Rebekah Basinger: How Someone with Aspirations of Becoming a College Professor Became a Renowned Authority in Nonprofit Board Governance

“It’s amazing how step-by-step-by-step when you say ‘yes’ to opportunities that God puts in front of you, you never know where it’s going to take you.” -Rebekah Basinger

When I began to compile a list of guests who could speak with experience and authority on nonprofit board leadership, there are few who are near the top of that list.  You’ll meet one of them today.

Our guest is Dr. Rebekah Basinger.  

I first met Dr. Basinger over 20 years ago when I was asked to conduct a CEO search for an organization on whose board she served. She was a member of the search committee and I have great memories of the strong leadership that she exhibited during that search. I have followed her career since then. 

Thank you for joining us today on the Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership With Tommy Thomas podcast.  

If you’re listening to an app that lets you leave a review, please do so. A lot of our listeners come to us on the recommendation of a friend or a colleague. If you’ve heard something today that’s worth passing on, please share the show with others.  This is an episode that every prospective nonprofit board member should listen to.

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Rebekah Basinger. 

“By the second year, [our] board chair…was ready to leave. And he said, ‘I think you should be the board chair…I see in you the gift of leadership.’ Now, I can’t tell you what a transformational moment that was.” -Rebekah Basinger

Show Notes

[1:40] – We’re introduced to Dr. Rebekah Basinger and learn more about her early background. 

[3:07] – Rebekah loved working with a small team as the Director of Public Relations.

[5:59] – What it was like working with the Lilly Endowment at an early age.

[8:15] – Rebekah shares her first board experience.

[10:25] – Rebekah explains what it takes to be a good board chair and keep people from wanting to leave the room.

[11:55] – What it takes to have a healthy relationship between the board chair and the president, according to Rebekah.

[14:08] – Rebekah addresses when a board chair should serve and when they should leave.

[17:02] – From an organizational perspective, Rebekah sees better board documents, bylaws, and policy manuals than she did 20 years ago.

[19:05] – We hear how nonprofit boards fill the gap during an organizational crisis and whether Rebekah has seen this in her experience. 

[20:55] – The worst habit for a board to break, in Rebekah’s opinion.

[23:19] – These are the mistakes boards typically make when selecting the next president or CEO.

[25:45] – Rebekah believes too many boards don’t know where the organization is going.  

[27:55] – Here’s the advice Rebekah would give someone who thinks they might want to be on a board.

[30:40] – This is why Rebekah is in awe of those that serve on local boards. 

[31:22] – We learn what new board members coming into the board world should be reading. 

[33:08] – Tommy wraps up the conversation.

“If you make a commitment to a board, you are committing to be there because your presence there matters.” -Rebekah Basinger

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters – Website

BoardSource – Website


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