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Meet Sara: Chairman of the Board

This article is part of a new 2022 series on Livlyhood featuring women working in the political arena. Go here to read more.

I’m Sara Urquhart and I love working on non-profit boards.

My entry into board work was through the slippery slope of the arts. Arts organizations are an easy place to start. They bring beauty to the world, often to children. That ticks two of my boxes. There are few emergencies in the arts. It feels good, you can make a difference, and there aren’t many pressures.

But then I discovered I love working on boards. I love the organization of it. I love the connection I had with my fellow board members. I love the problem solving. And I love making my community better. I love that many boards have me rubbing shoulders with community leaders and policy makers.

For me arts boards led to boards that assist the underserved. I’m drawn to boards that serve single mothers, children, women, and vulnerable communities. I wish to be a voice to the voiceless. I choose to ease the burden of those carrying too much. I yearn to provide where people have needs.

The next time you walk around St. George, Utah, and see the countless sculptures sprinkled throughout the downtown area, you will see they are part of a program called Art Around the Corner. I did that.

Or maybe you visit the newly renovated Salt Lake Acting Company. While enjoying the show, remember me and know that I sit on that board.

When you hear about the local police shooting an unarmed teen in the midst of a mental health crisis, know that CIT Utah is working to create teams of people who can respond to these crises with weapons holstered and deescalation tactics in place. Know that people are trying to make this horror better, I sit on that board.

As you see the changing skyline of your city, understand that people volunteer countless hours learning about new buildings, design projects, and neighborhoods. They work to better the community. Planning commissions are usually volunteer positions. I sit on the SLC Planning Commission.

When you hear of a child coming out to his mother as LGBTQ, realize there is a program that offers support to the mother. Mama Dragons is a community that helps mothers navigate the unknown of what a coming out can mean. Amongst the unknowns we do know that a mother who can love her child without fear or shame can help a child grow to be fierce and strong. I sit on that board.

If you hear of illegal drugs being used in healing and therapies, understand that some there are groups working to make this mainstream. These plant medicines provide curative properties that mend heart and mind that were broken through traumas. The Divine Assembly is one of these communities, I sit on that board.

My history includes so many other boards and so many other causes that I still love to this day.

As women, we are often taught to give of our time for little or no compensation. I will admit, this kind of thinking is what moved me into board work. But after years of this work, I am grateful that I can use my growing expertise to help causes that make my community better.

If you have a little time and want to offer yourself, do a little digging and find a board that ticks your boxes. Every non-profit is in need of a more helping hands. And don’t worry about the things you can’t do. A healthy board will have a variety of members and everybody does a small part. It is not your job to do it all. But what you will learn is you can do more than you thought.

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