Fixation on Histology

Important Skills for Volunteering on a Committee or Board


Volunteering your time in today’s world of burn out can feel like one more thing you don’t have time for.  However, volunteering in a professional association, a civic organization or a nonprofit not only allows you to give back but opens up future opportunities you might not even be considering today.  Volunteers build professional and personal networks that better your life.  

While I was a student in the histotechnology program, my program director(s) told me about our state-level professional association, Minnesota Society for Histotechnology (MSH). I began attending meetings and eventually volunteered to be added to their election ballot as a Board Member. This began my journey of professional volunteerism at the state-level. I, am currently serving as the MSH President.  As I began to expand my educational reach, I was introduced to the National Society for Histotechnology (NSH).  My volunteerism at the national-level, led to further leadership and growth opportunities including self-appointed and elected committees.  I have served on a community, civic board as well,  the Forest Lake Human Rights Commission. I served several years on the Commission, as a board member, secretary position, and as chair.

Make the Most of Your Volunteer Experience

To get the most of your volunteer experience here are tips that I can offer on making your time the most enjoyable for you, along with your fellow members:

•    Coming prepared (read agenda, do some research if needed).
•    Keep subject matter (topic of discussion) to agenda schedule.
•    If you have a topic that is not on the agenda, talk with your Chair about getting your topic on the agenda prior to the meeting. This will help with the discussion timeline.
•    Be aware of the amount of time you are actively contributing (talking) at the meeting. This will allow for others to contribute their thoughts and ideas.

Some soft skills that I think are important to serving on a committee or board:

•    Ability to cooperate with others.
•    Have a collaborative mindset.
•    Listening skills.
•    Desire to make a difference.
•    Curiosity and open-mindedness.

Some hard skills that I think are valuable to have:

•    Awareness of time commitment required for committee or board “work."
•    Staying informed on issues that impact the scope of the committee or board.

Organizations are only as strong as the participant members of their board of directors and stakeholders. Sharing of your time and experiences can help an organization to continually grow and stay sustainable into the future. 

Considering Volunteering? 

Does your state have a local histology organization?  Check here

Information regarding NSH volunteer opportunities can be found at on the website

Want to get involved locally?  Try websites like, or

I am always happy to share my experiences and mentor those curious about joining a committee or board.  Comment below with your questions or DM me via The Block

Written By: Jeannette Wallen, MBA, HT(ASCP)CM, QIHC (ASCP)