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How to integrate board work into your career

Written on Sep 23, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Joining a board can not only benefit your career but also provide an opportunity to give back to a cause you care about deeply, said OSCPA’s Board Chair Lori Kaiser, CPA.

“You want it to really be important to you, because otherwise it's just another meeting,” said Kaiser, founder and CEO of Kaiser Consulting. “The best thing to do is to just show interest in an effort, reach out, ask them how you can help.”

Professionals looking to serve on a board should consider if they’re more interested in a nonprofit or corporate board. Kaiser said nonprofit boards can be a great way to give back to a cause you care about and learn new skills you aren’t exposed to at your day job.

“The nonprofits benefit because a lot of times, they can use some more CPA skill sets,” Kaiser said. “CPAs can jump in and help with cash flow forecasting and projections.”

Corporate boards are usually more of a time commitment, Kaiser said, but can be ideal for sharing your career knowledge of strategy and fiduciary responsibility.

Board work is also an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to different professionals, such as attorneys, marketers, and those in operations who you might otherwise not have a chance to get to know.

While joining a board is an additional time commitment, it can be done for even the busiest of professionals. Kaiser said keeping a detailed calendar is key to keeping track of board meetings and her responsibilities of her role at Kaiser Consulting.

If joining a board doesn’t fit into your life right now but is something you’d like to explore in the future, Kaiser suggested looking to join a committee first. It’s a lesser amount of responsibility and helps you see how an organization is run before fully committing.

In fact, Kaiser joined the Women’s Initiative Committee at the Society first and was later approached to be on the board.

“My company is highly women-centric, and I was excited about helping people reenter the CPA profession after they've been home raising families or taking a break from their career,” she said. “So that was a great place for me to kind of jump into The Ohio Society of CPAs and then I eventually joined the Executive Board.”

Hear more from Lori Kaiser, CPA, in a recent podcast episode on her goals as Executive Board chair.