Looking back – At The Board Table 5

This is the third blog I write this board year, and it will be my last. Not only because we're nearing the end of the board year, but also because my second term as a board member, and therefore as a chair, will end at the end of this month. I'd like to take the opportunity to look back on special period, from a more personal view.

2014 was my first year on the board. In that year, the board started a discussion on the way forward for the organization. Going back in my notes from the first board meeting, I can see we discussed moving from Policy Governance as a model, to using the Policy Governance principles as a system to help decide organization 'what is good'. Although this is still an important question for us, we have made an enormous progression as an organization.

That was six years ago. Six months ago, things were looking totally different – much better now. The discussion that we had started in 2014 has transformed our organization. A new name, new leadership on the board and operational team (after the tragic passing away of Caroline Oliver), new faces on the team of volunteers, new programs like the PGP program…

In 2019 we had had our first conference under our new name, and at the end of that year we were in a healthy position financially after a few difficult years. We were looking forward to discuss the abundance of plans for the future that our CEO had developed.

Only six weeks ago, things were looking totally different -- again. The COVID-19 pandemic had brought the world to a halt, providing unprecedented challenges for everyone, including Govern. That challenge is not only practical (converting a live conference into a virtual one, for instance) but also strategic. What does this mean for our purpose, the change we want to see in the world?

I think that this crisis makes it ever more important to have effective governance. Effective governance means accountability in the first place. Accountable to owners and their values. If there ever was a need for Policy Governance, it is now. We can rebuild our society with organizations that truly serve their communities, if we want to.

That has been the motivation with which I came on the board, and it still is my motivation now. I hope to serve as a volunteer for a long time to come, enjoying the companionship of all those good people I met on the way. Looking forward to seeing you again. Online this year, in person sometime in the future! 

Hartger Wassink

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