Positioning ASSP for Success
To keep ASSP strong in a rapidly changing world, our governance model must provide business agility and create clear decision-making accountability while creating a year-round opportunity for member voice to inform and influence Society decisions.
Over the past year, we have been reminded of how unpredictable events can cripple organizations not designed to respond quickly in a crisis. To be successful, we must adapt to modern environments. Evolving from an outdated governance model to knowledge-based systems will enable ASSP to function reliably in today’s world, stay competitive, remain valuable to members and maintain our position as a global occupational safety and health leader. This evolution will secure a successful, sustainable future for ASSP.
ASSP Governance in Review
Governance is at the core of our business. These structures and systems dictate what we can do, how we can do it and how fast we can do it. Because of their importance, we must regularly review these governance elements and identify opportunities for change and improvement.
As the global pandemic arose in early 2020, the Board of Directors recognized a fundamental shift in our business landscape. In response, we established three key goals that are critical to the Society’s short-term business stability and our long-term sustainability.
1. Meet plan and manage cash.
2. Grow and align our products and services with stakeholders’ key needs.
3. Enhance governance to meet current and future needs of members, customers and the safety profession.
The third goal aligns with our ongoing efforts to continuously evolve the Society’s governance. Doing so enables us to improve efficiencies, maximize our limited resources and generate new opportunities for member engagement. A brief review of our recent history provides insights on our progress.
In 2014, ASSP members approved a governance change, the Society’s first in more than 20 years. The changes signaled a shift to developing a leadership mindset that is representative of the entire profession and focused on providing the greatest member value.
That was the beginning of our efforts to continuously improve ASSP operations, policies and culture. It focused the Board of Directors on governing ASSP’s strategic direction, staff on operating and managing the association, and volunteers on providing expertise and leading committees and various member communities.
In 2018, we changed our name from American Society of Safety Engineers to American Society of Safety Professionals. This change reflected our desire to be more inclusive of the diverse community of individuals who endeavor to protect people, property and the environment.
Continuing our efforts to be more diverse and inclusive, while also advancing equity across all aspects of our Society, we formed a board-level Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force in 2020. This group developed a framework to help ASSP integrate DEI across our culture, organizational policies and practices and business operations. This framework further highlights changes needed in our current governance structure to remove barriers to engagement, elevate member voice and increase diversity of thought.
2021 Governance Task Force
In January, we formed a governance task force who have guided the development of the recommended strategy and action plan to modernize the Society’s governance.
Our task force guided the development of the recommended strategy and action plan to modify the Society’s systems and structures so ASSP can make business decisions more swiftly and deliver member value more efficiently. Their work was informed by research and insights from member and staff experience and external expertise.
The members of the task force were Lindsay Bell, Wyatt Bradbury, Abby Ferri, Lori Frederic, Matt Herron, Monique Parker, Jose Perez, Rick Pollock, Kathy Seabrook and Royal Willard, a group of members who represent our diverse member community in many ways. Brad Giles, 2020-21 President-Elect, and Christine Sullivan, 2020-21 Senior Vice President, co-chaired the task force. Deb Roy, 2020-21 President, and CEO Jennifer McNelly were ex-officio members.
Recommended Governance Change
For ASSP, modernizing governance to strengthen its future and increase member voice involves a transition from a House of Delegates to an at-large advisory group, empowering the Board of Directors to fully govern the Society.
This evolution would transition ASSP from an antiquated structure and resolve the division of authority between the Board of Directors and House of Delegates so the board can truly meet its fiduciary responsibilities. Viewed through the lens of continuous improvement, this action will enable ASSP to operate more efficiently, provide greater opportunities for member engagement and create a stronger Society.
Advantages of the proposed ASSP governance system are many:
- The voice of ASSP membership would be more easily heard with increased opportunities to engage.
- Greater diversity of thought would improve the Society’s decisions and guidance on a wide range of issues.
- Following association management best practices would allow the Board of Directors to be driven by credible data, market research and vital year-round counsel from the at-large advisory group and other engaged members.
- ASSP’s checks and balances, which include legal, accounting and other regulations, would remain strong, ensuring resources continue to be managed effectively for maximum member benefit.
- The Society would gain the ability to swiftly act on new market opportunities, implementing programs and solutions much faster than today’s cumbersome process.
Evolving our governance to create an agile infrastructure maximizes ASSP’s potential, secures our future and delivers high member value.
Task Force Recommendation Report
Be Heard: Share Your Voice
We want to hear your thoughts, questions and concerns about this proposed governance change.
Share your feedback
Please visit this webpage regularly for the latest information. It will continue to be the source of a range of content, including FAQs informed by your feedback and details on upcoming engagement and dialogue sessions on the governance recommendation.
- Board Connection Series: Join your elected leaders at 1 p.m. CT on Tuesday, June 1, for a 45-minute discussion, "Repositioning ASSP for Success." Learn about the critical need for ASSP to modernize its structure and increase member voice.