How to learn to listen?

We had an interesting dinner at my house last night — did get the required two contacts elected for next year.


Let’s define “hard core member” as “life member or someone who has served on the state or national board in the last 10 years”

At the meeting we had

  • 10 hard core (2 who met both criteria)
  • 2 others

In the branch we have

  • 15 hard core
  • 20 others

So we’re facing not just the challenge that AAUW is so many different things to different people, but also that the group that coalesces to make decisions about the branch may share some underlying assumptions that may not have been articulated to the members who are new or who aren’t active.

Personally, I’m making my bet on the Tar Heel Branch, but there are those who want the community-based branch to succeed. If you have strategies, surveys, or other ways to elicit “what do branch members want” from the silent majority of members, do pass them along.

PowerPoint for Finance section of Leadership DVD?

Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 12:59:23 -0400

I’m reviewing the Leadership Development DVD in preparation for the April 19 AAUW NC Convention.

I can see that module 7 of the DVD, Financial Accountability, would lend itself to a webinar format, particularly for incoming branch presidents and finance officers.

o Could you send me (or post) the PowerPoint for that presentation?
o Is this module going to be available from the web by mid-May?

With the PowerPoint, I’d hope to be able to do at least an audio version of the presentation to a group of AAUW NC officers via webinar. I think most folks would need the notes of the slides to be able to internalize the information — and I didn’t find that content on the accompanying CD. If the info is available as notes, rather than PowerPoint, I think it would be a good supplement to an online version of the DVD module.



Flyer for AAUW Call for Vita

Date: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 10:53 AM
To: Travis, Roberta

Have you got this in a “flyer” format that we could use to distribute at our state conventions this month? Thanks. -Nancy


Date: 12:48 PM 4/1/2008,
Unfortunately, I don’t – would a copy of the initial memo distributed work (see attached). It has all the detailed information.

Roberta Travis


Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2008 15:16:38 -0400

Actually, no. The original memo is even more internally focused than the Reminder you sent out. What I mean by that is the memo is written to be read by someone who already considers herself part of the inner circle — or at least someone who understands what these committees actually do.

What I’m looking for is a 1-page flyer which is more of a marketing piece (with many fewer words, a graphic or two, etc.) and engages those who might not have considered applying for these positions — and highlights skills that the Association needs and that our members might be willing to share, with links to “learn more”.

But perhaps in this year of flux, it’s not the time to worry about it.



What’s the problem?

This may be the draft of the summer 2007 AAUW NC president’s letter in the state newsletter.

I’m a member of the Association’s Organizational Structure and Governance task force (see announcement), and was tasked with drafting criteria to evaluate the OSG recommendations. As I started thinking about the criteria for the OSG recommendations, I went back and asked “what’s the problem?” I said to myself, “declining membership,” “financial challenges,” “few supporters willing to commit significant time or money,” but then I caught myself. I need to keep in mind the real problem:

In the classroom, the workplace, and the community,
here and around the world,
equity for women and girls is still an issue.

How do we address the problem?
In AAUW we attack that problem on three related fronts:

  1. Research on equity issues that impact the lives of women and girls and which resonate with members of the community.
  2. Education for ourselves on those issues so that we can learn where there are opportunities for us to fight those inequities while we also encourage education on all fronts as the best strategy to decrease inequity overall
  3. Advocacy to carry out what we learn and “shape the future” with work in our schools, our legislatures and courts, and our communities.

What’s required of us to address the problem?

Time and money. Simple, but complicated. On some fronts, we must depend on professional staff to lay the groundwork and establish the framework for volunteer efforts. That takes money. On the other hand, our power comes from our grass roots structure and committed volunteers. That means time. The creativity of those volunteers, filtered through professional communications channels, can be multiplied many fold. Money again. The cycle continues as projects rise and fall. If we tap the passion of those who care about “the problem,” and avoid siphoning time and money into low leverage activities seemingly unconnected to the mission, our capacity to advance equity for women and girls is enormous.

——-End article, begin OSG-specific comments——–

So how does this affect our structure and governance?
With that in mind, here’s what I’d propose for evaluating the recommendations of the Organizational Structure and Governance Task Force:

  • Shifts resources (time and money) towards mission-related work
  • Increases resources (time and money) available overall
  • Improves flexibility to allow more individuals to connect to our efforts
  • Supports improved focus, alignment and branding to make our efforts clearer to stakeholders and others concerned
  • Radiates excellence to make our efforts more visible and attractive


  • National dues collection (shifts resources)
  • “Development Corps” (cf. Lobby Corps) (increases resources)
  • Fewer, themed “regional” meetings (improves flexibility)
  • Ongoing evaluation of efforts (e.g. committees) (excellence)