The growth on Impact 100 chapters is accelerating at a remarkable pace. People often want to know the first step in starting an Impact 100 chapter in their community. The answer is always the same: Success rises and falls on leadership. Assemble a great team and get to work.

Be intentional about diversity:

It is vital to attract a strong, diverse board to lead the effort. Your Impact 100 board is a working team of volunteers who will need to attract women across your defined geography of all ages, backgrounds and interests. The best way to do that, is to populate your board with capable women from all regions and walks of life. As you build your board remember that the Founding President/Co-President(s) need to be strong and capable enough to rally this team toward the goals ahead.

Skills and network:

You will need very particular skills on your founding board (and beyond). To begin, think of each Focus Area (Education, Environment, Health & Wellness, Family, and Arts & Culture). Your board will need an expert in each area to chair these committees. You’ll also need a Treasurer, a Secretary (often with excellent database management skills). Someone to lead the Marketing/Communications team. Of course, you will need a strong membership Recruiting Chair and a Membership Engagement Chair. Event planning skills are also important. You will need someone to lead the grants process and someone to manage the website and newsletter. Ideally, also recruit someone who is great at board governance (she’s the one who will be sure your bylaws and articles of incorporation are all completed appropriately).

Remember as you read through this list of talents that some women will have multiple skills, while some roles may require co-chairs or even tri-chairs in order to be fully effective. Of course, your board should NOT all be in the same friend group or shared demographic. Ideally, each board member should bring a broad and diverse network.

If you are wondering just how big a board I am suggesting, I can give Traverse City as an example. We just launched with 23 board members. As busy as each of us has been, I do not think anyone thought this board was too big! Many hands make light work.