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Thoughts on Board membership from Martine Combal

July 23, 2013

I first heard about the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) a few years ago when I was looking for affordable art classes. In searching for a place that had a diversity of offerings, I stumbled across CHAW and signed up for “Creative Breakthroughs” a mixed media class that explored different media each week and got you out of your “comfort zone,” which was exactly what I needed and was looking for. When I first walked into CHAW what I found was more than just a place to take classes – it was a place that reminded me of my elementary school growing up, had the same energy, and really was a true community that I hadn’t experienced before in DC.

Several months later I decided to take another class, watercolor this time, and while I was at CHAW saw a notice about a search for Board members. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to the community which was giving me so much in return with their classes. So, I applied to become a Board member. In the process of interviewing with the Executive Director and other Board members, I found another layer to the CHAW community that continued to impress me. The Board at the time and still is diverse, engaging, and fun.

During my first term, I decided to join the Executive Committee and take on a leadership role as an at-large member and then the secretary. This experience has been immensely helpful for me personally as an outlet from work, but also as a place where I can continue to learn about fundraising (which I had never really done before), management, running a business, and the opportunities and challenges of operating a non-profit. There are moments when as a Board member you have to sort through financials and look at budgets, but the rewarding piece is knowing and seeing the success and vibrancy of the events that take place at CHAW and the excitement in the faces of the CHAW students and their families. I’ve signed up for my fourth class at CHAW starting on Wednesday and I cannot tell you how excited I am for it.

Martine Combal, Secretary
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Board of Directors