Strategic Realignment

House of Delegates to Review Proposed Governance Changes

During next month’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Salt Lake City, SNA’s House of Delegates will vote on proposed bylaws amendments that will alter several facets of the Association’s governance, including the Board of Directors, committees, the election timeline and more. This proposal is the culmination of an initiative that began almost two years ago, when leaders set out to update our strategic planning process and use the resulting plan to guide us in making certain that our infrastructure—including our Headquarters staff, our resources and our governance—is appropriately aligned for a sustainable organization that reflects contemporary business practices.

            In 2013-14, stakeholders from the Association’s leadership, staff and allies drilled down and scrutinized every element of the organization: programs, services, campaigns, strategies, core competencies, values, infrastructure and so on. This comprehensive assessment laid the foundation for the development of a new strategic plan, which in turn led to a restructure of SNA’s Headquarters team in Fall 2014 to ensure that financial and staff resources were appropriate to meeting identified objectives.

            The final stage of the process was the first significant review of our governance structure since the late Nineties. Although SNA’s volunteer leaders have served the organization very well for decades, to remain strong and effective into the future, leaders recognized the value of being honest about vulnerabilities and being proactive in anticipating future challenges. Changing demographics affect the availability of future volunteers, and there have been many changes in governance best practices in the last 20 years.

            The initial stages of the governance discernment process, which began in January 2015, are summarized here.

In the months that followed, SNA leaders crafted, revised and repeatedly fine-tuned a proposed new model, which was presented to national and state leaders in April (click here for the full presentation).

            In recent weeks, SNA has been busy preparing for July’s House of Delegates meeting. Leaders have been working with our certified parliamentarian on the appropriate language for the bylaws amendmentsSNA has worked to ensure that all members are informed about the proposal through articles in School Nutrition magazine, a webinar, packets mailed to state delegates and resources posted on the website. The final component in these efforts is a Frequently Asked Questions compilation that answers the many questions from members that SNA leaders have fielded about this initiative.

            If the new governance proposal is approved this summer, a three-year transition plan has been drafted that covers all positions and terms. Most notably, all current elected and appointed positions will serve out their currentterms. The transition plan also includes a new timeline to shorten the period between the election and Board installation.

            Since it was unveiled at the National Leadership Conference in April, the proposal has been well-received by state leaders, many of whom are facing similar governance and volunteer challenges. But it’s important to note that state associations are not required to implement the same governance structure in their organizations. Indeed, in many cases, this structure may not be a good fit for a particular state. However, state leaders are encouraged to use SNA’s proposed model as a reference as they explore the possibility of making changes in their structure.

SNA’s leaders are excited to be approaching the conclusion of this long strategic realignment project and they are grateful to all those who have participated in different discussions, lending their enthusiasm and their creative ideas.

 

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