Why Association Boards Matter
Board dynamics can be challenging if the wrong people are in place. But the right members can help associations out of a bind. That kicked off Bisnow’s conversation Tuesday with three association CEOs at Mio Restaurant. Here’s Part I.
When the Association of American Medical Colleges realized one of its longtime, trusted employees had embezzled millions from the organization, president/CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch immediately engaged the board of directors. He says having an engaged board that was able to move quickly was key to its response strategy. It was the type of situation that could have unraveled other organizations, he adds. The former employee was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution.
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors CEO Susan Waters says her individual member organization has a national council of 1,500 representatives that meets once a year and controls the association's bylaws and how much it charges for dues. The organization also has a 15-person board of trustees and an executive committee of five. Susan says the trick is to balance each committee’s power and responsibilities.
Commercial Spaceflight Federation president Eric Stallmer has been in place two months, so he’s still getting to know his board. He’s focused on building on the organization’s 52 members, companies that do everything from build rockets and spacecraft and mine asteroids (one day), to build spaceports and deliver payloads. The organization is also focused on shaping spaceflight regulations. FAA regulates the things that go into space and how they get there, but it’s a gray area once something is out in space.
Our group included JM Zell president Jeff Zell, Heidrick & Struggles senior advisor Bill Hudson, Eric, EagleBank VP Mary Anderson, Darrell, JM Zell EVP Marc Sobel, and Hedrick & Struggles partner Julian Ha. Big thanks to Heidrick & Struggles, EagleBank, and Mio Restaurant for helping us throw yesterday’s lunch. We’ll have Part II of the conversation in our next issue.