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Developing your own personal board of directors

I first heard this great concept of developing your own personal board of directors from Dr. Sasha Shillcutt, who accomplishes more than most people on any given day. If you think of your life as an extraordinary company that can impact the world – and you as its CEO, great benefit can be uncovered by developing your own board of directors that help guide you forward to thrive.


When I had the opportunity, early in my career, to help develop and become the medical director for a clinic serving the underserved, the steep learning curve gave me an understanding of new concepts. One of them was how non-profits develop their board of directors and their critical roles, representing both internal and external perspectives.  I needed like-minded people on board with the mission that brought a unique skill set, view, and/or wisdom to the table to create the best practice. 


Providentially, I was able to gather a fantastic board. A former medical technologist with hospital administrative experience, a pharmacist, two office managers that had run medical offices for decades, a nurse, a gentle spiritual care leader with pharmaceutical experience, an experienced social worker, a business leader who had served on many boards, a community leader with fundraising experience, and an IT and materials expert were each a perfect fit. Some worked in the clinic; others were external members. Some represented the patients, some - the donors, and some = the internal needs. All were on board with the mission of caring for those in our community who had fallen through the cracks of healthcare coverage. I was amazed at the empowered wisdom in the collective that helped steer the set-up, the funding, the community support, the hospital resources, the volunteers, and the processes to give excellent care in such a setting – in which we offered both Health and Hope.


I’m still developing my own personal board of directors. Anytime I find a blind spot, I want someone on my team that can help me. Looking over the key members I’ve added – it reminds me of the indigent care clinic board -- in that many individuals lend multiple facets of expertise.


Currently, I have:

  1. A woman who has known me the longest, worked inside and outside of academic medicine, who recently became a coach, and has years of leadership development who asks me poignant questions, reminds me of where I’ve been and what’s important to me, all while encouraging me.
  2. A woman who excels in personal growth and spirituality who isn’t afraid to offer a different perspective.
  3. A woman of color who widens my perspective helps reveal implicit bias and also keeps me grounded spiritually.
  4. A woman who is an expert in business, mindset, and lifestyle accountability. She is also my coach - who I know will always be there with a mirror and a flashlight and help me put on lenses that give clarity when I need that. (Who doesn’t love a good mix of analogies?)
  5. A locally connected woman who really knows me well is unapologetic in differing opinions, but always brings humor, authenticity, and a fresh perspective. And she holds me to the highest clinical standards.
  6. A key representative for balance keeps me from being over-engrossed with projects, so I don’t lose focus on meaningful family interactions.
  7. Two women who offer essential tips in my teaching and approach have years of mental health experience and know me very well.
  8. An academic leader who has known me for years and offers the lens of sustained career wisdom.
  9. Two fellow physician coaches offer unique perspectives from the outside and give clarity.
  10. A new team member who is in charge of my personal finance and long-term financial goal-planning. 


All serve together to keep me focused on Health and Hope.


What areas of your life would benefit by having another perspective from someone with experience and whom you trust? That can serve faithfully toward your mission – representing either your personal interests or the external interests of those you serve? Brené' Brown discusses the importance of diversity at the table and the significance of rumbling without armor to truly excel. After all, in a multitude of counselors, there is wisdom. Choose wisely, but don't neglect the development of your personal board of directors. You will gain insight, grow, make better decisions, and live into your purposefully. 


Have a joy-filled week


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