[Owasp-board] [Governance] Proposal to Eliminate "At Large" Board Positions

Paul Ritchie paul.ritchie at owasp.org
Thu Nov 5 20:32:42 UTC 2015

+1 on Matt K comments below about focusing Board members/leaders on
specific priorities and goals for the organization, rather than changing
the bylaws with a specific definition.  Our priorities & goals will shift
from year to year, and personally I think our current Bylaw description of
a Board Member at Large addresses the responsibility to take action on
various initiatives.

>From OWASP Bylaws:
*Board Member at large regularly attends board meetings and important
related meetings, volunteers for and willingly accepts assignments and
completes them thoroughly and on time, *

Best Regards, Paul Ritchie
OWASP Executive Director
paul.ritchie at owasp.org

On Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 9:52 AM, Matt Konda <matt.konda at owasp.org> wrote:

> Josh,
> I've been thinking more about this and I wonder if it makes more sense to
> combine the discussion around board roles and strategic goals.  It may
> sound crazy but bear with me a minute here.
> I get that "at-large" is ambiguous and that projects, chapters and
> governance are three areas that are foundational and intuitively require
> ongoing attention.  I would argue that membership, sponsors, IT, events and
> developer evangelism could all be equally important responsibilities that
> board members, along with community and staff take on and work at
> tirelessly.  I'm sure there are others.
> To me, if we do a good job defining strategic goals and treat those as
> projects (not OWASP Projects, but projects with a plan and milestones,
> etc.) then hold one board member accountable for understanding the plan and
> reporting progress against it, it accomplishes a similar objective while
> being flexible to the defined strategic goals each year.
> For example, this year we could see our strategic goals through these
> lenses and build small teams including board members to work on each:
> * Website
> * Chapters
> * Projects
> * Developer Outreach
> * Membership
> * Sponsors
> * Operational Efficiency
> I think I would rather not see explicit bylaw changes to define roles.
> That just seems heavy weight to me.  I also agree with what Jim said
> yesterday - that we all need to be advocates for chapters, projects, etc.
> Also, as I said in the meeting, I think we want to strike a balance
> between leading and making OWASP seem like a top down board driven
> organization - when in fact, we are (I know we agree here) really a
> community driven organization.
> My two cents.
> Matt
> On Sat, Oct 3, 2015 at 2:39 PM, OWASP <tomb at owasp.org> wrote:
>> Excellent resources available on the topic from Blue
>> https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/board-roles-and-responsibilities
>> Tom Brennan
>> 973-506-9304
>> On Oct 1, 2015, at 3:11 PM, Tobias <tobias.gondrom at owasp.org> wrote:
>> A few thoughts:
>> 1. I would also very much like to see the committees be build by the
>> community, however, at this point, I get the feeling that this is not
>> happening. Not quite sure why. But I see this as the reality we have to
>> accept for the time being.
>> 2. for the areas, actually, I have a different view, I would be fine for
>> the board members to be "at large". But I can see a use for certain focus
>> points to be driven by individual board members. Btw. most boards have
>> sub-committees (chaired by some of the board members) that focus on
>> specific areas and develop mature proposals before they are presented to
>> the whole board for tweaking and approval. In fact that would probably be
>> useful for us as well as it could improve the maturity of proposal drafts
>> coming to the board meetings. I don't mind to have a broad discussion, but
>> in a number of cases, when 2-3 people work on refining a proposal first,
>> that can later streamline the overall discussion in the board and with the
>> community.
>> So I rather not see these focus areas in the hand of one board member,
>> but could see us have one board member lead a small design team for certain
>> areas on preparing the drafts to a better quality level. IMHO that does not
>> mean that each and every board member has to take on one area. Of course, I
>> would strongly encourage sharing and balancing of work load on these tasks.
>> My thoughts on this. Not sure that answers your question.
>> Best regards, Tobias
>> On 29/09/15 16:58, Josh Sokol wrote:
>> I have no issues with rebuilding the committees, but I feel that they
>> should be built by the community, not by the Board.  This is less
>> operational and more "vision" of the organization in those areas.
>> ~josh
>> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 6:33 PM, Matt Konda <matt.konda at owasp.org> wrote:
>>> Josh,
>>> Interesting idea.  I like that it emphasizes projects and chapters
>>> explicitly.
>>> What would your thinking be on that versus rebuilding committees and
>>> asking all board members to be active in at least one committee?
>>> Matt
>>> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 3:10 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Board,
>>>> I wanted to make a proposal regarding the positions that are determined
>>>> at the beginning of the year amongst the new Board members.  The more I
>>>> think about it, the more I dislike the concept of an "At Large" Board
>>>> position.  I get it.  It's kind a catch-all for those who don't have a
>>>> specific role, but I would like to change it to be more specific.  I would
>>>> like to propose to change the Board positions to:
>>>> Chair
>>>> Vice Chair
>>>> Treasurer
>>>> Secretary
>>>> Governance
>>>> Projects
>>>> Chapters
>>>> The idea being that these "At Large" positions are now given specific
>>>> areas of focus.  They are tasked with providing updates and contemplating
>>>> initiatives that would provide value in those areas.  We can work on a more
>>>> formal write-up later, but I wanted to see what others thought about the
>>>> idea.
>>>> ~josh
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