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Report from the Board: Annual Meeting

LLLI Board of Directors
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 40 No. 3, June-July 2004, pp 50, 70-71.

The La Leche League International Board of Directors held its Annual Meeting on February 21 and 22, 2004, in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA. We welcomed Hedy Nuriel as LLLI Executive Director (ED) and enjoyed our first opportunity as a group to meet with her and work together. We are impressed and energized by her passion for and commitment to the LLLI mission. She brings broad experience and innovative ideas to LLL. We look forward to many years of working together for the benefit of La Leche League and the mothers and babies we serve.

The Board again wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Lynne Coates and Marcia Lutostanski who each, in turn, assumed the challenging role of being Acting Executive Director while continuing as Chairman of the Board.

Following is a summary of some of the work we did at this LLLI Board meeting.

From the Chairman, Marcia Lutostanski

It has been a year of transition with the Chairman of the Board stepping in as Acting ED and Board members completing tasks above and beyond traditional Board responsibilities. One of the things we did this year was position LLLI for reaching more mothers and babies with our breastfeeding message with the successful hiring of Hedy Nuriel as Executive Director.

I’m excited about the developing vision of a distributed organization—one where decisions are made by those who are directly relevant and affected and in which the decision-making process is transparent. Our vision is for an LLLI where all in the LLL community of Leaders, administrators, and staff—if they step forward and participate/take responsibility/do something —will be included in the “conversation.” A distributed organization reflects our history; there is no seniority among Leaders. The Board is being intentional with this movement toward distributive decision-making. It will take time to make these changes, but leaders (both large and small “L,” in whatever leadership role) throughout the organization are being and will continue to be consulted and actively involved in clarifying how LLL will operate in the future.

We (all in the LLL community) are learning as we make these changes, and how we do things today may not be how we do them tomorrow. While there are a variety of Leader experiences, we share common goals and are accountable to one another. We enjoy one another’s success. We each have the responsibility to carry LLL philosophy into the world. I have faith in the strength and vitality of our philosophy.

Board Elections and Thank You’s

Nominees presented by the Nominating Committee from the Zones and elected to the LLLI Board of Directors were: Western United States: Betty Crase, LaJuana Oswalt, Heidi BK Sloss, and Jane Tuttle; Canada: Donna Cookson Martin and Trudy Hartt; Europe: Rachel O’Leary and Carmen Vandenabeele. The Nominating Committee also presented a nominee for a Member at Large: Cathy Liles. A Member at Large was added to increase the financial expertise on the LLLI Board. The Board passed a motion, as per the Bylaws, to increase the number of Board members from 16 to 17.

The Board welcomed these three new and six returning Board members. We also said farewell and thank you to two retiring Board members: Lynne Coates, who has served on the Board since 1997, and Anne Easterday, who has served on the Board since 1999.

The Board officers elected for the year 2004-05 are: Chairman, Marcia Lutostanski; 1st Vice Chair, Heidi BK Sloss; 2nd Vice Chair, Nan Jolly; Secretary, Sharon Vines; Treasurer, Sharon Matuszek; Member at Large to the Executive Committee, Donna Cookson Martin.

The following members were elected to the LLLI Board of Directors Nominating Committee for the year 2004-05: Sharon Vines, Chairman; Betty Crase, Jean Moneyhon, Rachel O’Leary, and LaJuana Oswalt.

The LLLI Audit

The audit of LLLI finances for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2003 was completed by Mann, Weitz & Associates LLC. The Audited Financial Statements and the Statement of Financial Position were presented to the LLLI Board of Directors (see Leaven Feb-Mar 2004, pp. 2, 22). The Board was satisfied with the work of Mann, Weitz & Associates LLC and decided to retain the firm as auditor for the current fiscal year, ending March 31, 2004.

Financial Policies and Plans

The Board amended several financial policies to put them in line with current practice and in compliance with Illinois laws and the LLLI Bylaws. These were the Bank Accounts and Transfer of Funds and the Loans policies. Also, the Board passed a resolution to update the names of those who are authorized to manage our brokerage accounts. Based on the recommendation of the auditors, the Board passed a policy regarding the sale and reinvestment of donated stocks. This will ensure that stock donations given to LLLI will be cashed in a timely manner so that the funds can be used as the donor intended. More details on these new or amended financial policies can be found in the Board February 2004 actions on the LLLI Web site at www.laleche (password protected).

Budget for Fiscal Year 2004-05

The LLLI Board of Directors approved the budget for fiscal year 2004-05. This budget includes a surplus of $34,000 that will be held as reserve. The Board intends to increase reserve funds. The budget includes income from contributions of $375,000. The LLLI Board of Directors commits to actively help achieve this goal.


The LLLI Board of Directors formed a Transition Team to introduce Hedy Nuriel, LLLI Executive Director, to the LLL community and support her as she gains a more thorough understanding of the organization. Members of the Transition Team are Hedy Nuriel, Lynne Coates, Betty Crase, Susan Deo, Nan Jolly, Marcia Lutostanski, Sharon Matuszek, Jane Tuttle, and Hugh Switzer, a member of the Management Advisory Council.

On the recommendation of the LLLI Board Personnel Committee, the Board approved the LLLI Personnel Handbook/Policies, revised February 2004. The LLLI Executive Director revised the employee handbook to ensure that it includes current best practices and the Personnel Committee reviewed the changes and additions to the LLLI Personnel Handbook/Policies.

Grievance Commission

According to the terms of the Grievance Procedure ( Policies and Standing Rules Notebook Appendix 40), the Board of Directors appointed Eileen Harrison as Coordinator of the Grievance Commission for a two-year term, which will end at the annual session in 2006. The Board also renewed for one year the terms of Louise Cox, Joan Crothers, Ilene Traiger, and Nan Vollette and approved candidates proposed by the Grievance Commission for appointment to serve on the Grievance Commission.

Changes to the LLLI Policies and Standing Rules

The Board deleted the following policies from the Policies and Standing Rules Notebook. After the title of each policy is a background statement on why it was removed.

Bonus Policy, LLLI Staff: Decisions about staff bonuses are at the discretion of the Executive Director because they are personnel and budgetary implementation. Any possible bonus for the Executive Director is linked to her contractual agreement with LLLI.

Consultant, Hiring and Appendix 3—Guidelines for Hiring a Consultant: This policy and guidelines date from a time when consultants were rare and unusual. Today, use of a consultant is standard business practice. The policy and associated guidelines are no longer relevant or needed.

Pilot Projects and Appendix 11—Pilot Project Guidelines: This policy and guidelines, written to allow for a specific situation, are no longer relevant. Policies normally cover a myriad of situations that are not covered in the Bylaws. LLLI Board of Directors, LLLI staff, and/or LLL Leaders may undertake new and innovative projects that support our mission.

The LLLI Board of Directors also amended several policies in the Policies and Standing Rules Notebook. Books Sold by LLLI was amended to read: “All books offered for sale by LLLI shall be selected from the LLLI Bibliography.” Mailing Lists was amended to read: “Rental of the LLLI mailing lists is permitted. Names of individuals wishing to be excluded from these lists shall not be included in any rental.” These policies now reflect our current practice of the LLLI Executive Director having the responsibility to delegate tasks to staff members. Also, the policy Materials of a Medical Nature in LLLI Publications: Review was amended to read: “All material of a medical nature shall be published only after competent professional review.” The previous wording of the policy limited the review of materials of a medical nature to members of the LLLI Health Advisory Council. This is not common practice within our global organization and hinders publications outside the USA. Competent professional review meets industry standards and LLL expectations.

Professional Advisory Board Memberships

The Professional Advisory Board (PAB) Committee gathered information about the potential for renewal, retirement, and /or invitation to emeritus status for PAB members completing their current five-year terms of service in 2003.
The following members of the LLLI Professional Advisory Board, Health Advisory Council, were invited to continue to serve for an additional five years: Naomi Baumslag, MD, MPH; Hein Bruinse, MD; Leo Buchanan, MB, ChB, FRACP; Geoff Cheyne, BDS; Allan S. Cunningham, MD, FAAP; Jay Gordon, MD, IBCLC, FAAP; Cynthia R. Howard, MD, MPH; Andre Lalonde, MD; Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, FAAP; James J. McKenna, PhD; Marianne Neifert, MD, FAAP; Jack Newman, MD; Michel Odent, MD; Jairo Osorno, MD; John T. Queenan, MD, FACOG; Jan Riordan, EdD, ARNP, IBCLC, FAAN; Judith Roepke, RD, PhD; Richard Schanler, MD, FAAP; William Sears, MD, FAAP, FRCP; Christina M. Smillie, MD, FAAP, IBCLC; Harry Torney, M Dent Sc; and William G. White, MD.

The following members of the LLLI Professional Advisory Board, Health Advisory Council, were thanked for their years of service and retired: Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD, and Maryelle Vonlanthen, MD, FAAP.

The following member of the LLLI Professional Advisory Board, Legal Advisory Council, was invited to continue to serve for an additional five years: Catherine Marquis, JD. The following member of the LLLI Professional Advisory Board, Legal Advisory Council, is thanked for her years of service and retired: Ursula Weitzel, JD.

The following member of the LLLI Professional Advisory Board, Management Advisory Council, is invited to continue to serve for an additional five years: Hugh Switzer.


The LLLI Board of Directors received a proposal from the LLLUSA Steering Committee. The Board acknowledges the effort put into preparing this proposal. It was discussed at length and discussions are continuing.

Future Board Meetings

The next LLLI Board meeting will take place August 20-23, 2004. The following two Board meetings will be November 4-8, 2004 and March 3-7, 2005.

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