As young professionals many of us have volunteered or have given a financial contribution to a local not for profit or charity. However, how many of you have thought of becoming a volunteer member of a Board of Directors? I was in my mid-twenties when I first became a volunteer board member and now six years later, I am now coming to the close of my second three-year term on the Head Start Community Program of Morris County.
I did not know what to expect when I walked into my first board meeting. I recall I was the youngest person in the room, but I knew my professional experience in public accounting would add an additional prospective and expertise when called upon. I also did not know at the time just how beneficial this experience would be, as it gave me an opportunity to learn and give back to the community in a way quite different than my day to day work life.
During my time on the board I was able to gain a different perspective that I likely would not have obtained otherwise this early on in my professional career. Working in public accounting you have the opportunity to manage your own jobs and budgets. However, it is rare to have the opportunity to make decisions that could change the direction of your firm. Being on a Board of Directors you become a member of a team that can very well change the direction of the organization.
In addition to helping make critical decisions, you obtain first-hand experience of the types of challenges that your clients might be dealing with. One example in recent years would be the constant increases in health care premiums from year to year. As part of the Board, we work as a team to analyze our options and hopefully make the best decision for the organization and its employees as a whole.
In addition to helping shape an organization for both the present and the future, I have had the opportunity to meet and serve with some pretty amazing people that care so deeply about the organization and its mission. Although there are too many people to name, joining the board has helped me expand my network and get the opportunity to meet and work with the Morris County Head Start staff, mayors, teachers, CFOs, and even a Super Bowl Champion. In addition, I have also had the opportunity to meet some of the children and parents that directly benefit from the program, which make volunteering that much more rewarding.
Becoming a Board Member of the Morris County Head Start was one of the best decisions that I have made thus far in my professional career. My experiences as a board member, past president and vice president, are special and something which you can never truly understand until you experience it firsthand. That is why I invite you to take that leap to become actively involved as a member of a Board and make a difference.
Daniel M. Grant, CPA is a Manager at Meisel, Tuteur & Lewis, P.C. In addition to his volunteer work with Head Start, Dan is a mentor to an NJSCPA scholarship recipient. He received Honorable Mention in NJSCPA’s “30 Under 30” recognizing young professionals who are making a name for themselves in the New Jersey accounting landscape and beyond.