Real Board Solutions - Advising Chief Staff Officers and Board of Directors ||
A Message From Terry


The summer months are traditionally quieter; reduced stress, time to take holidays and enjoy the sunshine with friends and family. So much for a restful stress free summer, as the past few months have been the busiest in my 19 years in our sector, time has flown by and it is already mid-September. In the past month, I have been engaged for 4 executive recruitments. A number of trends seem to have impacted once quiet summer months for not-for-profit leaders. A flux out in the association world due to demographic shifts and legislative and government changes has meant many executives and boards require support. This provides many opportunities for career shifting professionals.

As association executives transition out of and between organizations, positioning is essential in a successful executive director job search. Standing out among numerous applicants and making the most of interview opportunities takes practice and feedback. The subject of this month's newsletter is a 7 step strategy to be remembered, set a fabulous impression and be #1 when the time come for you when searching for the next step in your career.

This week's feature article is to help you when it's time to move on in your career. We all know timing and working an established network bring the best results however not everyone is a great networker. There are also times when you must 'apply' for a position. Continue reading if you want to some quick tips in advancing along your career path. If you are unsure about your next steps we can certainly help.

I would like to welcome Lina Hoffbauer CAE as a new "Associate" at Real Board Solutions. Lina who is originally from Alberta has a professional designation is Association management (CAE). She is a high energy, focused professional with exceptional communication skills.

Terry Clark

PS: Welcome to all the new readers who joined the Real Board Solutions Community this month. Enjoy!

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Feature Article

Our sector is in transition, everyone at senior level is looking for the right opportunity (or should be) Remember you are either making a plan for yourself or you are a part of some one else's plan, it's your choice! Items #1- #7 below are proven steps when the time comes to put your plan into action.

Step #1: Research organizations that are of interest to you. What are your interests and passions? Change is an opportunity to re-evaluate how you have been spending your time and career. Regularly check websites including,, and for association and other non-profit opportunities.

Step #2: Check out their directors; perhaps you know one or could get an introduction to one. Check out your networks! As big as your city or community may seem, you might surprise yourself by finding a single degree of separation on your LinkedIn profile. The correct introduction at the right time may be very helpful. The wrong introduction may end your journey quickly. Be strategic, not sure what to do on this one? Give me a quick call at 1.888.531.5796

Step #3: Preparation for the interview. More research. Look at the organization's programming and services, especially ones that are new to them, perhaps a certification or online training program. Tie it into a short professional example of how you could fit into that and could grasp that program seamlessly. Identify a new program or service they have, become an instant expert (okay maybe not an expert but learn a few 'key words' and be able to intelligently articulate some key points) you will impress them for sure.......

Step #4: Find and review the organization's strategic objectives. Thoroughly review the organization's website. More information than ever is being shared online. Check out their goals and objectives to see how it fits into the organization's vision and mission.

Step #5: Review your resume and cover letter. There was a reason you were selected from many for an interview. Put yourself into the shoes of the screener. What competencies, expertise, and education match their requirements and their current situation? Be prepared to go into further detail regarding these specific points. What problems have you solved using that specific skill set?

Step #6: Based on your research, determine to the best of your ability the culture of the organization and dress appropriately! Select what you wear wisely. Not enough attention is paid to small details such as these. Prepare this ahead of time.

Step #7: Practice for the interview. Record yourself on video. Most computers and phones now have video recording capabilities. Seeing yourself on screen can be just what you need to build self-confidence and observe the way you present yourself. Have a trusted mentor ask you potential questions a hiring committee may ask. Do this over and over until your response flows smoothly.

First impressions are important. Ensure you cover all other bases. Know where you are going for the interview, how you are getting there, where you can park, and ensure that you arrive on time. Make sure to pack a copy of your references (or be ready to email them immediately following) and business cards. Give yourself ample time to review how you can help the organization achieve their goals before entering the interview.

Keep in mind, only one person get the position. It takes perseverance, strategic research and strong preparation and a mentor to provide you with feedback will help you find success on your job search. Contact me to help you with this preparation in your career transition at 1.888.531.5796. Opportunity awaits.

Not sure what you can earn in today's job market? Our next newsletter will feature that, stay tuned.

Your Assignment

Using online research, find three articles outlining different interview styles and questions (Google keywords like 'top executive interview questions', 'non-profit interview questions', etc.). Answer these questions on three separate videos. Ideally, find someone to mock interview you or forward to videos to a mentor for feedback. This may push you out of your comfort zone, which is a good thing! Give yourself an honest rating and re-record until you are happy with the results.

About Terry Clark

Terry J. Clark CAE, the Founder and President of Real Board Solutions is a results-oriented, not-for-profit professional who has a unique background and skill set that volunteer board members and their staff truly appreciate.

For the past 18 years Terry has advised hundreds of not-for-profit Boards of Directors and their senior staff members. As past Executive Director with a high profile business association, Terry has also served as an interim Executive Director with six organizations.

His consulting practice focuses on Board development, strategic planning, operational reviews, executive director compensation and mentorship/coaching. He has provided those services to not-for-profits in virtually every not-for-profit sector in Western Canada, North West Territories, the Yukon and California. He has recently become 'certified' by Directors and Officers Liability Insurance underwriters so that Associations who have taken his board orientation receive a discount on their D&O insurance annual premiums.

Terry is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), a Past Area Governor of Toastmasters International and was educated at the University of British Columbia. He possesses leading-edge Non Profit "best practices" and combines them with real life experiences to provide not-for-profits Boards and their staff with real solutions.

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