Aline Carrão 2015 Q&A: Other Questions, Group 1

What kind of training would you like to receive for the position of Board member, if you could get any?

I believe the main points that effective training for board members should cover are OTW structure, committees and tools; board’s responsibilities and role; board’s internal procedures and communication; and an overview of finances, bylaws, and legal and ethical responsibilities related to being in the governance of a nonprofit organization.

The Board originally had 7 members. This number was raised to 9 when we realized 7 members weren’t enough to manage the OTW efficiently, then lowered again to 7 due to low participation. As it stands, this election would bring the Board to a total of 5 members. Considering the number of candidates in these elections and the growth of the org so far, what are your thoughts on the number of Board seats?

I believe the lowering of the number of seats back again may have been a premature move, especially considering that current and past board members have stated that the workload is too much. I also believe that having different parts of the OTW represented in the board is beneficial to the organization. Other than that, it’s hard to do a more informed analysis of what number would be ideal without having experienced board’s day-to-day work. Maybe seven will be enough to achieve a good work distribution; maybe we do need more people. It’s hard to say from the outside without access to the actual workload. Regardless, having only five directors this year will undoubtedly mean a short-staffed board next year.

What do you feel is your responsibility if the Board you are serving on is poised to make a decision that you believe to be ethically or legally questionable? Conversely, how would you respond if one of your fellow Directors raised similar concerns about a decision you supported?

Any kind of decision that could be considered ethically or legally questionable needs to be immediately halted, questioned and reevaluated. This would be a serious breach of the responsibilities one has as a board member, with the potential to jeopardize the entire organization. There are no circumstances under which this should be tolerated.