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Grateful to Serve

May 17, 2020

I recently woke up at 3:00 AM with my mind racing about the upcoming board meeting scheduled for later that day via video conference.

As I lay in bed, I heard Fergus, our 15-year-old Scottish terrier, snoring away on the floor beside our bed. It would not be long before his 5:30 AM wake-up bark telling me he wanted to go outside. I needed to get back to sleep.

That day’s upcoming board meeting was the culprit that was keeping me awake. As a volunteer on a government agency board, I was aware that lots was going on. The government had announced impending funding cuts across all agencies to help pay for COVID-19 expenses. There was no clear direction to help us determine what to preserve and what to prune. The management team and the staff were understandably wary about layoffs, and we had fearful clients not knowing whether there would be funding available to continue their work.

With a board comprised of current and new government appointees, board leadership was unsure what to expect. How would we get to consensus on where to make the cuts? In my mind, we needed to align our decision-making with our core purpose and think about what was best for the good of the whole.


Feeling Grateful

For some unknown reason, the thought came into my head to feel grateful that I had the tools to serve. I had this covered. I knew as vice-chair of this board, I could support my chair and fellow board members by preparing well for the meeting.

I had my PREP Guide. I knew the issues. I had considered my key questions. I was not only prepared; I was ready to provide a perspective that I knew could make a difference if needed.

Then the key moment … a wave of peace and relaxation came over me when I found myself feeling grateful for the governance skills I had developed over the years to deal with precisely this kind of board discussion. I was ready for this.

I was also grateful for the opportunity to serve. I felt a sense of readiness, of knowing I was prepared.

I then fell back into a deep sleep.

Until 5:45 AM ... Bark! Bark! 

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Thank you.


Scott Baldwin is a certified corporate director (ICD.D) and co-founder of – an online hub with hundreds of guideline questions and resources to help prepare for your next board meeting.


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