Ten things for board members to remember

Filed Under: About AIGA , governance

The nominating committee of the board has requested that we emphasize the ten most important things for a new board member to keep in mind if he or she is going to meet the expectations of the position and avoid transgressions of the written or unwritten rules for AIGA governance.

  1. Consider what is best for the membership as a whole; don’t simply reflect your own sensibilities. You are a steward of the trust, which means that the junior designer making $24,000 per year in Oklahoma City is an important benchmark for your considerations. The honor is to serve and set a model for others. The gratification will result from seeing what we have done together to advance a noble profession.
  2. Demonstrate that we are not a club of cronies, but a fair, equitable and consistently managed professional association that will treat every new member with the same respect as older members receive. Don’t expect preferential treatment—no free registrations for events, no free passes for employees, students or friends, no slipping friends to the head of the line.
  3. Set an example by participating in AIGA events at the national and the local levels. Be available to members. Conduct one webcast that is broadcast nationally in the AIGA Voices series.
  4. Always mention AIGA awards and positions first in your list of accomplishments when you prepare a bio for an event or publication; help us increase the visibility of AIGA.
  5. Do not make commitments on AIGA’s behalf. You can listen carefully and convey to the executive director comments you have heard. Only the executive director can commit the organization.
  6. You may encourage sponsors to participate, but must not make commitments to sponsors that are inconsistent with our sponsorship guidelines nor seek exemptions to our guidelines on their behalf.
  7. During the course of your three-year term, you are expected to participate in AIGA membership at the Trustee or Design Leader level as a role model for others.
  8. You should voice your opinion on issues at board meetings and seek to prevail on the discussion of issues. Once the board decides an issue by majority vote, you are expected to support the decision enthusiastically outside the boardroom. A board that sends mixed signals is simply a distraction to the progress we need to make on behalf of the profession. A board resolution must be passed by the board to be directive; an expressed opinion by a single board member in a meeting is not binding.
  9. Currently, AIGA does not reimburse board members for travel or hotel expenses. Even when resources have been available, AIGA has reimbursed air travel for meetings of the board of directors at 75 percent of the cost of the lowest available coach fare or $500, whichever is lower, usually on the expectation of an overnight stay.
  10. The client for all AIGA programmatic activities, including design materials, is the executive director, who is ultimately responsible for seeing that proper art direction occurs on design assignments. The board holds the executive director accountable for the overall effect of AIGA’s look and feel.