Elections: Description of Board Roles
Many of you are considering of running for elections. We have prepared three “Terms of Reference” (President, Treasurer and Board member) about what each board role look like in our view. You can also refer to the statute or have a look at the minutes of our meeting to have a clearer idea. We hope these ToRs will help you taking your final decision and running for elections. Be reminded that in order to run for elections you have time until 15 June, you have to post a candidacy text or video in the campaign form.
The President represent the E.MAlumni Association and coordinates its activities. At the beginning of its mandate, Cristiano And Lydia decided to establish a bi-presidency. This meant that Lydia was formally nominated Vice-President in the first board meeting and together with Cristiano (elected President) they shared the responsibility of the “Presidency”. Together with the “delegate Model” – by which each Board member is responsible for a specific action or project as a kind of minister – this initiative was intended to make the working relationship in the Board more horizontal.
Being part of the “Presidency” of E.MAlumni is an exciting position. The Presidency work within the team of the board but has perhaps additional responsibility to motive and coordinate the work of the Board, maintain good relationship with partners (including EIUC, the European Commission and other Global Campus Alumni), cultivate a vision to develop the Association beyond what it is. The Presidency leads and promotes the effort of those people that believe that the Association can grow and together with the Global Campus Alumni (GCA) can become an important organisation for Human Rights and Democratisation. The E.MAlumni has been tasked with coordinating the GCA building process and this currently imply a further space of action for the Presidency.
There is no doubt that being part of the Presidency can be demanding but it also offers a very rich set of experiences. You have the great chance to work with a team of individuals, experience what it is like to represent a very diverse member’s base, find creative ways to consolidate different demands and carry a considerable responsibility for an organisation. You may be the one having to decide how to select applications for a vacancy or for a service contract always assuming that transparency and accountability are inviolable baselines. You may end up travelling for lobbying and bargaining the conditions of your association or to define its future. You are responsible for the Association to be transparent and open to all suggestions emerging from the base and to make sure that the membership is constantly informed on all ongoing activities and interacting possibilities. Finally, you enter an amazing international environment characterised by learning and joint working.
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The Statute of the Association calls upon the Treasurer to monitor the finances of the association (overseeing the transactions of the account and monitors expenses, assisting in the drafting of the annual budget of the Association, and write and present the yearly financial statement of the organization). He/She also usually corresponds to alumni regarding membership fee contribution inquiries.
Being the treasurer does not imply to have a finance background. You do not even have to love numbers, charts and excel books but it makes it easier if you can manage finance data well. This position is suited for someone who is detail oriented and has an affinity for accuracy. After all, you would be dealing with finance data that needs to be reconciled. It is customary that the Treasurer works closely with the Board so, you are not left alone in isolation with numbers and a calculator. The Board collectively makes financial decision and any financial transaction is always collectively approved. Your task is to make sure to keep accurate record of all of the finances. But that’s about the technicality of the position.
Just because you are the Treasurer it does not mean that you would not be involved in other project that the Board is administering. In fact, involvement in any activity or even initiation of projects/programs is always welcome by any Board member including by the Treasurer. You may want to manage project(s) as well as that as the Treasurer’s task might not require much of your time.
I hope that you feel compelled to run for the Treasurer office and offer your talent and creativity to the E.MAlumni Association.
Should you have any question or would like to ask about my experience as a Treasurer please, write to me at email@example.com.
BOARD MEMBER POSITION
The E.MAlumni Board includes nine members among which the President and the Treasurer. The election poll for Board members elects seven board members while there are two dedicated polls to elect the President and the Treasurer. The E.MAlumni Board member is ideally a motivated Alumni who has lived the E.MA with intensity and not necessarily without critical perspective. The enthusiasm of being and E.MAlumni is here coupled with a chance to be in the body where the present and the future of the Association takes a concrete shape: each board member is part of the making of E.MAlumni.
Nobody can predict the way of working that the next board will decide to follow; however, there are some lesson learnt from the experience made to date. The Board 2.0 (2012-2014) works on a horizontal manner through the “delegate model”. It foresees that each board member takes over a part of the responsibilities on a volunteering bases and there is no vertical imposition of tasks. During the monthly board meetings the tasks to be accomplished are discussed and assigned to board members on the base of commitment, skills and interests. Moreover, each board member is able to initiate projects and activities after discussing them in the board and assigning them to a working group (WG) of at least two (volunteer) people. Two or more people allow work sharing, improve the conceptual development, strengthen the work done by each individually (trough revision for instance) and give space to a backup of knowledge (for the case in which one of the board members is unavailable in a specific occasions). WG work in dependently although in consultation with the board. All board members can take part to as many WG as they like and feel they can contribute to.
The Board 2.0 had the chance to organise in-presence Board meetings in coincidence with the General Assembly when most of the board members were physically present. Otherwise, the Board 2.0 works in a virtual office. Any average internet user already very well knows most of the virtual tools used, for instance gdocs, skype and doodle. In the virtual office most of the work is done in an asynchronous way and at the time when each one feels more comfortable with. Only the (skype) meetings (either Board or WG ones) the co-presence is fundamental. The virtual office makes possible to have a solid organisation with a versatile availability of the board volunteers. Therefore, each board members can often work at the time s/he most like.
Being part of the board does not imply a rigid amount of hours of work per week. This is up to each one besides the fact that each member is aware that being elected means accomplish the needs of the Association. It must be consider that the exposure given by the work in the board is potentially quite big. That implies that each board member can work in one or more areas of interest for her/himself and for the Association thereby making a relevant professional experience and providing the Association with a benefit. In other words one could be part of the board as a passive member and react merely to initiative coming from others by volunteering for tasks that need to be assigned, or can be a proactive member looking at the Association (and at the GCA) as a growing organisation. In this environment, personal initiative combined with horizontal dialogue is particularly beneficial.
Being a board member means being in contact with an high level international human rights environment but also being in touch with the richest community of human rights experts, defenders and activists’ master alumni in the world. This environment provides a wide range of manners to learn new things and provides to one’s contribution the ability to build bridges between the E.MAlumni community and the Human Rights and Democratisation initiatives (established or potentially so) and this is the real mission of the E.MAlumni Board.
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