Policy Governance Week: Our Path to Policy Governance by Aimee White & Leslie Goodyear

Aimee White
Aimee White

Hi everyone! We are Aimee White and Leslie Goodyear, current and 2018 Presidents of the AEA. We are kicking off the week for the Board sharing about Policy Governance (PG). In 2008, the AEA voted to adopt PG, a governing model that is being widely used across the nonprofit and foundation worlds. Leslie was on the Board when, with leadership from Bill Trochim and Debra Rog and facilitation from Michael Patton, the decision was made to adopt PG. In adopting PG, the Board adapted the model to fit the values, context, and culture of AEA and participated in training to implement the model effectively. From that experience, Leslie understood how important it is that Boards lead with vision and give the Executive Director the trust to lead in implementing that vision. It was under Leslie’s guidance that Anisha Lewis was hired, and PG experience was a key factor. 

Leslie Goodyear
Leslie Goodyear

Aimee had been helping clients go on to this model for years and had joined the Govern for Impact community for professional support. She was able to bring some training resources to the AEA Board so we could up our PG game! The Board jumped in and under Leslie’s leadership reshaped and revised all of the association’s policy documents (Rad Resource) and restarted more systematic training for effective PG. For the past two years new Board members have attended the Govern for Impact annual conference as professional learning to support their role. 

The main marker of the PG model is a clear distinction between the Board’s area of work and the operational team’s area of work. We, at the Board level, are to be “upward and outward” oriented while the operational team makes sure all the trains move on time. Engaging with and learning from AEA members is critical for the Board to be able to set a course for the Executive Director, as she and the team work to achieve the Association’s goals. The Executive Director is the captain of the ship and the Board has provided the map. 

This week’s posts will be reflections from a variety of different Board perspectives about what it is like to serve on the AEA Board using the PG model. We hope you enjoy the posts and Leslie and I will be back at the end of the week to wrap us up! 

Rad Resources: If you want to learn more about PG here’s a great video from the founders of the model PG Introduction Video, and a book about it Reinventing Your Board.

This week, AEA365 is celebrating Policy Governance during which our AEA Board members and Executive Director will help readers understand this approach to association management. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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