State Board Report
NASBA’s success in providing support and resources to State Boards is in so many crucial areas reliant on the high-quality men and woman who provide their professional skills and judgment to our committees and task forces. Even to suggest that one committee is the most important to NASBA is risky, yet I am prepared to do so.
Let me first say that the perspective of the President and CEO may likely be different from others. I spend a significant amount of time thinking about the reputation and long-term health of NASBA. Of course I worry about our financial wherewithal, our infrastructure, our staffing and, most importantly, the quality and reliability of support and services we provide to State Boards, but those things are more easily managed than determining how our association is perceived by stakeholders, both internal and external. It is from that perspective that I have grown to believe that the NASBA Nominating Committee is truly “NASBA’s most important committee.”
When I first became involved with NASBA as a volunteer from Missouri in the late 1990s, its officer nomination process was much different from what it is today. The determination as to who was chosen to serve in governance positions was primarily determined by existing leadership. Rightly or wrongly that existing process was labeled by many of our constituents as being a “good ole boys” system that did not promote the diversification of NASBA’s volunteer leadership. At my first NASBA conference, the discontent associated with the existing process was prevalent and change was clearly coming. The ultimate outcome was a Bylaws change, the genesis of the current process, wherein each NASBA region elected their representative member of the Nominating Committee. This change was critical to long-term organizational success. In the ten years that I have been associated with NASBA I have seen continuous modifications and improvements to the Nominating Committee’s processes. I am so proud of the current state of evolution of the Committee and the seriousness with which its members undertake their responsibilities.
It has been over five years since I wrote the “President’s Memo: Photos on the Wall,” wherein I discussed the lack of diversity among our Past Chairs and the challenges that presented for the wellbeing of NASBA. This week we announced the Nominating Committee’s selection of Janice Gray as Vice Chair of NASBA. When she accedes to the position of Chair in 2019, she will be the first woman in that role since Diane Rubin served in that post 2005-6 and only the fifth in NASBA’s 100-year plus history. Ms. Gray is a highly accomplished professional and regulator, as noted in the story on page 1. She currently sits on a NASBA Board of Directors that includes seven women, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans and all contribute to a 20-member Board which has a balance of age and geographic diversity. In the past four years we have selected two African-Americans to be Chair of NASBA. More important than gender or ethnicity, the members of NASBA’s governance body are individuals of the highest intelligence, integrity and ability. All of this is no accident, but is because of the foresight, diligence and hard work of the Nominating Committee.
This June the Great Lakes, Mountain, Northeast and Southeast Regions will be electing at the Regional Meetings their representatives to the Nominating Committee. For the good of this association and the State Boards it serves, we need people who truly care about regulation to throw their hats into the ring. To qualify you need to have served two years on a State Board and attended at least one NASBA Regional Meeting and one NASBA Annual Meeting. Just contact Anita Holt for details (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Regions will be voting for both a delegate and an alternate delegate for a two-year term.
Each of us will have a relatively short tenure and opportunity to make positive change. It is my hope that the culture nurtured by the Nominating Committee will entice a mix of diverse folks to be interested in serving in NASBA leadership positions and, hopefully, on “NASBA’s most important committee.”
Semper ad meliora (Always toward better things).
-Ken L. Bishop
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