When I signed on to be the Journal Editor for the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese, I only thought about the tasks that I would have to do in order to produce 4 Journals a year. I did not think about the fact that as Journal Editor, I would be on the National Board of AFWJ and thus be responsible for writing reports and attending Board Meetings. To be honest, I never really gave much thought as to what goes on at our organization’s Board Meetings. I just trusted that the group of members who volunteered for the job of running AFWJ had our best interests in mind. I didn’t even consider how important the Board is to the smooth operation of AFWJ and how important our Board meetings are. Afterall, we’re a club that offers support and friendship to those who have or have had relationships with culturally Japanese people, what important issues are there to discuss?
Why do we need Board Meetings?
According to the AFWJ constitution, the National Board of AFWJ is required to meet up to twice a year and two-thirds of the National Board must be present to make the proceedings of the meeting valid. If you recall from our post All About Membership Dues, the yearly membership fee that we pay to belong to AFWJ goes towards various items, such as publishing and distributing the Journal, travel, technology and T.L.C.. Wherever there are financial decisions to be made, it is important to have a reliable and efficient process to make them. With over 450 members it would take a long time to get everyone’s opinion on matters and we would never reach a consensus, so we rely on our National Board. Not only do Board Members conduct our business, they also make decisions on behalf of our members for the smooth running of our organization. The Board does their best to take into consideration the varying needs and opinions of all our members in order to steer our course in line with our organization's current needs.
Who decides when to have a Board Meeting?
The President of AFWJ.
Who attends an AFWJ Board Meeting?
The Elected National Board Members:
- District Representatives
- the President
- the Vice President
- the Journal Editor
- the Treasurer
- the National Secretary
- the Membership Secretary
Non- Elected Officers:
- the Historian
- the Pubic Relations Coordinator
- the Membership Services Coordinator
- the Website Coordinator
Any current member who wishes to attend may observe, but she must let her intention to attend be known to the President beforehand.
How are Board Meetings Conducted?
AFWJ Board Meetings follow Parliamentary Procedure so that everyone can be heard and decisions can be made without confusion. You can find out more about how this works at www.robertsrules.com
How are decisions made at the Board Meeting?
Items for the agenda must be submitted to the President/National Secretary at least two weeks before the Board Meeting.
Any member can make a proposal or raise a discussion point through her District Representative or through any of the elected officers.
Members can review the items on the agenda and give their feedback to their District Representatives so that the District Representatives can be prepared to best represent their districts
Elected officers may make motions, second motions and debate motions
Once a motion is stated, the person who presented the motion will get 2 minutes to speak in favour of the motion, then the other Board members can comment on it before a vote is taken
Elected officers can vote on motions, except for the President who will only vote in the case of a tie
Non-elected officers are allowed to take part in discussions but may not vote on motions at this time
Observers may only observe the meeting and may not participate
How do we know the Board isn't made up of power-hungry tyrants making decisions however they want?
You’ll just have to trust us.
The Board aims to be as transparent as possible. As stated above, any current member of AFWJ is allowed to observe the Board Meeting and see what goes on in there. All members can find the minutes from past Board Meetings in past issues of the Journal or on our website. By reading the minutes from Board Meetings, members can read all of the officer’s reports and see what motions were presented, the rationale behind those motions, and the discussion points raised.
Board Meetings take place only once a year but the Board is in contact all year long in order to discuss any issues that come up throughout the year and handle any pressing problems. Each of the volunteers that make up the AFWJ Board have their own duties, besides trouble-shooting and making decisions, and that means everyone is working hard year round to provide the services that an organization with 450+ members requires. The month or two leading up to the Board Meeting are very busy for the Board as reports are written, wording of proposals is tweaked, and the agenda is made. This year we have the added pressure of having our meeting conducted via zoom for the first time! However, even though the Board is busy and a little bit stressed out, they really do have our organizations and its members’ best interests in mind.