Board Meeting Minutes: 05 October 2014


5 October 2014, 9:00 EDT

PRESENT: Andrea Horbinski, Anna Genoese, Cat Meier, Eylul Dogruel, sanders

OTW STAFF PRESENT: Betsy Rosenblatt, Rebecca Tushnet, Hana Lee, Elliot Oberholtzer, Gryph, Jessica Steiner, M. J. MacRae, Niko Thompson, Michelle Dong, Curtis Johnson, Tianrui Li

1. SP presented evidence on org wide themes

• lynchpins + training + onboarding + retention

• tools

1. better volunteer management

2. project management

3. tools that are not frustrating like current Abuse & Support ticket tracker

• culture/identity + online communication + intercommittee communication

• siloing + committee mission/purview confusion

2. Group brainstormed possible suggestions to address common themes:

Intercommittee communication

• Possible suggestion: a standard project management workflow for committees to follow

• Possible suggestion: other standard policies for when and how to consult committees with a broad support role being made available to all staff upon induction

• possible goal: many committees have solved this issue with liaison systems (but liaisons do not work for every committee)

• possible goal: chairs developing stronger working relationships, chair developing ability to share staff skills/knowledge

• possible goal: handbook or set of procedures for new workgroups and cross-committee projects?

• possible goal: chains of command and communication need to be set out clearly in advance

• possible goal: For smaller projects that don’t require a workgroup: Procedure for ensuring committees who have a potential link to a project are informed earlier in the process

• possible goal: Some kind of procedure for when a committee is interested in taking on a new project that may or may not be in their purview

Org structure

• Overview of specifc committees' purviews based on the feedback the committees provided to SP about their purview

• let's try to draw an org chart

• Possible suggestion: Develop organizational chart in consultation with committees to clearly define purview

• Possible suggestion: clarification of OTW's committee structure

Volunteer training/retention/recruitment

• Possible suggestion: a standard on-boarding procedure that provides information about the OTW and standard OTW-wide policies as part of VolCom's induction processes

• Possible suggestion: Develop an OTW handbook on the wiki with materials all staffers should know so they can be easily referenced

• Possible solution: shadowing or mentoring systems where new staff are paired with veteran staff • possible goal: Improvement of procedures to get new recruits up to speed and involved quickly

• possible goal: targeted recruitment of other individuals with same skills

• Possible solution: consult experts in online communication to develop better communication procedures?

• Possible solution: committees should be explicit up front about time and work requirements so that potential recruits are aware of what the expectations will be

• possible goal: targeted recruitment of staff for specific volunteer management roles (if deemed necessary)

• possible goal: similar volunteer onboarding, training and management procedures across AD&T, QA&T, Translation, Wiki/Fanlore and Tag Wrangling; similar training for chairs

• possible goal: mentorship systems for new staff and volunteers and personnel • possible goal: prioritize training of other individuals in same skills and document knowledge/experience/institutional memory to reduce reliance


• Possible solution: chairs developing more management skills in terms of setting clear, concrete tasks with deadlines, planning for regular follow-ups/check-ins, remaining aware of staff capabilities and delegating appropriately

• Possible solution: Meetings should have clear agendas, minutes, and action items with set follow-ups and deadline

• Possible solution: implementing regular committee meetings and chair training on how to run effective meetings

• possible goal: increase networks and decrease silos in between org committees so that other committees’ staff can function as backup redundancy systems (e.g. for management expertise when needed)

• possible goal: chair training and possibly other techniques to increase staff engagement (rewards? kudos?)

• Possible solution: committees should carefully assess their work processes and culture and recruit for individuals that fit (not just individuals that have requisite skills and background)

3. Begin drafting org goals which SP will adapt into proposed plan

• Review of procedure

1. Goals should be:

⁃ Specific

⁃ Measurable

⁃ Audacious

⁃ Concrete

⁃ Integrity, i.e. the goals should be in line with how the org functions and the org’s mission

⁃ Set goals over the course of 36 months for six month increments

⁃ Phrase in present tense statements (i.e. "In a year I have a dog" instead of "in a year I will have a dog")

⁃ Not all goals may end up being achieved (e.g. only 50% of the one year goals)

⁃ Goals don't need to have a success-failure binary, we can celebrate success if we only achieve part of a goal

2. Goals are written on large post-it and put on the timeline so that suggestions on a realistic deadlines.

• Possible Goals the group brainstormed based on the SP data that had been reviewed over the course of the retreat:

1. Six months

⁃ Admin support for Board

⁃ Purview statement for Board

⁃ Document chair roles and requirements

⁃ Org-wide basic chair training

⁃ External training for committees that can use it

⁃ Dispute system in place

2. 12 months

⁃ Mentor program for chairs set-up

⁃ Map org structure

⁃ Chair support plan for each committee

⁃ Skills labs

⁃ Uniform process for project management

⁃ Fanlore-dedicated design staff

⁃ Fanlore-dedicated support staff

⁃ Plan for coalition building with ally orgs

⁃ Contested elections

3. 18 months

⁃ Consistent meeting minutes for each committee

⁃ Wiki pages for committees’ everyday and essential processes

⁃ Committee plans for staff/volunteer engagement

⁃ Revamp

⁃ Tool review and research

4. 24 months

⁃ Restructure Board

⁃ Org-wide self-assessments

⁃ Chair training plans complete

I. Succession plans

II. Recruitment plans

⁃ Coalitions with three external orgs

5. 30 months

⁃ Training plan for Board in place

⁃ Org handbook

⁃ Admin staff for committees

⁃ Org-wide external staff training plan

6. 36 months

⁃ Executive Board and Advisory Board

⁃ Board succession plan in place

⁃ Each drive raises $100K

• These goals are broadly meant to accomplish:

⁃ Leadership development

⁃ Staff retention ⁃ Improved documentation

⁃ Staff training and development

⁃ Close gaps in structure

⁃ Enhance the OTW's communication strategy

⁃ Sustainable finances

⁃ Fostering a culture of trust and forgiveness

⁃ Improve cross-committee collaboration

⁃ Internationalization

• SP will put the brainstormed goals together into a draft plan, which the retreat group will meet to review in the next two weeks

• SP will then bring the draft plan to the entire org for feedback, suggestions, and additional input based on the implementation plan Board already approved

4. Each person present shared their final thoughts and feelings about the retreat.


The meeting was adjourned at 16:00 EDT.

Minutes approved by the Board on 19 October 2014.

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