francisco Professional Chapter Leadership team. During my time, I’ve leveraged my client service, communications and public relations skills to create a community of impact professionals. I’ve also organized events and programs that connect people in the area, allowing them to use business as a force for positive impact. In particular, I look for ways to advance inclusion by ensuring that our programs cover a wide range of topics beyond the environment and sustainability; and strive to create a space where individuals of varying backgrounds, industries, levels of expertise and perspectives can collaborate and unfold creative solutions to drive social and environmental challenges.

Here are a few of my favorite things about being part of this board:

  • No matter my age or experience, my perspective and hunger to make a difference are always welcome.
  • By bringing my professional skills to the board, I can expand my impact.
  • The opportunity to connect with passionate people who are leveraging their expertise to make a lasting impact in their backyard.
  • Learning and continuing to expand my skills, such as managing a social media account for an organization and learning to create mutually beneficial partnerships.
Maritza (right) with another Net Impact San Francisco Professional Chapter board member during a speed networking event.

There are many organizations around the world working to advance inclusion that are looking for board members. I encourage anyone who is interested to get involved, explore your passions and put your skills to use for good.

Maritza Rendon is a member of the Corporate Reputation and Social Impact teams in our San Francisco office and a global FH4Inclusion ambassador.