Katarina Harju 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 think all Board members should have some training, at least, because it would help new Board members be effective as soon as possible, instead of trying to figure things out as they go along. I believe that some sort of overview of the whole OTW should be offered, because of course all Directors are familiar with the organization, but depending on what committees Directors have served on, their view of the OTW might be partial. They are not likely to be acquainted with all projects and ongoing major discussions and efforts. There should also definitely be some training on finances; not every Board member needs to be an expert on the matter, but they do need to know the basics of how to read financial reports and have discussions about finances. Of course Board members should also receive training on what their roles and responsibilities are in their new position, which would be helped by having clear policies, in addition to the bylaws and the applicable laws, on what those responsibilities are.

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?

Considering the fact that I have witnessed Board members mention that there is a lot of work expected of them, and the undeniable truth that currently a lot of projects tend to get stalled when they go to Board for approval, I’m not entirely convinced that reducing the number of seats at this time was the best move. If there was reason to reduce the number of Directors to seven, then this was still not the best time to do it, as it now means that there will be one year with only five directors. Since the OTW seems to still be growing, I don’t think that having only five Board members in office is the best thing for the organization at this time.

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?

It would of course be my duty to bring attention to the matter and argue for what I believe is right and best for the organization and its stakeholders. If the situation was reversed and such concerns were brought forth about something I supported, I would have to re-examine my own position on the matter and go through all relevant information until I could satisfactorily determine if the concerns were valid. I would not go through with the decision without having considered the issue, and if it turned out that the concerns were valid then I would have to recant my previous position.

Board should of course also consult the Legal committee on any issue like this. I think, generally speaking, having discussions as openly as possible, in view of the rest of the organization, should invite more viewpoints and hopefully help to prevent such situations from arising.