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How the LLLI Board Works from Year to Year

Susan R. Deo
LLLI Board of Directors
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 40 No. 4, August-September 2004, pp. 74, 94-95.

The LLLI Board starts its "Board Year" with a Planning Day, held the day after the Board’s Annual Session, the first session of the calendar year. This year our Planning Day took place on Monday, February 23. To plan our work for the year, we looked at: (1) what we accomplished during the past year, (2) recommendations provided by previous committees and workgroups, and (3) the needs of our organization. From this information, we listed goals for the year and prioritized the work.

Most of the work of the La Leche League International Board of Directors is accomplished via committees and workgroups. Some of this work is governed by our LLLI Bylaws, and the LLLI Policies and Standing Rules (PSR) govern some. Since LLLI is incorporated in the state of Illinois, USA Standing Committees and Committees of the Board need to follow Illinois Statutes governing nonprofit corporations. Workgroups change from year to year and are more task-oriented. They do not have the same legal requirements as Standing Committees and Committees. Once we determine the tasks for each committee and workgroup, Board members share their interests and preferences by volunteering for assignments. The two Vice Chairmen then work with the Chairman of the Board to assign a Board member as chair/facilitator for each committee and workgroup. The chair/facilitator of the committee or workgroup takes primary responsibility for its work during the coming year, until the next Annual Session. Her first task, in consultation with the Vice Chairmen, is to invite people to join her committee or workgroup.

In addition to Board members, Leaders, members, and other interested parties may be members of committees or workgroups. They have volunteered or been invited because they have a particular interest or expertise that is desirable for accomplishment of the committee/ workgroup goals. According to Illinois statutes, Board members must be a majority on LLLI Standing Committees. Our Bylaws currently list Audit, Bylaws, Finance, Personnel, Program Services, and Resource Development as Standing Committees (Article VIII, Section 2). The Executive Committee and the Nominating Committee are the exceptions, in that their membership is made up of only Board members and membership is determined by election (see LLLI Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 1 and Section 4, respectively). Individual LLLI staff members also serve as staff liaisons on some of the Board committees. Committees and workgroups consult with the LLL community, the LLLI Advisory Councils, and other Board members as they proceed with their work over the year. One month before each Board meeting, every active committee and workgroup presents a preliminary report to the full Board for discussion and questions/comments. Reports presented at Board meetings then become appendices to the minutes of that meeting.

Are you interested in joining a Board Committee or Workgroup? We welcome LLL Leaders and community members to participate with us. We appreciate your ideas and experiences in this important work for the future of LLLI. After the Annual Session, each committee/workgroup disbands, so your commitment would be for no more than a year.

Following are brief descriptions of many of the Board committees and workgroups for the current year, including the names and photos of the Chair or Co-Chairs. If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help, please feel free to contact the Chairs or Co-Chairs (see sidebar for contact information or visit the BOD Web page at /BOD/BOD.html).

Executive Committee: Marcia Lutostanski, Board Chairman

The Executive Committee consists of the Board’s elected officers. This Committee holds certain legal responsibilities, particularly in emergency situations when the Board cannot hold a meeting (See LLLI Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 1). Members of the 2004-2005 Executive Committee are: Marcia Lutostanski, Chairman; Heidi BK Sloss, First Vice Chairman; Nan Jolly, Second Vice Chairman; Sharon Vines, Secretary; Sharon Matuszek, Treasurer; and Donna Cookson Martin, Member at Large to the Executive Committee. As Chairman of the Board, Marcia is an ex officio member of all committees and workgroups. Each committee and workgroup (with the exception of the Executive Committee and the Nominating Committee) also has a Vice Chairman serving as a support person. The Secretary and Treasurer have significant responsibilities in addition to their committee assignments. The Member at Large takes on special projects as needed.

Nominating Committee: Sharon Vines

The Board elects the members of the Nominating Committee. Members can serve no longer than two consecutive years (See Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 4). In addition to Sharon, members for this year include Betty Crase, Jean Moneyhon, LaJuana Oswalt, and Rachel O’Leary. The Nominating Committee is responsible for presenting names of candidates for membership on the Board and a slate of officers to the Board for a vote at the Annual Session. The Committee notifies the LLLI Zones regarding nomination procedures and the qualifications, experience, and commitment that the Board is looking for in Zone nominees. Then they work with the Zones as they prepare to submit nominees to the Board. In recent years, the Nominating Committee has also been responsible for activities related to Board orientation, development, and evaluation.

Action Committee: Cathy Liles and Mimi de Maza

The Action Committee advises the Board on relevant political and consumer activities that might result in either legislative or financial policy and/or program support for breastfeeding in both national and international institutions and organizations. Several years ago the Committee developed a group to advise them on matters related to the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes. The Committee Chairs invite people from around the world who are familiar with the International Code to be part of the LLLI WHO Code Advisors. The Advisors assist with Leaders’ questions relating to the International Code. The Advisors are invited for one-year terms. (For more information about the International Code, see Leaven April-May 2004 Board Column by Rachel O’Leary.)

Audit Committee: Jane Tuttle and LaJuana Oswalt

Enlisting a firm to conduct the independent audit and overseeing this work are very important functions of all nonprofit boards of directors. The primary responsibilities of the Audit Committee are to present to the Board: (1) a recommendation of an independent public accountant to be employed for preparation of the audit for the current fiscal year, and (2) the auditor’s report and any response to questions regarding contents and procedures used.

Bylaws Committee: Carmen

Vandenabeele and LaJuana Oswalt

The Bylaws Committee advises the Board on matters pertaining to the basic rules of governance of the organization, and consults with appropriate legal counsel, as needed, to ensure that the Bylaws conform with laws of the state of Illinois, USA. Last year’s Committee collected comments on the LLLI purpose from the LLL community, considered purposes of other nonprofit organizations, and facilitated many months of Board discussion on the purpose of LLLI. This culminated in the first reading of a proposed amendment to the Purpose statement in the Bylaws. This year’s Committee will continue collecting comments regarding the proposed amendment to the Purpose before the second reading at the August Board meeting (see article in Leaven June-July 2004 about the February 2004 Board Actions). The PSR Workgroup, a part of the Bylaws Committee, is charged with reviewing the policies in the LLLI Policies and Standing Rules (PSR), to ensure these policies are up-to-date, relevant, and appropriate for the global LLLI organization.

Finance Committee: Sharon Matuszek

The Finance Committee is responsible for advising the Board on matters pertaining to the fiscal and/or financial operation of LLLI. This year the Committee will also be reviewing financial policies of the organization and developing any further policies deemed necessary. (See discussion of some policies that were changed or added in February 2004 in the Leaven June-July 2004 Board Column.)
Budget Subcommittee of the Finance Committee: Cathy Liles
The Budget Subcommittee of the Finance Committee works with the LLLI Finance Director, Executive Director, and other staff Directors in preparing the LLLI Budget for the next fiscal year. The LLLI Budget is presented, with recommendations, to the Board and the Board votes on the budget at the Annual Session.

Personnel Committee: Betty Crase and Donna Cookson Martin

The Personnel Committee advises the Board on matters pertaining to LLLI personnel, both paid and volunteer. This year the primary responsibility of this Committee will be to conduct the annual Board evaluation and appraisal of the Executive Director (ED), with assistance of the Appraisal Committee, a special committee which consists of the Chairman, Vice Chairmen, and Standing Committee Chairmen. (For more information about the ED Appraisal, see Appendix 14 of the PSR, Guidelines for the Appraisal of the Executive Director).

Executive Director Transition

and Support Team: Susan Deo

The Transition Team is a group formed for this particular year to help introduce our Executive Director, Hedy Nuriel, to the LLL community, and to support and mentor her as she gains a more thorough understanding of our organization. Members of the team are: Betty Crase; Jane Tuttle; Lynne Coates; Marcia Lutostanski; Nan Jolly; Sharon Matuszek; and Hugh Switzer, a member of the Management Advisory Council.

Mothering Experience Workgroup: Donna Cookson Martin and Phoebe Kerness

This new Work-group of Board members and others is in the process of being established. The purpose will be to coordinate discussions throughout the LLLI community about mothering experience as it pertains to a mother’s eligibility to apply for leadership.

Program Services Committee: Sharon Matuszek

The Program Services Committee advises the Board on matters pertaining to the delivery of LLLI volunteer programs and services. For the past few years, workgroups and subcommittees have done most of the work of this Committee. The Chair of the Committee, therefore, has been primarily responsible for overseeing the activities of the workgroups. Below is information about several of the important workgroups for this year.

Letters to LLLI Workgroup: Cathy Liles and Sharon Vines

The LLLI Board receives many letters from Leaders, members, and other interested individuals. This "communications" workgroup is responsible for coordinating Board responses to the letters we receive. Often, the Letters Workgroup members compose letters; other times they invite another Board member to write a response. If the letter is directed to the Board, replies are always shared with the full Board. When appropriate, the Co-Chairs forward the letter to an LLLI staff member or LLL administrator if s/he is better able to address the question or concern.

LLLI Conference Liaison: Donna Cookson Martin

As the Board Liaison to the LLLI Conference Committee, Donna participates in 2005 LLLI Conference Team planning meetings and shares those planning activities with the Board.

World Assembly Workgroup: LaJuana Oswalt and Phoebe Kerness

This Workgroup is responsible for preliminary planning of the 2005 World Assembly, which will be held the day before the 2005 LLLI Conference. Next year’s Workgroup will be responsible for completing the planning, for organizing this Board-hosted event, and for conducting the evaluation of the 2005 World Assembly.

Resource Development Committee: Jean Moneyhon and Susan Deo

The Resource Development Committee advises and makes recommendations to the Board on matters pertaining to donations and grants and public relations; they also coordinate Board participation in fundraising for LLLI. The Committee liaises with the LLLI Funding Development Department, consults/discusses fundraising activities, and assists in building LLLI relationships with donors. It also facilitates the Board Campaign to raise funds in the last quarter of the calendar year.

Commercial Relations Workgroup: Rachel O’Leary

The Commercial Relations Workgroup facilitates discussions within the LLLI community about working with commercial entities (in relationships such as sponsorships, partnerships, corporate donations, etc.).

Planning Committee: Nan Jolly

The Planning Committee facilitates the Board’s planning for the future of the organization. For the past few years, most of the work of this Committee has been accomplished through various workgroups. The Chair of the Committee, therefore, has been primarily responsible for overseeing the activities of the workgroups. Below is information about several of the important workgroups for this year.

LLL USA Workgroup: Jane Tuttle, Heidi BK Sloss, Rachel O’Leary, and Susan Deo

This Workgroup is liaising with the Executive Director, the LLL USA Steering Committee and USA Leaders as LLLI progresses toward a global and distributed organization. This is the first year that the World Breastfeeding Week Celebration has been the responsibility of a group of Leaders who were drawn into the process by their interest and passion. Look for other USA based programs and activities to be done in similar ways.

Renewal/Framework Workgroup: LaJuana Oswalt and Rachel O’Leary

This Workgroup facilitates the work of the Board in preparation for the inaugural activities of the Voluntary Interim Framework.

Professional Advisory Board Committee: Phoebe Kerness

The Professional Advisory Board (PAB) Committee advises the Board on matters pertaining to the Professional Advisory Board (Health Advisory Council, Legal Advisory Council, and Management Advisory Council) and the Medical Associates. The Committee is currently reviewing results of a survey conducted last year to find out about professional advisory boards throughout the global LLL organization and is exploring ways to streamline appointments and renewals to the PAB. Also, via the PAB Committee, Mimi de Maza, LLLI Representative to the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) Board, communicates with the LLLI Board of Directors about the work of that Board.How to Contact Board Officers and Committee/Workgroup Chairs

Betty Crase Personnel - bcrase at
Carmen Vandenabeele Bylaws - cvandenabeele at
Cathy Liles Action, Budget, Letters to LLLI - cliles at
Donna Cookson Martin Member at Large, LLLI Conference Liaison, Mothering Experience, Personnel - dcmartin at
Heidi BK Sloss 1st Vice Chairman, LLL USA - hbksloss at
Jane Tuttle Audit, LLL USA - jtuttle at
Jean Moneyhon Resource Development - jmoneyhon at
LaJuana Oswalt Audit, Bylaws, Renewal/Framework, World Assembly - loswalt at
Marcia Lutostanski Chairman of the Board, ex officio member all committees/workgroups - mlutostanski at
Mimi de Maza Action, LLLI representative to IBLCE Board - mdemaza at
Nan Jolly 2nd Vice Chairman, Planning - njolly at
Phoebe Kerness Mothering Experience, PAB, World Assembly - pkerness at
Rachel O’Leary Commercial Relations, LLL USA, Renewal/Framework - roleary at
Sharon Matuszek Treasurer, Finance, Program Services - smatuszek at
Sharon Vines Secretary ,Letters to LLLI, Nominating Committee - svines at
Susan Deo ED Transition Team, LLL USA, Resource Development - sdeo at

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