Anne Wallestad shared her thoughts on the board’s role in protecting an organization’s people from sexual misconduct in today’s issue of the Nonprofit Quarterly. We summarize her thoughts here but encourage you to read It’s Time for Nonprofit Boards to Have a Conversation About Sexual Misconduct in full on the NPQ website.
As countless individuals come forward to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, it has become evident that the nonprofit sector is not immune to the issue at hand.
When it comes to the board’s role in staff oversight, many like to point out that the board has exactly one employee: the chief executive. While true in many ways, this sentiment obscures the fact that the board has a very important role in providing leadership and oversight of the entire organization, including protecting one of its most important resources—its people. That is a serious responsibility that calls on boards to go beyond compliance-driven policies and think more deeply about how to cultivate an organizational culture that refuses to tolerate harassment or exploitation of any kind.
Boards should therefore be asking themselves:
- Are we doing enough to provide leadership and guidance to the staff?
- What do we know about how our chief executive is leading the staff, and how do we know it?
- How are we — as a board — ensuring that we are not part of the problem?
For a more thorough breakdown of these three questions, read It’s Time for Nonprofit Boards to Have a Conversation About Sexual Misconduct in full.