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Report from the Board: A New Year

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 38 No. 2, April-May 2002, p. 26, 45.

Members of the LLLI Board of Directors gathered from many parts of the world in February 2002 for our Annual Session. This meeting marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next one. Like the change in any calendar year, this involves looking back and looking forward -- learning who we are and taking the opportunity to renew dreams and refresh our commitment.

The End of the Year Means Looking Back

  • Closure to tasks of the year. Committees and work groups complete their work, reflect on their accomplishments, thank participants, and consider tasks that might carry over to the next year.

    One of our priorities in the last year was to bring LLL volunteers more into the decision-making process and to invite relevant and interested parties to work with us to further LLLI purpose. Board members convened several work groups of Leaders during the year, including the Leader Roles Policies Work Group, which examined the revised Active Leader Definition. About 40 Leaders participated in the group’s discussions, often consulting further with other Leaders in their communities. (For a copy of a summary of their discussions, email the LLLI Board Secretary at BOD secretary at llli.org) Other work groups that completed work in the year were the World Assembly task force (led by members of the LLLI Board and Chaordic Initiative Review Network), the Breastfeeding Information task force that wrote the LLLI statement on Breastfeeding and HIV, and the Breastfeeding Aid Sales Program evaluation work group.

  • Reflection on the work that the Board has done in the year. In what ways did our work contribute to the pursuit of the LLLI mission? How have we added value to the worldwide community of La Leche League?
  • An evaluation with the Executive Director of her work and the partnership for leadership between the ED and the Board. This evaluation is one of the primary responsibilities of a nonprofit board. What a pleasure for us—and a benefit to La Leche League—to work with Anne Gaskell.
  • Special appreciation for the work of those Board members who are completing their term of service. We bid a fond farewell to Ginger Sall and Sandy Davis, and are delighted that both will be continuing as local Group Leaders. In addition, Ginger will continue her work with the Drafting Team in the initiative for organizational renewal, and Sandy will serve as an administrator with the EUS.

Evaluation and reflection serve as the path to the future. After considering who we are and where we are now, we then look at where we want to be. In an ever-changing world, how can we best help mothers to breastfeed their babies?

An important function of a nonprofit organization’s board of directors is to provide a vision and general direction for the organization’s activities—a sense of what’s important to do and how to do it. In preparation for decision-making at the Annual Session, we gathered input from Leaders, supportive health care professionals, and others. “If we had unlimited resources, what would best help LLLI succeed in its mission?” “If LLLI could do only one thing, what would it be?” Over 100 people and groups shared their insights, visions, and passions. In addition, Board members joined LLLI Directors in an all-day planning meeting in October 2001 and participated in a workshop with facilitators from the Chaordic Commons. During extensive in-depth discussions at the Board meeting, the following expression of our direction and commitment emerged.

Leadership Statement for 2002-2003

Our Mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

In pursuit of our mission, the LLLI Board of Directors encourages the LLLI community to join us in beginning to practice the ideas embodied in the current working set of principles being developed by the Drafting Team and distributed by the Review Network as part of the renewal initiative. We are focusing on increasing trust, promoting growth and development, and building capacity. Capacity includes elements such as the development of human and financial resources and the ability to explore beyond our usual patterns and perspectives. (Editor’s Note: To learn more about the working set of principles, email a member of the Review Network at ReviewNetwork at llli.org or the LLLI Board Secretary at BODsecretary at llli.org)

Other Actions Taken at the Meeting

Because a new fiscal year will start on April 1, the Board passed two motions related to the financial health of LLLI: The Board approved the LLLI budget for fiscal year 2002-2003 as submitted by the LLLI Executive Director on February 6, 2002.

And, a statement of philanthropic priorities that recognizes the importance of contributions: LLLI undertakes to raise $650,000 in contributions for the 2002-2003 fiscal year.

The Board’s role in leading La Leche League International includes setting the purpose and principles for organization-wide activities. In this role, we adopted a statement for guiding the work for the 2003 LLLI Conference.

The LLLI Grievance Procedure is written in the Policies and Standing Rules, Appendix 40. The procedure was new when it was adopted in July 1999. The current Grievance Commission, after working with the procedure, requested two changes. The first reflects the commission’s development of effective collaboration that uses group wisdom while respecting confidentiality. The second change is to reflect the Board’s reliance on the Grievance Commission to determine the appropriate length of time for a grievance, without an arbitrary time limit.

The Grievance Procedure, as set out in Appendix 40 of the Policies and Standing Rules, is changed:

Former Procedure

During the operation of the grievance procedure, the facilitator may consult with the coordinator of the Grievance Commission, who may bring other members of the Grievance Commission into the consultation, with the exclusion of Grievance Commission members whom parties to the grievance identified as those with whom they are unwilling to work. New Procedure During the operation of the grievance procedure, the facilitator may consult with other members of the Grievance Commission, with the exclusion of Commissioners whom parties to the grievance identified as those with whom they are unwilling to work.

Former Procedure

The Grievance Commission reserves the right to terminate the procedure after the passage of two years from the filling of the grievance if it determines that agreement cannot be reached or when financial resources are not available for further pursuit.

New Procedure

The Grievance Commission reserves the right to terminate the procedure if, after its best efforts, it determines that agreement cannot be reached, or when financial resources are not available for further pursuit.

Three new members were elected to the Board: Donna Cookson Martin (Canada), Sharon Matuszek (EUS) and Sharon Vines (EUS). Members re-elected were Marcia Lutostanski (Asia Pacific), Jane Berendsen-Hill (EUS), Jean Moneyhon (EUS), Mimi de Maza (Latin America), and Susan Deo (Member at Large).

Officers for the new year: Lynne Coates, Chairman; Anne Easterday, First Vice Chair; Nan Jolly, Second Vice Chair; Trudy Hartt, Secretary; Marcia Lutostanski, Treasurer; and Jane Berendsen-Hill, Member at Large to the Executive Committee.

LLLI 2003 Conference Purpose and Principles

The purpose and principles convey the priorities of the Board for the LLLI 2003 Conference, and are intended to provide a foundation for Conference planning and implementation, not limiting parameters.

La Leche League International’s mission affects and is affected by a worldwide community. In this context, the purpose of the LLLI Conference is to bring together the LLLI and breastfeeding communities to:

  • Support and encourage families in the areas of breastfeeding, mothering through breastfeeding, and parenting;
  • Educate one another about breastfeeding, how to help mothers breastfeed, and how to promote breastfeeding;
  • Inform one another about activities in pursuit of the LLLI mission.

This purpose is accomplished according to the following principles.

The Conference:

  • Welcomes the worldwide community interested in breastfeeding;
  • • Reaches out and welcomes; strives to eliminate cultural, social, and economic barriers to participation;
  • Endeavors to include attendance of members of the LLLI community from each country where LLL has a presence;
  • Is financially accessible to as many people as possible;
  • Extends the information, support, encouragement, education, and spirit of the Conference to the whole LLLI community (including those who do not attend) through both traditional and new technologies;
  • Is self-supporting financially.

Conference program and activities:

  • Are welcoming, comfortable, and accessible for all, especially families;
  • Reflect the diversity of the LLLI and breastfeeding communities worldwide and encourage sharing across barriers of language and culture.

Conference planning:

  • Encourages all interested parties—including individuals and groups beyond those currently served by LLL—to participate in the planning and implementation of the Conference.
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