Board meeting update

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Board meeting update

Michael Snow-3
With our last board meeting falling a little later in the year than
usual, and coming close to holidays, I'm a little late in giving this
brief report on what happened. As you know, the board approved the
audited financial statements for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, and those
were posted on the Wikimedia Foundation website a couple weeks ago.

As the organization has gotten settled in San Francisco, this has become
a smoother process than in years past. It's not just that we're on solid
financial ground (that's good, though even in the past we haven't been
in immediate danger financially), but also as we've established the
necessary infrastructure, we're better at tracking our finances and
addressing issues that may need to be resolved in the course of an
audit. The stress level around the audit is low enough now that although
I had to miss the audit committee conference call (where I normally
participate as an observer), I still had confidence that Veronique and
Stu and everyone else would bring it to a successful conclusion. (That's
my personal stress level I speak of, I won't claim there's no stress
involved for Veronique.) Thanks to Veronique and her team, as well as
the auditors, for their work. Thanks also to the volunteers on the audit
committee for their service. One other thing the board reviewed out of
the committee's work was a risks analysis that is being put together of
the top risks and mitigation strategies for addressing them, which will
become part of the strategic planning process.

Speaking of which, strategic planning was the biggest single item on our
agenda, and tended to be a thread running throughout the rest of the
meeting as well. With help from the Bridgespan team, we worked through
some preliminary strategy questions to discuss priorities and setting
goals. We don't have concrete results from that to share, in part
because the overall process is still in an early stage, but it was a
good exercise for us in thinking on a strategic level and preparing for
the more challenging decisions ahead. One thing that did come out of it
is that we reviewed the guidance that the nominating committee was given
in the search to fill the one remaining vacancy on the board, and
provided some additional input for them as a result.

One note I would add is the valuable contributions of the newer members
of the board in bringing a more complete set of views to the group. SJ
and Arne many of you know, and their emphasis on the health and
potential of the community and chapters was important. I also really
appreciated what Matt Halprin had to offer, especially in two areas:
One, his capacity for strategic thinking and helping to keep us focused
on strategy issues instead of drifting off-track, and two, his
experience with other nonprofit boards and their practices was a good
perspective to add. Their strengths help compensate for the fact that
Jimmy wasn't able to attend the meeting, and I anticipate they will make
us a good working group through the strategic planning process.

The board also conducted a sort of general review and evaluation, not
just of the financial situation but the state of the organization and
the work being done by Sue and the staff. We think Sue is great as our
Executive Director and has done a terrific job getting the organization
to this point, where we're healthy and have the space to develop our
capacity for achievement in the years ahead. And I can't say enough
about the work the staff are doing, so I'll just share this one
anecdote. Since the board meeting overlapped with the first week of the
fundraiser, it's fortunate that we have the new office where there's
more than one meeting room, otherwise I don't know where the board would
have met. That's because the fundraising team would spend all day
working together in one of the larger meeting rooms. This would involve
as many as 6-8 people, and you wouldn't know that they eat or take
breaks from casual observation, although we did make sure they at least
got the leftover pizza from our lunch at one point. They've worked hard
to keep the fundraiser operational, not to mention considering a lot of
feedback and making improvements. It's easier when you see what things
are like in the office, but I hope we appreciate the dedicated staff and
their support for the work of the Wikimedia movement.

--Michael Snow


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Re: Board meeting update

Effe iets anders
Hi Michael,

thanks a lot for sharing this short overview with us. I look forward
to more extensive minutes of course and hope they will be published
not too long from now - especially considering the strategic process
that is going on.

You mentioned the nominating committee and their imput. I'm glad that
this kind of things is constantly under review and consideration. Is
this input public, or otherwise at least to the chapters? (who will
need to get started with the chapter selected board seats in the next
months as well) That way community members and chapters can think with
the nominating committee and give perhaps some additional suggestions.

With kind regards,

Lodewijk

2009/11/30 Michael Snow <[hidden email]>:

> With our last board meeting falling a little later in the year than
> usual, and coming close to holidays, I'm a little late in giving this
> brief report on what happened. As you know, the board approved the
> audited financial statements for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, and those
> were posted on the Wikimedia Foundation website a couple weeks ago.
>
> As the organization has gotten settled in San Francisco, this has become
> a smoother process than in years past. It's not just that we're on solid
> financial ground (that's good, though even in the past we haven't been
> in immediate danger financially), but also as we've established the
> necessary infrastructure, we're better at tracking our finances and
> addressing issues that may need to be resolved in the course of an
> audit. The stress level around the audit is low enough now that although
> I had to miss the audit committee conference call (where I normally
> participate as an observer), I still had confidence that Veronique and
> Stu and everyone else would bring it to a successful conclusion. (That's
> my personal stress level I speak of, I won't claim there's no stress
> involved for Veronique.) Thanks to Veronique and her team, as well as
> the auditors, for their work. Thanks also to the volunteers on the audit
> committee for their service. One other thing the board reviewed out of
> the committee's work was a risks analysis that is being put together of
> the top risks and mitigation strategies for addressing them, which will
> become part of the strategic planning process.
>
> Speaking of which, strategic planning was the biggest single item on our
> agenda, and tended to be a thread running throughout the rest of the
> meeting as well. With help from the Bridgespan team, we worked through
> some preliminary strategy questions to discuss priorities and setting
> goals. We don't have concrete results from that to share, in part
> because the overall process is still in an early stage, but it was a
> good exercise for us in thinking on a strategic level and preparing for
> the more challenging decisions ahead. One thing that did come out of it
> is that we reviewed the guidance that the nominating committee was given
> in the search to fill the one remaining vacancy on the board, and
> provided some additional input for them as a result.
>
> One note I would add is the valuable contributions of the newer members
> of the board in bringing a more complete set of views to the group. SJ
> and Arne many of you know, and their emphasis on the health and
> potential of the community and chapters was important. I also really
> appreciated what Matt Halprin had to offer, especially in two areas:
> One, his capacity for strategic thinking and helping to keep us focused
> on strategy issues instead of drifting off-track, and two, his
> experience with other nonprofit boards and their practices was a good
> perspective to add. Their strengths help compensate for the fact that
> Jimmy wasn't able to attend the meeting, and I anticipate they will make
> us a good working group through the strategic planning process.
>
> The board also conducted a sort of general review and evaluation, not
> just of the financial situation but the state of the organization and
> the work being done by Sue and the staff. We think Sue is great as our
> Executive Director and has done a terrific job getting the organization
> to this point, where we're healthy and have the space to develop our
> capacity for achievement in the years ahead. And I can't say enough
> about the work the staff are doing, so I'll just share this one
> anecdote. Since the board meeting overlapped with the first week of the
> fundraiser, it's fortunate that we have the new office where there's
> more than one meeting room, otherwise I don't know where the board would
> have met. That's because the fundraising team would spend all day
> working together in one of the larger meeting rooms. This would involve
> as many as 6-8 people, and you wouldn't know that they eat or take
> breaks from casual observation, although we did make sure they at least
> got the leftover pizza from our lunch at one point. They've worked hard
> to keep the fundraiser operational, not to mention considering a lot of
> feedback and making improvements. It's easier when you see what things
> are like in the office, but I hope we appreciate the dedicated staff and
> their support for the work of the Wikimedia movement.
>
> --Michael Snow
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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