June 2014: Behind the scenes

President's Letters, Recent News l

Whaleyd0e0abDear JAWS members:

I want to take this time to share with you not only some of the exciting opportunities we have been working on (see Fellowships! Regional gatherings! Member news! CAMP!), but also some of the work we have doing behind the scenes to keep JAWS functioning and improving.

We now have organizational documents posted online behind our members-only site. There, you will find committee names and members, our 2014 budget and our 2014 development plan. We will continue to add documents to this area.

If you haven’t already checked out our impressive new members-only site, visit members.jaws.org. Use your email address as a username and JAWS1234 as your password. You will be able to change your password, renew your dues and fill out your profile.

We hope these documents will provide you with a bigger picture of the organization. Other documents you should check out on our public website include our Strategic Plan Strategic Plan, which guides our daily decisions; HerStory, which tells our origin story; a list of our past presidents; and an explanation of our Legacy Fund. And, if you’re excited to learn the guiding document that dictates how we organize ourselves, read our bylaws. New on the website this week is the summary of the strategic plan, in case you want the abridged version.

We will be hosting a panel at our Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) that goes over the Strategic Plan and the corresponding programs the board has implemented – expanded fellowships, year-round mentoring, increased regional gatherings and more. Check it out on the 2014 CAMP SCHED.

As always, feel free to get in touch with questions as they come up. Find us at board@jaws.org. Or, you can write to us individually. Get to know us here (and in person at regional gatherings and at CAMP).

To that end, nominations for our 2014-2015 board slate are open. We need a president-elect, a secretary, a treasurer and several general board members. We need at least 11 people on the board. Join us!

As I wrote last month, if you want to get involved in JAWS on the board level or you know someone who would, send names to the nominating committee, chaired by board member Nancy Day. The committee will send questionnaires to nominees in the next few weeks. Once nominees’ applications are reviewed and candidates are selected, per our bylaws, we will vote on the 2014-2015 board slate during our general membership meeting at CAMP.

Because only about a third of our members come to CAMP and vote in our general membership meeting, I am hoping to revise the way we vote, moving to an online voting system for the 2015-2016 slate. IRE seems to have a great system in place for online voting. This requires a revision of our bylaws.

Please get in touch with me if you would like to serve on a committee that looks at our bylaws and makes revisions in time for our general membership election. We revised the bylaws last year, but we need to revise them again. It’s tedious, but important work. Who’s in?!

We have launched the future staffing committee. Committee members will be researching staffing structures of similar organizations and making recommendations to me and the board for future staffing positions. We will also reach out to you, our members, for recommendations on what the future staffing structure for JAWS should look like. Keep an eye out for a survey asking what you want to see for the future structure of JAWS. You can always email me with ideas, too.

Our communications team has also put together a listserv policy that will help with some questions of conduct on our beloved Google Groups.

Thanks to all who have reached out to me and other board members with ideas on how we can improve JAWS. I am proud of the work we have done this year so far and of the work we are planning to do. Keep keeping in touch. The board meets by phone on the second Saturday of each month. If you want us to consider a question or proposal, please reach out in advance of our monthly call and we can add it to our agenda.

I do hope everyone is having a great summer. We are enjoying the cloudy mornings of “June Gloom” here in Los Angeles; I occasionally even wear a sweatshirt when I make my morning coffee.

If anyone is ever out this way, we have a robust Southern California regional group (thank you, Megan Sweas). Come say hi! And, check out our other growing regional groups, too. Or, start your own.

All my best,

Lauren