Board meetings – A rough count has me at over 100 of these, sometimes as a Board member and sometimes as someone reporting to a Board. The VCIA’s Board just held its last meeting of 2022, and it is a good time to reflect on similarities and differences.
Similarities – A horseshoe table, a conference phone and water set. And that’s about it!
Differences – Board members calling in from Hawaii at 5:30 in the morning. A view out on to the late fall landscape of Stowe, Vermont. Great catering. But all of those are just superficial. Here are the fundamental differences with how the VCIA Board operated at a marathon 7-hour Board meeting:
Staff are present for everything except Executive Session. With 60+ years of accumulated staff experience their absence would have meant a less informed Board. And please don’t get the impression that staff sat meekly to one side. For a start this isn’t that sort of staff, and secondly the Chair actively sought comprehensive input from all staff members.
Every Board member participated, voiced opinions and created spirited discussion. Clearly, 2022 is shaping up to be very successful for the VCIA operationally and financially. But rather than seek to duplicate and develop, the Board questioned the fundamentals of VCIA operations and how we serve our members in a dynamic and growing market.
Absence of pride. Lots of proposals and ideas were discussed. The originators of those ideas actively participated as their original thoughts were discussed, refined, discarded (occasionally) or adopted.
Participation. Every Board meeting since I have joined has had 100% attendance. This is despite the travel commitment involved or getting up early to join virtually.
The Leadership within the Board meeting. As the Chair position changes to Tracy Hassett from Andrew Baillie there is a continuing clear and effective leadership style from the Chair. Opinions are sought, time is taken to explore options, conversations around critical issues are allowed to develop, but any ‘drift’ is gently addressed. Both the past and current leaders (and I am sure that this applies to past Chairs as well) used their skills to extract productivity and consensus from a diverse group of leaders within the captive industry.
For staff members, it is empowering and enjoyable to be so close to the owners’ representatives through exposure to the Board. For Board members, I would certainly hope that they believe that their Board membership, and they ways that they conduct themselves as a Board provides personal and professional value to them in addition to the altruistic goal of building a stronger VCIA. We all can’t wait to get to work on the Big Pictures Ideas for our association. It starts now!