January 7, 2012

by JKL

Call to Order and Note of Attendance

Our Maestro conference call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 4:07pm PST.  Other directors present included Secretary Jeanene Louden, Treasurer Eric Whinery, Craig Dunigan, Jose  Guiterrez,Kerry Helmer, Frank Kirkwood, Christopher Ritter and Egberto Willies.  No directors missed the call missed the call. Staff present included Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux and Membership Director Billy Sears.

Expanded Check In
Because this was our first official meeting as a board, we spent time “checking in” giving details about ourselves that defined us as individuals.

TED Talk
Chris sent us all a link to a TED Talk that explores institutional v collaboration organizational models. Not all of us were able to watch it before the meeting, so our discussion was postponed.

Communications Baseline
Because the Board must take responsibility for the Coffee Party narrative we must exercise some level of control.  This means we must learn about our communications strategies, and then, if we choose, delegating and instructing staff and/or non-director volunteers. Eric B gave an over view of the current strategy and the volunteers and staff that now fill these roles. Included are:

  • FaceBook page posting (and shepherding the post) four times per day, every day;
  • website content including a newsletter every other week;
  • HootSuite managing the other 175 Facebook pages, and 4 Twitter accounts;
  • weekly email blasts; and
  • BlogTalkRadio shows.


We discussed the level of effort for each component of the strategy, and how taxing the effort was with the relatively small number of volunteers and staff now involved. Each of us indicated the areas in which we felt we could participate. This is and will be a key human resource focus for us.

Occupy the Courts
The Advocacy, Action, and Messaging Work Group brought us two invitations from Move to Amend. The first was to join the coalition of over 175 organizations that are supporting their Occupy the Courts effort on January 20th, the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision. The second was to become a member of the executive board, a group of about 15 organizations like ours.

Given our participation in many actions in favor of the reversal of the CU decision, the first request was an easy conversation. Annabel and Eric were already going to be at the event at the Supreme Court in DC, and participating in other, related events. Many Coffee Party affiliates are also connected to the Move to Amend coalition already. The second invitation was less clear. We do not yet understand any legal or fiduciary entanglements with this formal an arrangement with another group. In the end, the second request was tabled for another day.

Resolution 001
Endorsing OCCUPY THE COURTS
Shall the Board of Directors ratify the email vote supporting Coffee Party participation in the Move to Amend action: “Occupy the Courts”?

The motion was made by Eric B, seconded by Jeanene, and passed unanimously.

Acknowledgement of the Transition Team
If nothing else was clear as we launched this new journey, it is obvious to all of us on the Board that the Transition Team did a heck of a job keeping the Coffee Party moving full steam ahead while we were being elected and seated. They and the rest of our team of volunteers and staff have our deepest gratitude.

Directors and Officers Insurance
It is virtually standard practice for private non profit organizations with volunteer Directors to provide basic liability coverage that buffers their personal liability in civil litigation. Because the Coffee Party is not in a position to pay the premium for this coverage right now, Jeanene posed the option of our pitching in. We all agreed that this was an “as able” proposition, but that none of us could afford to be without this protection.

Resolution 002
Self Funding D&O Insurance
Shall the Board of Directors make personal contributions toward the purchase of Directors and Officers Insurance?

  • The even distribution of the cost would be $250 per director.
  • Each is asked to give according to their ability.
  • Any shortfall will be covered by the Coffee Party.
  • The insurance will be purchased immediately.

The motion was made by Craig, seconded by Egberto, and passed unanimously.

The Role of the Board
This topic generated a brainstorming session about the many roles, internal and external, played by the Directors. From the brass tacks of fund raising to the more esoteric role of healer; from head volunteer in charge to masters of empowerment. All the while making sure the mission is alive and well. One thing was constant, in all roles and in all modes, relationship and authenticity are key. More on this later….

Work Group Structure
The Strategy and Organizational Design (SOD) Work Group recommended a change to the work group structure based on functional changes that have occurred since the inception of the design. We will now need to give these new groups chairs and board liaisons, but that will have to wait for another day.

Resolution 003
Changing the Work Group Structure
RESOLVED to alter the Bylaws to create a Chapter Development Work Group and close the Legal and Accounting Work Group.

The motion was made by Frank, seconded by Egberto, and passed: 6 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain, 2 Directors had left the call.

Schedule Next Meeting and Adjourn
Because it appears that Thursday is our best shot at getting everyone on the call, and that we will need to meet weekly until we can get these meetings down to one hour, the next Maestro call will be held January 12, 2012, at 5 PM PST / 8PM EST. We all did a 30 second check out.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jeanene Louden

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