On Friday, April 17 and Saturday April 18th, USA Badminton's new Board of Directors met, first for a Board Orientation and then for a first Board meeting.
As we walked around through the crowd at Adult Nationals, the three most often asked questions were:
1. The USOC in the past few years reviewed its own governance, adopted new by-laws and restructured the BOD (Board of Directors). Then, a request was made to the NGB's (National Governing Bodies, e.g. USA Badminton) to do the same. Principles included;
Our past Board, not the USOC decided on a fresh start approach of all then current Board members and all past Board members being ineligible. This included negotiation with athlete members who have very specific rights, and their agreement to go with a fresh start. (See the new by-laws for details on eligibility)
The new Board has 3 Independent Directors chosen by the Nominating Committee (see by-laws). These directors include;
Dick Dubose, with no prior knowledge of Badminton, but a wealth of high level financial experience
Michael Halchak, a recent convert as a player (an avid one) but no office at any level, no business dealings at any level with any part of Badminton
David Simon has played a significant role in virtually every major sporting event that has been brought to the Los Angeles area in the last 20 years, but his only association with badminton has been helping host the 2005 World Championships in Los Angeles
The Board has one Director who is an Official and was selected by the Nominating & Governance Committee. Elaine Kong is known to all who play in tournaments and has served at the Olympic level in Athens and Beijing.
The Board has one Coach Director, selected by the Nominating & Governance Committee. Andy Gouw is a Regional Coaching Director of USA Badminton.
The Board has two athletes, elected by their fellow athletes. They serve as members of USA Badminton's new Athlete Advisory Council (AAC). Raju Rai, recent Olympian and past US Adult Singles Champion and Ruth Menchaca, this year's Ken Davidson award winner (Raju was last year's) join the Board. The USAB AAC also includes May Mangkalakiri (our USOC AAC representative) and Howard Bach (USOC AAC alternate, and Kyle Emmerick.
The Board has 2 At Large Representatives. Previously each of the 5 USAB Regions had a representative, and there were several at large representatives. Geoff Stensland is a player for over 34 years , father of a player (Curtis), the owner of a badminton club, and a leader in the Northwest (Seattle) renaissance of Badminton. Fred Coleman is a player for 26 years, father of a player (Jennifer), a Coach, and the chair of USAB Juniors for over 10 years.
So, in short, a strategically redesigned Board, nominated by a committee of the old BOD plus fully independent members, and voted on by various constituencies (see By-Laws) begins the Fresh Start of 2009.
3. What is a Fresh Start? The USOC advised the old BOD on a variety of Best Practices for Governance Issues. This led to a newly drafted set of By-Laws approved by the old BOD. The new Board spent a full day (April 17th) in an orientation session led by Kae Rader in Best Practices for non-profit boards. This included
- Accessibility - both information on the website and the Board members must be appropriately available to the members.
- Financial - The basic financial statements (see By-Laws) and the Budget must be readily available to members.
- Policy - The BOD meeting minutes and votes on policy as well as basic information outlining strategic planning must be available to members.
- Oversight - If issues on which the BOD has oversight responsibility (see By-Laws) are of concern to members, there must be access to the BOD and information about its actions. This may not mean that everyone is in agreement, or everyone is pleased, but it does mean that the needs of all members are valued.
As mentioned the new USA Badminton Board of Directors (BOD) went through an extensive "Best-Practices for Non-Profit Boards Training". One aspect of the training which we began putting into practice at our first BOD meeting was to develop a set of guidelines for voting. These are not a policy. They are not complete, but a work in progress. They recognize the new role of the BOD (see By Laws) as charged with policy, oversight and fiscal accountability. Before a vote is taken we asked ourselves to consider:
In somewhat more detail -