By: Dominika Breedlove, Psy.D. President
It has been an honor to serve as your Board of Trustees (BOT) President for the past five months. It has been an active and busy year already, not just for the Board but all your WSPA leadership. I trust you are well-informed of our latest activities and initiatives, which we communicate to you on our news blog. If you follow the news blog, you may have seen the Board met for an all-day strategic planning retreat in January. As we met, the Board felt it was important to continue meeting in person more frequently, and we are now preparing for our second in-person retreat this year, scheduled on June 15th, this time in picturesque Lake Chelan.
As we head into the second retreat, I am reaching out to you on behalf of the Board of Trustees to communicate an important proposed amendment to WSPA bylaws. This amendment concerns the Board of Trustees expansion and redesign as follows: Our existing WSPA Bylaws state that the Board “shall consist of not less than five (5) or more than seven (7) members.” Each Board term is two years, and the Trustees are not allowed to serve more than two consecutive terms.
We are proposing to expand the Board by two additional members, so that it shall consist of not less than five (5) and no more than nine (9) members. Each Board term would be extended to three years (with two consecutive terms being unchanged from current bylaws).
There are at least three important reasons for this proposed change:
First, having a larger number of Board members ensures that we have more dedicated individuals to engage in our work on behalf of you – our members. As we are largely a volunteer-run organization, the work requires considerable dedication, energy, and time commitment from your leadership at all levels of WSPA. For the Board of Trustees specifically, one of the expectations is to chair, co-chair, or serve on one of our committees or special interest groups, for example. By adding two more members to our Board, we continue to be small enough to benefit from more focused and contained leadership, while adding a few more individuals ensures we continue our work uninterruptedly from one year to the next. This is especially important at times when even a few Board members are terming off at the same time, and the Board faces that challenging task of member recruitment on a short notice. With more members serving on the Board at any given time, there is considerably less pressure to recruit every year to maintain a functional, fully-staffed Board, as required by our bylaws.
Second, expanding the term from two years to three years ensures the continuity of the leadership pipeline, so that Past President, President, and President Elect are all serving on the Board at any given time. With the two-year term, the President might term off after his or her term is completed, which leaves the new President and President Elect with no access to important institutional knowledge, and mentoring and support, which are essential ingredients to successful leadership in these roles.
Lastly, we would like to propose that at least one membership seat on the Board be assigned to a representative of our WSPA Graduate Student Association (WSPAGS) and another to an Early Career Psychologist (ECP). The latter is defined as a psychologist within ten year of graduation. This initiative is important for many reasons which go beyond the scope of this communication, but essentially, it assures that the new generations of psychologists continue to be directly involved in WSPA leadership. I am certain that most of you would agree that our organization must stay abreast of the rapidly changing landscape of our profession and the evolving needs of our students and ECPs. The proposed WSPAGS and ECP seats would be preferred but not required for a fully staffed Board.
Now, for next steps, we will be offering a public comment period for the next 2 weeks (14) days to allow you to contribute your feedback on these proposed amendments to our bylaws. The comment system can be accessed at the link HERE
At the conclusion of the 2-week public comment period, we will hold an electronic full membership vote on the proposed amendments.
If I have held your attention to this point, thank you for your time and consideration! Please consider offering your comments and your vote on this important matter in the coming weeks. I plan to send you an updated communication at the conclusion of the voting period with more information about serving on the Board and/or joining one of our committees.
Dominika Breedlove, Psy.D.