Jessica Steiner – Elections Q&A (Part 3)

9) All candidates’ manifestos mention the rapid growth of the OTW, and therefore the need to grow a better internal infrastructure. What kind of infrastructure are you aiming for? In addition to that, what do you think should be the future role of the OTW Board? Advisory? Executive? Something else?

I believe that every committee needs to form an internal structure that provides back-up for chairs and other important positions as well as having enough members to cover the work that needs to be done. What that looks like for each committee will be different, but I don’t think that any Board member, chair, staffer, or volunteer should feel that they can’t ever take time off or the committee (or entire OTW) will fall apart. I also feel that each chair should have a clear succession plan so that if they do need to leave unexpectedly, there is someone (or, ideally, more than one person) prepared to step into the role.

As for the OTW Board, I think that ultimately it would be best for us to have a body who fulfils the role of an advisory-style Board, doing promotion and networking. However, we will always have a need for an executive-style body. Whether both of those roles would be provided by the Board, or whether the Board would be split in two, or some other structure, I don’t know.

10) If it were up to you alone, what steps and structural changes would you suggest to transition the Board out of doing day-to-day work?

Both the Board and Chairs need some administrative staff, in my opinion. For example, I would recommend the Board have a few staffers associated with them who can handle their calendar, answer emails, and take minutes, etc. Chairs should also have people with these skills who work in a support capacity. I think this alone would relieve a lot of the burden and allow both Board and Chairs to focus on other things. I also believe that the Board’s purview should be more clearly defined, which would help ensure things that they shouldn’t be doing can be more easily identified and delegated to the appropriate people.

11) If you could make one concrete change in the OTW tomorrow, what would you do?

I would send all Chairs and Board members to intensive people and project management training.

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