4 Things I’ve Learned from My Board Experience

As a lawyer, mother of young kids, and lifelong learner, I’ve taken on the gratifying commitment of becoming a Fed Fellow. I wanted to get more involved in the Bay Area Jewish community, learn about what it means to be on a board, and take on a leadership role at an organization that I am passionate and excited about. I’ve lived on the Peninsula for over ten years and have seen, first-hand, how challenging it can be to find likeminded people in similar stages of life. I view Fed Fellows as a chance to begin building that foundation with a group of diverse individuals.

Photo courtesy of Camp Ramah Galim of NorCal

Having attended Jewish camp, I’m aware of the power this experience had on developing my Jewish connection and pride. It was a natural fit for me to paired with Camp Ramah Galim of NorCal to sit on their board—which has been an enriching and engaging opportunity.

Inspired by being graciously welcomed to their table, I’ve compiled four tips for both new and seasoned board members:

  1. Find a board mentor who is a good fit for you. Set up mechanisms to connect, such as a 15-minute chat the day after every board meeting. Use that time to ask questions, share thoughts and concerns, and get to know them.
  2. Raise your hand, not just to offer solutions, but to ask questions. This can be done within the larger group setting, but also privately. More often than not, a question you raise may help others get clarity on the topic of discussion and foster more debate to reach the best decision for an organization.
  3. Explore sub-committee opportunities, if available. If you are interested in finance, join the finance committee! Or the scholarship committee! Or the personnel committee! Sub-committees offer opportunities for deeper exploration of particular areas of an organization.
  4. Offer your personal skills. Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on the financial support of their board members, but also on the personal and professional skills they bring to the table. So if you’re a Google tools whiz, and you see the board president sending out meeting invitations manually, let them know that you can help with their productivity by setting up a Google Group to accelerate their process.

With thanks to the Federation, Camp Ramah Galim of NorCal’s leadership team, and my mentor, Danny Bernstein, I’m excited to learn, engage, and contribute during the remainder of my Fed Fellows experience.

With a goal of educating participants in nonprofit decision-making, cultivating relationships, and promoting a sense of belonging for up to 20 individuals, Fed Fellows empowers the next generation of Jewish leadership. Applications will open in Spring 2023.


March 16, 2023


Michelle Morad