ASQ Board of Directors Primer

Prior to joining the ASQ Board of Directors way back in 2013, I must admit that I had little idea of who comprised the board of directors, how often they met, what they did during those meetings, and the general policies that the board must follow. So let me share some basic information about the board, at least as I know it from 2013 forward.

For the past ten years, the board has been made up of 20 elected ASQ members – yes, paying members just like you or me. Four of those members have one-year terms: Past Chair, Chair, Chair Elect, and the Treasurer. Having served as Treasurer in 2020, I can attest to the fact that each of these four have gone through an extensive nomination process which includes completing a questionnaire, a resume, and interviews. While you do not have to be an ASQ Fellow, you do have to be a Senior Member of the Society.

Next, the board has six elected members from the geographic communities who are sitting regional directors. These six serve two-year terms with half of them being elected in odd-numbered years, the other three in even-numbered years. This way there is some degree of continuity on the board. Similarly, there are six elected members from the technical communities who also have two-year terms; three again elected in alternating years. Each of these twelve has gone through a formal election process, not simply drawn from a hat.

Finally, there are four At-Large members, each serving two-year terms and also have ½ of them elected in even-numbered years and ½ in odd-numbered years. So that gives us the total of twenty. None of the twenty are paid like in some boards; they/we are all volunteers who try to represent our members the best we can and work to ensure the longevity of the Society.

Going back in time, in 2013 the board met 3 times in person. The schedule has been that for a while – February board meeting, meeting after WCQI, and a November board meeting (typically in Milwaukee at Headquarters). I say typically as since the start of the pandemic, the board only has met one time in person, the other meetings have been virtual. In 2014 or 2015, an August teleconference meeting was added. Also, with the Covid outbreak, there have been numerous additional virtual board meetings or information sharing sessions. While my first meeting in 2013 was a two full-day event, since late 2016 as part of a cost-saving measure, the board meetings have been typically only a one-day business meeting. With the virtual meetings nowadays, they may be five to six hours in length since most of us cannot sit in front of a computer all day!

This is not to say there are not more meetings than these. Often biweekly, the Officers of the Society including the CEO, meet to discuss current happenings that sometimes cannot wait for a board meeting. For example, even though we had just had a board meeting a few weeks prior, in March 2020 we met to discuss ASQ’s plans as a result of the immediate shutdown of operations in the US.

So, what happens at a board meeting? If truly interested, the approved board minutes are available, but in short, the meetings cover a variety of topics, from discussing the financials of the Society (also available), report outs from the GCC and TCC, information on various board initiatives like NextGen, thoughts about where we see ASQ in five years, and reviews of our successes or shortcomings. As a few examples from the past: the current Membership Model was presented to the board for their approval; the creation of the GCC was voted upon; approval of any new or modified ASQ policies; to increase membership dues or not is voted upon each year; the Society’s strategic plan for future years is approved; a review of our investments; discussion about student branches; the approval of new sections; and Society operations all over the world are evaluated. From this short list, you can possibly see these meetings cover a wide gambit of topics. Usually there isn’t enough time to deep dive every agenda item as there is usually so much to cover.

There are usually several motions to be voted upon at each meeting, a few easy ones like approving the next group of ASQ Fellows, but other times there is great debate and consideration. Again, the board is made up of members, each of which has their own ASQ journey, insight, and passion. Thus, what I believe is best for the Society may not completely align with another director even though we have friends for many years. None of us have a crystal ball; if so, I would have bought Microsoft stock thirty years ago 😊

Although more could be written, that is probably enough for today. I do expect many comments about the board to be posted after this, maybe not all flattering – that I can at least foresee!! I will close with these thoughts. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to do what is best for the Society, not for any particular entity or person. Board members volunteer their time to represent YOU and want to have ASQ be around for a long time for both current and future members.

May 2023 be a QUALITY year for us all.

4 Replies

@Steven Schuelka , thank you for this informative posting. I have three wishes from the future BoD. I also recommend that BoD members should be impartial, objective, and detached (like an external auditor) to enable your objectivity and remove any hesitation to make tough but necessary decisions.

  • Wish 1: Transparency: ASQ members should not have to wait 3 months to learn what motions were discussed and how votes were cast. Motions to be voted on should be communicated in advance ("Notice of Motion" per Parliamentary procedure). Directors who represent Geographic and Technical Communities should discuss the proposed motions with their constituent members prior to Board meetings, and vote according to the consensus of those whom they purport to represent.
  • Wish 2: HQ G&A Cost Controls: Better Business Bureau recommends an upper limit of 35% for G&A costs for charities and non-profits. Since 2020, the G&A costs of ASQ (according to published audited annual financial statements) have exceeded 50% of annual revenues. This excessive overhead is correctable and controllable if the BoD chooses to hold HQ accountable and impose tough but necessary cost controls.
    • Prior to transformation, when ASQ kept its G&A costs at or below 35% of revenues, it generally managed to have break-even financial performance without having to sell-off assets or investments.
    • When G&A costs consume 50% of revenue, that forces ASQ to raise its prices and margins for ASQ's products and services, making them uncompetitive compared to other providers. This has also led to a reduction in attendance at WCQI in 2022 (900 in-person attendees, down from historical levels of 2,000-3,000).
  • Wish 3: ASQ Member Retention: This should be an “all hands on deck” critical priority for the sustainability of the Society. Positive engagement of members should be the #1 priority.
    • Prior to ASQ's Transformation (2012-2016), Member Retention was in the range of 75-80%, during the Community Development era, when Member Units were allocated $27/member ($18 for sections, $9 for divisions) in accordance with ASQ's Bylaws.
    • Since Transformation and the Component Relations era, the overall member retention has dropped to below 65% for the Society. When Senior and Fellow members are excluded, the retention rate is below 60% for the Society and declining year over year.

@Steven Schuelka thanks for sharing. I wonder what would be the purpose of this post, because I did not fully understand. Are you asking for a feedback, help or just sharing about board. If for feedback - please optimize web platforms for mobile devices. You have good stuff in training but it is really terrible on mobile devices

@Steven Schuelka bitlife:

Prior to joining the ASQ Board of Directors way back in 2013, I must admit that I had little idea of who comprised the board of directors, how often they met, what they did during those meetings, and the general policies that the board must follow. So let me share some basic information about the board, at least as I know it from 2013 forward.

For the past ten years, the board has been made up of 20 elected ASQ members – yes, paying members just like you or me. Four of those members have one-year terms: Past Chair, Chair, Chair Elect, and the Treasurer. Having served as Treasurer in 2020, I can attest to the fact that each of these four have gone through an extensive nomination process which includes completing a questionnaire, a resume, and interviews. While you do not have to be an ASQ Fellow, you do have to be a Senior Member of the Society.

Next, the board has six elected members from the geographic communities who are sitting regional directors. These six serve two-year terms with half of them being elected in odd-numbered years, the other three in even-numbered years. This way there is some degree of continuity on the board. Similarly, there are six elected members from the technical communities who also have two-year terms; three again elected in alternating years. Each of these twelve has gone through a formal election process, not simply drawn from a hat.

Finally, there are four At-Large members, each serving two-year terms and also have ½ of them elected in even-numbered years and ½ in odd-numbered years. So that gives us the total of twenty. None of the twenty are paid like in some boards; they/we are all volunteers who try to represent our members the best we can and work to ensure the longevity of the Society.

Going back in time, in 2013 the board met 3 times in person. The schedule has been that for a while – February board meeting, meeting after WCQI, and a November board meeting (typically in Milwaukee at Headquarters). I say typically as since the start of the pandemic, the board only has met one time in person, the other meetings have been virtual. In 2014 or 2015, an August teleconference meeting was added. Also, with the Covid outbreak, there have been numerous additional virtual board meetings or information sharing sessions. While my first meeting in 2013 was a two full-day event, since late 2016 as part of a cost-saving measure, the board meetings have been typically only a one-day business meeting. With the virtual meetings nowadays, they may be five to six hours in length since most of us cannot sit in front of a computer all day!

This is not to say there are not more meetings than these. Often biweekly, the Officers of the Society including the CEO, meet to discuss current happenings that sometimes cannot wait for a board meeting. For example, even though we had just had a board meeting a few weeks prior, in March 2020 we met to discuss ASQ’s plans as a result of the immediate shutdown of operations in the US.

So, what happens at a board meeting? If truly interested, the approved board minutes are available, but in short, the meetings cover a variety of topics, from discussing the financials of the Society (also available), report outs from the GCC and TCC, information on various board initiatives like NextGen, thoughts about where we see ASQ in five years, and reviews of our successes or shortcomings. As a few examples from the past: the current Membership Model was presented to the board for their approval; the creation of the GCC was voted upon; approval of any new or modified ASQ policies; to increase membership dues or not is voted upon each year; the Society’s strategic plan for future years is approved; a review of our investments; discussion about student branches; the approval of new sections; and Society operations all over the world are evaluated. From this short list, you can possibly see these meetings cover a wide gambit of topics. Usually there isn’t enough time to deep dive every agenda item as there is usually so much to cover.

There are usually several motions to be voted upon at each meeting, a few easy ones like approving the next group of ASQ Fellows, but other times there is great debate and consideration. Again, the board is made up of members, each of which has their own ASQ journey, insight, and passion. Thus, what I believe is best for the Society may not completely align with another director even though we have friends for many years. None of us have a crystal ball; if so, I would have bought Microsoft stock thirty years ago 😊

Although more could be written, that is probably enough for today. I do expect many comments about the board to be posted after this, maybe not all flattering – that I can at least foresee!! I will close with these thoughts. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to do what is best for the Society, not for any particular entity or person. Board members volunteer their time to represent YOU and want to have ASQ be around for a long time for both current and future members.

May 2023 be a QUALITY year for us all.

The board typically meets 3 times in person, with additional virtual and teleconference meetings since the start of the pandemic. In these meetings, a variety of topics are discussed such as financials, report outs from the GCC and TCC, board initiatives, the society's plans for the future, review of successes or shortcomings and various policy and operation evaluations. The board meetings are generally a one-day business meeting.

@Steven Schuelka
Thank you Steven, I can give a bit more of an historical perspective. Back in the 1990's, the board was twice the size it is today. it met 4 times a year and it covered the same topics but there were more reportouts since the ASQ structure was a bit larger. ASQ had then volunteer Vice Presidents who were responsible for a variety of areas: I was a VP of Products and Services, my responsibilites were Publications, Training and Conferences. I oversaw the committees that worked on these activities which included both staff and volunteers such as the Publications Managment Board, the Training Board and the Conference Board. I reported out on activities that each was doing. For example, when a new publication was being considered, I would present that to the Board with our (the PMB's) recommendation. it was then voted on. I was one of 6 VP's who were all volunteers who oversaw the various groups. When there was a constitutional revision in the late 90's all these positions were eliminated, to the current elected positions. The Transformation led to a reduction in size of the Board. ASQ has changed to meet the needs of the members. It will keep evolving as needed to meet the needs of the members, current and future.