Andrea Horbinski 2015 Q&A: Conflict of Interest

How would you define the term “conflict of interest” and how might it apply to you while serving on the Board?

Generally speaking, a conflict of interest arises when a Board member has a significant interest or potential significant interest (which is to say, potential benefit) in a decision that the Board is making: this could either be short or long-term, and is usually defined as financial interest. Currently, Board members are required to disclose any current or potential conflicts of interest when they join the Board and update their disclosures annually, and they are required to disclose when they have such a conflict of interest and to abstain from voting on such matters. The OTW’s conflict of interest policy is publicly available (skip to “Part V, Line 5a”); I have abided by it during my term on the Board and will continue to do so.

Given that some of you intend to keep your other Org positions, how do you intend to deal with conflicts of interest when matters arise which impact your committee?

a. For example, if your committee wants to implement a change which requires Board approval, but is not necessarily in the OTW’s best interests, or would have an impact on another committee, how would you ensure that your contribution to the Board’s decision reflected your position as a Board member and not your personal opinion as a member of the committee?

b. Conversely, if another committee sought Board approval for something that would impact your own committee, how would you ensure that you were giving their arguments a fair hearing?

I’m not presently serving on any other OTW committees, and don’t intend to do so; I’ve found the workload to be just too much to make that feasible while fulfilling my responsibilities as a director, which legally have to come first. By the same token, I do want to note that a director consciously failing to act in accordance with their judgement of the best interests of the OTW as a whole would be violating their responsibilities to the organization.