I have been thinking a lot about trust lately. Over the past 2 years, in the face of a pandemic, civil unrest and economic uncertainty, we have encountered many situations in which people have expressed doubt and distrust about many things, including government agencies and officials, the media, public health officials, employers, elected leaders and each other. Without a doubt, the resulting chaos and discord have been disheartening to hear and see at times.
Trust has also been top of mind with respect to ASSP. As the Board of Directors discussed governance change with our members over the past year, we encountered some skepticism and doubt about the need and reasons for change. And that was to be expected. Change is never easy, and it is almost always challenged.
And we welcomed those questions. As your Society leaders, it is critical that we actively seek your input, listen to your concerns and openly discuss issues affecting our Society. We also know it is essential that we work with you to develop a common understanding of anticipated outcomes and create clear definitions of the roles and expectations of all involved.
Moving ASSP toward a successful governance change required some difficult conversations among board members, among leaders and with members. But those were essential exchanges because they revealed areas in which the Board of Directors and all elected leaders can work to increase transparency, improve trust, foster true two-way communication and create a shared vision for ASSP’s future.
Over the past few years, the Board of Directors has committed to increasing transparency around its decision-making. In addition to well-established practices such as our annual nominations and committee appointment processes, publishing our annual independent financial audit and posting monthly board updates in the ASSP Community, we use a standard business plan process through which we vet all new projects to ensure alignment with our strategic plan and resources.
We are also working to implement the new Advisory Group and the related new structures and processes created by our governance change. Recruitment for the at-large members of this group is underway and it will become operational July 1. Once the Advisory Group is established and onboarded, we will actively support the group’s actions to execute its work plan; provide guidance and framing to enable the group to work on our next-generation strategic plan; and share monthly communications to ensure mutual understanding and accountability.
We also remain committed to deepening our connections with our volunteer leaders and membership as a whole. We do this in various ways, including active participation in the biannual regional operating committee meetings, regular meetings with our council vice presidents and ongoing outreach to potential future leaders. We also expect to relaunch our virtual Board Connection Series in July to provide another avenue for direct interaction between the board and our members. And we encourage you to connect with any of us in the online ASSP Community.
Through all of these activities, we are working to provide a culture of trust that will encourage more members to actively engage in ASSP and support our ongoing efforts to identify and remove barriers that impede individuals from contributing to our Society. We want ASSP to be an organization where members are excited to provide input and share ideas to help advance our Society and our profession.
You have entrusted us as your elected leaders to guide the Society and ensure its long-term success. To do that effectively, we need you to continue to engage and participate, bring forward concerns and tell us your needs. By working together, we can secure a strong future for ASSP, our members and our great profession.