Board Portals Simplify Meeting Preparation

No more printing hundreds of pages of board books, then reprinting them when last-minute changes crop up. Board portals allow board administrators or corporate secretaries to input board materials into the portal, and notify board members through the portal that they’re ready. Last-minute changes are more manageable.

Have a Plan for Adopting Board Portal Usage

It’s not as simple as switching to a board portal and forgetting about it. Fortunately, a board portal that’s easy to use should lead to wide adoption, even among board members who aren’t tech-savvy. This also enables board members, who likely have other jobs and responsibilities, to devote less time learning the new system. 

The Right Portal Leads to More Engagement

The easier the board materials are to access, the more likely board members are to view and review them. This leads to a more engaged and more effective board. In addition, board members won’t need to contact an administrator to access files — they’ll be readily available in the portal.

Webinar Recap: June Holaday, assistant vice president and assistant to the president at Chelsea Groton Bank and Chelsea Groton Foundation Secretary, shares how OnBoard has transformed the way her team’s board meetings.

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A strong board is essential to the success of any financial institution. But in the world of finance, preparing for and executing effective, efficient board meetings can be chaotic.

This is a reality June Holaday, Assistant Vice President and Assistant to the President at Chelsea Groton Bank and Chelsea Groton Foundation Secretary, knows all too well. When she joined the bank six years ago, she knew something had to be done to streamline board operations.


Recently, Holaday sat down with Sean Larkin, Account Executive at OnBoard, to share how her organization has successfully streamlined preparation in the finance board room. They discussed:

  • The role of a board portal in simplifying both board and committee meetings
  • How a board portal can help financial institutions save time and resources 
  • How to get directors on board with digital board management – regardless of their technology level


Here, we share key takeaways from this session.

A Board Portal Simplifies Meeting Preparation

When Holaday joined Chelsea Groton Bank six and-a-half years ago, the company didn’t use a board portal. “Everything was paper,” she explained.”

Everyone would send their board materials to Holaday, and she would compile them into paper board books. “These board books were 300+ pages,” she said.

Last-minute changes and additions meant the board book would need to be reprinted.

Three years ago, Chelsea Groton Bank made the switch to digital board management and started using OnBoard. This switch has made it a much easier to prepare for board meetings. 

“Everyone has a deadline. They know they have to get me their materials a week and a day prior to the board meeting,” explained Holaday. “Once I have everything, I put it all in the portal.”

Holaday posts materials one week prior to the board meeting, and she uses a feature in OnBoard to notify board members. “They’re getting their email notification that everything is ready for them. They’re at a point now where they wait for that.”

Of course, last-minute changes still happen. But they’re a lot easier to manage with OnBoard. “If something needs to be changed prior to the meeting, I can make that swap and send out another notification,” said Holaday. “The ease of all the drag-and-drop is game-changing.” 

A Board Portal Also Streamlines Committee Meetings

In addition to using OnBoard for full board meetings, Chelsea Groton Bank also uses the portal for its committee meetings.

“The preparation [for both types of meetings] is pretty similar,” said Holaday. “There’s an agenda for every committee meeting, as there would be for a board meeting. Then, we upload materials for each agenda item.”

However, Holaday and team use the portal in a unique way after committee meetings – especially for the loan committee. “Every loan that gets approved needs to be signed off on by the chair of the committee,” she explained. “I can post each of the loans and put the signature block where we need it. The committee chair can then go in and sign off on each one. Then, I can download that document and feed it off to the people who need to take the next action on it.”

In addition, Holaday posts minutes to be reviewed by all committee members, which they can vote on using OnBoard’s voting feature. Then, she prints off the results of the vote to keep for auditing purposes. 

A Central Repository is Key

The board at Chelsea Groton Bank deals with a lot of documents. In the past, Holaday would save these documents on her computer. “That’s not really helpful for anyone but me,” she said.

If a director needed a specific document for audit or reference purposes, they would call or email her – and she’d find and send what they needed. 

Today, Holaday uses the resource section of OnBoard to house these documents. “Everything’s right there,” she explained. They don’t have to call or email me. It’s like a library for them.”

Increasing Adoption Must be a Priority

The right board portal can streamline the work of the board. But in order to see the full benefit, you must ensure all your board members are actually using it. 

This seems simple enough. But it can be challenging to get directors on board with new technology. This is especially true for seasoned directors.

Holaday has found OnBoard’s ease of use has led to wide adoption – even among directors who aren’t tech-savvy.

“Our board consists of eight people of varying ages and varying technology levels,” she explained. “We provide an iPad to each board member with the OnBoard app. I created a short tutorial to walk them through the platform. Using the iPad and the app is really easy for them. There’s really a small learning curve – if any at all.” 

The Right Board Platform Increases Board Engagement

Board members are busy people. Holaday has found that OnBoard makes it easier for Chelsea Groton Bank’s directors to become active, engaged participants. 

“It’s easy to come to a board meeting,” Holaday said. “Directors don’t have to lug around a ream of paper anymore. They like having the ability to look at documents before walking into the board meeting.”

Board members can access meeting materials a week in advance through OnBoard. This gives them the opportunity to dive in and ask questions prior to the meeting. As a result, directors arrive prepared – and ready to take action. 

“These board members have ‘real jobs’ during the day,” said Holaday. “This is not their primary focus. If we can make it more pleasant and easier for them to do, it’s going to be a lot better for everyone in the long run.” 

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