[HOT] HOT Board and Chair Elections

Mark Cupitt markcupitt at gmail.com
Sat Mar 7 06:06:05 UTC 2015

Hi All, sorry, I missed one additional comment, in terms of the Governance.

Heather brings up an excellent point on continuity. It is very disruptive
for any organization, especially one as globally diverse as HOT is, to
change its entire leadership on an annual basis.

In reality and in my experience, the old board tends to not make serious
decisions in the last, or possibly second last month before an election to
not stick the new board with issues they do not understand. When the new
board comes in, there is at least one month handover to get the them up to
speed on where the organization is. So that is potentially 1/4 of the
working year that is unproductive.

Add in a very realistic possibility that the entire board could change at
an election, especially due to changing work commitments of serving board
members and them not opting for re-election, we could end up with a totally
new board who has no previous knowledge of issues an decisions made in the
previous terms. (There would of course be informal availability of old
board members)

One of the better ways to address this is to extend the terms of directors
to two or three years (three is maximum) and have a rotating election
process each year. This has a number of benefits, including:

1.  smaller number of seats becoming vacant each year which should
encourage more candidate diversity (I mean, more people for fewer seats
means more candidates to choose from at election time).
2. continuity on board business as half or two thirds of the board will be
"business as usual", the election process will have no impact on the
organizations business.
3. new members will have a chance to be mentored on board procedures and
how it all works by people who have experience, thus making it easier for
people with no experience at sitting on boards to make worthwhile
4. it may also encourage people who do not nominate to do so. I am sure
that some people find the prospect of the responsibility, commitment and
procedural requirements quite daunting.

Sitting on a board is a very worth while experience. The opportunity to
contribute at that level and stand and represent the organization legally
is not for everyone, but it is very rewarding and satisfying. You also get
to meet and work with some fantastically and brilliant people.

Some thoughts for future consideration by members and the New Board


Mark Cupitt

"If we change the world, let it bear the mark of our intelligence"

See me on Open StreetMap <https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Mark_Cupitt>

On Sat, Mar 7, 2015 at 1:47 PM, Mark Cupitt <markcupitt at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Heather and all
> Heather,  I absolutely agree with your thoughts on the role women can
> play. I encourage any women out there who may be considering in getting
> involved at the Board level, or any other level, to please do so, it would
> be a pleasure to work with you. You have as much to contribute as anyone
> else and I personally would be inspired to see more women involved. In many
> parts of the world, women play a key role in their society and having
> people on board who can relate with them I believe is important for HOT''s
> continued growth and development as a global organization.
> I love the Mapper Dude term .. really cool ..
> Regards
> Mark Cupitt
> "If we change the world, let it bear the mark of our intelligence"
> See me on Open StreetMap <https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Mark_Cupitt>
> On Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 9:29 PM, Heather Leson <heatherleson at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Blake and colleagues, thank you most kindly for this nomination.  I'm
>> delighted to see more candidates put their names forward. I nominated Mark.
>> While a new member, I appreciate his positive, professional focus. Plus, he
>> is keen to help us grow in Asia.
>> As new faces put their names forward, I wanted to say a few more words
>> about HOT and our future.
>> 1. Governance
>> We really need to think firmly about Board continuity and organizational
>> development/sustainability. It is very hard to do annual elections, but if
>> the membership feels this is the best method, I will support it.  Perhaps
>> we could move to different terms. Some examples from our friends in the
>> wider Open Source world:
>> http://wiki.opensource.org/bin/Projects/FLOSS+Foundations+Board+Selection
>> On working groups, I noted this previously in my statement but wanted to
>> expand on this. I feel that the working groups need to be stronger and
>> engage in more decision making. This is really part of our evolution. My
>> colleague at Drupal tells me that about year 3/4 of that global
>> organization, this transition occurred to build the organization better. I
>> love this and think that all of us should review how other organizations
>> work and learn from them. Previously I mentioned Jono Bacon's book on the
>> Art of Community (Ubuntu). He frames some of the theory on this. I've also
>> see this done very poorly, so we need to really trust the Governance group
>> to help us. I promise to extend my wider network to inform this research.
>> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Board_Elections_2015
>> 2. What being a Board member has taught me?
>> Well, Being on HOT's board has been an incredible personal journey. In
>> the past years, I have scoured BoardSource.org, read negotiation,
>> leadership, community and strategy books. I've contacted other Board
>> members from other organizations to learn how to better serve HOT. The
>> questions and topics we discuss are top on my mind often. It is my learning
>> and teaching zone.
>> With that, HOT has made me a better manager, leader and person. I use the
>> lessons and skills I've learned from my experience as a HOT board member
>> every day. If you are looking to grow as an employee or person, being on
>> the Board of HOT is a rigorous and demanding sandbox. Each of you have
>> taught me to rethink context, language and perspectives. While we all
>> naturally do this, HOT has evolved and as we do in a positive, productive
>> way, the HOT Board can do this as well. This is a gift for all the Board
>> duties. I would highly recommend that you (at some point in your career) be
>> on a Board for an NGO. It will give you the big picture, the weight of
>> responsibility (contracts, staff, members, community, organization and,
>> whew, humanitarians). I often worry about our partner's perspective. Are we
>> doing enough, are they happy with us and how can we better stabilize to
>> keep opening the door with HOT and digital humanitarians. This has made me
>> very driven on our future. It has streamlined my ability to prioritize and
>> really dream big. All of this, again, makes me a better human and very
>> proud of all the efforts - the simple and the very hard.
>> Lessons I learned from the working groups have informed conversations
>> with other open source organizations. I cite what I learned from HOT or how
>> HOT co-created a strategy document or grant, or how HOT built a resolution
>> process and has navigated to be more peaceful and hopefully productive.
>> These organizational community leaders listen to this and then go back to
>> their communities to talk about HOT's best practices. This is all our work.
>> 3. Gender
>> Are you a women? Please run for the Board. Ask me any questions and I can
>> help. Claire was on the Board with me this past year. It made a difference
>> in dynamic. One thing that we have not broached enough is the what I like
>> to call the "mapper dude" dynamic. For my male colleagues, you are awesome.
>> I have the utmost respect for you. Honest. I am slightly uncomfortable
>> bringing up the topic of gender, which is a sign in itself. If we are
>> growing globally, we need to also have more women inspired to be members
>> and community leaders. I can't put my finger on why more women are not
>> involved, but we need to think about it.  This will come in time as is
>> evident from the changing nature of some of the workshops of late. But,
>> there is a gap.
>> Just like HOT needs a balanced Board of diverse skills and locations, we
>> also need women. See some of the research.
>> http://www.forbes.com/sites/chicceo/2014/03/11/the-case-for-women-on-boards-sxsw-2014/
>> Fellow Candidates - I'll review all your notes and send more conversation
>> points later tonight.
>> Thank you,
>> heather
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