14. April 4, 2012

Association Working Group Conference Call
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Remember to follow all results at musicassociation.wordpress.com. The minutes are posted pretty quickly after each call – please post any corrections that you might have. Also. Please let Stan know by email that you were on the call if you’re not on the list below.

ROLL CALL: Beth Babcock, Patrick Slevin, Louise Ghandi, Louise King Lanzilotti, Mark Churchill, Kassie Lord, Steve Liu, Liz from Texas, Mary Worth, Mark Sarich, Patrick from Austin, Marie Montilla, Steve from Hawai‘i, Dalouge Smith, Katie Wyatt, Jennifer from ORCHkids, Marie Montilla, Leni Boorstein

Please let Beth know you were here, if not listed.

Meeting in Chicago, etc.: Bob Fiedler offered his assistance with any questions or logistics about the trip to Chicago. He has sent an email with some recommendations for hotels and Beth will ask him to update it. In Chicago there will be a field trip on Friday afternoon followed by a working dinner. On Saturday we will work all day and evening with meals provided. On Sunday we will work from morning until 2pm. At some point we will work in subgroups – Bylaws, ratification process, ramp up plan for the association.

Good news – a wonderful attorney has offered to serve as pro bono counsel for us. She works for a large international law firm. She’s checking with her firm for support, and hopes to advise us during the drafting process.

Overall pattern of responses over time: Since the first survey, we have averaged about 31-35 respondents per week, with a high of 44. About 95% of respondents were from nucleos. The rest were leaders in the field like Eric Booth. This is an excellent level of participation.

Survey Report

Question on Three-Tier Membership – Basically, most agreed (ranking of 1.71). There were many comments about the need for more definition of these levels.

Question on Names for Aspiring Groups – There were many suggestions and opinions about the suggestions. Beth suggests a forced choice – taking out the lowest ones and having a vote on the most popular. Katie Wyatt suggested that the term non-voting members would keep it clear that those people don’t have a say in the decisions made by the group. Louise Ghandi suggested that only the top tier have the word Member in it – that alone might alleviate confusion. Mark in St. Louis reminded us that the second tier is a temporary position and likes the Aspiring term.

Beth reminded us that both the second and third tiers would be non-voting, so we need to keep clarity about that.

Katie asked if it would be possible to have Members as one tier and everyone else not having a name with that word in it, all in one category. Beth said that there are somewhat different benefits for those who might want to become full members than for all other secondary groups.

Kassie at Baltimore agreed with Katie, in the sense that we are trying not to decide on inclusion. Beth said we’re looking for names as placeholders. Louise Ghandi said that a forced choice might be a good idea, but if the choices are too narrow, it might be difficult. She commented that “poor countries” used to be call Third World and are currently called developing countries – that has some negative connotation.

Margaret said there will probably be a spectrum of intensity in this second tier, so that might be a place for people to park for several years. Someone said that it’s not yet clear what the first two tiers are and we might need to define them first. Kassie suggested that we choose a temporary general name for each group and wait until we define them. Another person said that we have already done a lot of work to make three tiers. Louise Lanzilotti pointed out that the first and third tiers have pretty strong agreement already, and that we can use a parking term for the middle group until we can get a better name.

Katie said that a term for developing members is fine with her, but agreed with a common opinion that Developing sound fairly condescending. She would like input from all nucleos to get opinions, so that we’re sure we’ve involved every leader in the process. Beth said that we have been sending out surveys, results, minutes, summaries of each week and a place to see everything every week, so all are being informed. The ratification committee will be working on how to get the widest amount of input from everyone.

Third Tier Membership – almost 60% agreed on the term Friend.

Clarification of Developing member definition and benefits – all of the following criteria were affirmed.

  • Be open and currently serving children (1.68)
  • Be inspired by or built upon the values of El Sistema (1.32)
  • Provide programs in a manner that ensures equal access to all children regardless of ability to pay (1.23)
  • Emphasize ensemble performance as a core element of curriculum (1.29)
  • Strive to create social change through music (1.35)
  • Be based in the community the program serves (1.65).

Are there other criteria that the group would like to see included on the list?

Mark in St. Louis stated his nervousness about clarity around inclusiveness. Beth said that the core definition already includes serving children who are access barred.

Kassie in Baltimore asked about the term “be open and currently serving children”. How would a person wanting to start a program come in? As a Friend or under the umbrella of another organization. Would they have access to all of the information? No – under the current definition they would have educational information, general communications, data and outcomes. The group has basically voted to include only existing programs in this category.

Mark in St. Louis affirms that category as we have it. Leni is comfortable with the category as it is also – there is a way for these people to get assistance from others.

Beth asked for additional criteria at this point for this category. Leni asked about mentorship as a characteristic – Beth said that was discussed in terms of core membership. So far it’s not required. It may be included later in the process, under values or in another way.

Beth likes El Sistema’s concept of Being Not Yet Being, and says we’re modeling it!

Board Composition: Size – the group liked a size larger than eight members for the Board and wanted an odd number on the Board. Beth brought up the issue of how we will meet nationally, in terms of Board size and the cost of convening. What do we think?

Margaret said that with currently exploding technology, we don’t need to worry as much about Board size and cost for meeting. Mark (St. Louis) agreed and thought that we might want people from various regions. Louise Ghandi wondered if the balance between large and small, regional and centralized might be balanced through committees. Steven weighed in about the concept of creating regional representation. He is in favor of a larger general Board with a system of regional representation, and a smaller executive Board.

Beth said that she would re-query the group with some other numbers, including odd numbers and a size for the Board, between 13 and 23.

Executive Director as Voting Member of the Board – the group basically rejected this concept (3.33 ranking) because of conflict with the Board responsibility for oversight.  Ex Officio membership is considered better.

Louise Ghandi asked whether, if this is a common practice in non-profits, why are we against it. Beth explained that sometimes the Board needs to meet in executive session to practice its oversight, but being an ex officio member allows the ED to e informed.

Beth will re-query the Board to make sure about the non-voting (Ex Officio) status.

Other issues not on the survey

What is a core member? What about a parent organization with multiple programs, program directors, etc.  Etc. What is the definition of a program, as far as voting? This is a sticky wicket, as they say. I think Leni said that this could be difficult to decide until we know what we want to be. Margaret asked what would be a benefit to the organization. She feels that in a group with several partners, all should be able to be members. Katie agreed, I think.

Mark said that we live in a country with corporate structure for large organizations, and that in a larger organization it might create a problem to have various different members all included as members. Louise Ghandi said that no one in the group wants to be exclusive, but the question at hand is how the individual members will be weighted – will the larger groups have more influence by having more voices involved? Margaret said that the more members the more influence we could have. Leni said that she is not afraid of dominance by large organizations.

Mark said that another way of looking at this might be to bar the number of votes per organization – Beth said that we’ve done that already in our discussions. We decided that one program would have one vote. If you follow an organization up to its Board – if a Board has the fiduciary oversight of a program that defines it. If many programs report to one Board, that ultimately defines the membership.

This question will not be resolved today, but needs more discussion. Beth said that she would ask the Fellows to send out a report about the structure of existing nucleos. The group liked the idea.

Margaret added the thought that we want to leverage our capacity to learn. Within this network there are many people innovating in various ways and wants us to preserve and support our capacity to learn from that.

Beth said that we don’t want to confuse voting membership from connection to the organization.

Katie wants us to be as inclusive and expansive as possible, while keeping some form of Board that ties us together.

Next week we’ll talk more about mission and vision, corporate structure and El Sistema values. Beth encourages all to participate.

Beth thanked everyone.

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