Board member needed, accepting nominations


#1

Makers, we have been losing a lot of board members lately to resignations. It’s upsetting to me and I’m sure to you as well but the only thing we can do is put one foot in front of the other and try to replace them with great members who can stick with us.

We have decided to hold another election for the open at-large director spot. For other positions we appointed a runner-up from the June election, but we are running down the list into more and more people saying “no” and we want a fresh start.

Qualifications:

  • Patience, tenacity, and a pro-active attitude
  • Willingness to accept the things we cannot change. We’ve had people quit because they hated the idea of a new building, people quit because we don’t have a new building, we need board members who can calmly listen to the membership, propose ideas, and not take it personally if their ideas get shot down or they get outvoted. It will happen.
  • Enthusiasm for MakeICT’s mission. Remember that at the end of the day, we might feel like a million things are wrong, but can we still innovate, learn, and build community at the intersection of art, technology, science, and culture? Are the battles we pick contributing to that mission, or are we just running out into the weeds? Can you be positive about MakeICT even when members are criticizing you? Can you solve an issue without making into a mountain/skyscraper/pillar of who we are?
  • Time to attend a 90 minute board meeting once a month and keep up with “homework” emails in between. Our goal is for the board meeting to be a place where we make decisions on policies that we’ve already seen, talked through with the admin list, and gotten to a vote-ready state. If it’s not ready, we send it back.
  • Ability to support an idea even if it’s not yours. This seems to be a rare trait among technical people, hate to say it.
  • Experience working in teams and a willingness to learn. I’d also love it if every board member was a professional grant writer, real estate agent, attorney, tax advisor who’s built spaceships in his/her garage, but the entire idea of MakeICT is that we can learn anything we set our minds to. That’s how we’ve built up a 400 member non-profit and that’s why we are going to keep growing this year.
  • Self-knowledge to understand when you’re about to get burnt out so you can step back, ask yourself what’s really important, and prioritize accordingly. Volunteer work will take everything you give it. I cannot tell when someone is working too hard for MakeICT. For some people it’s an hour, for others it’s days. You have to be able to assess yourself, say no to the things that you can’t handle, let others help.

Benefits:

  • Help your makerspace thrive. Do you like MakeICT? Well, we need leaders. With proper delegation it does not have to take up all your time. You do not have to live here. You can take a break when you need it.
  • You will learn a lot and see great things happening in this place. You will know about everything.
  • You will help us chart the future.
  • You are making Wichita a better place to live.

But seriously, you can’t quit. This is your term. You are serving until June, and we’d prefer that you run for 2-3 years because getting a new board member up to speed is work.

And please members - be nice to your leaders :slight_smile: Before you criticize, ask how you can help. I do not need thanks/praise/flowers/parade in my honor to keep this job going, I’m not here for that. But I do need to tell board members that their time is important and they do not have 400 bosses. If you need help on an issue please give us 24 hours and bug us kindly if your request fell off the map. If you want something changed, propose an idea, rather than sitting on a hill asking the board to spoon-feed you something you’ll accept. If an idea rubs you the wrong way, hear us out. We are at the same pay grade you are. Ask yourself if you’re making a leader’s job easier or harder.

One way to make it easier is to send in nominations.

Please send your nominations to secretary@makeict.org or president@makeict.org.

We will vote electronically using approval voting after the September 16 quarterly meeting. We would like nominations to happen before September 9th and we would like all nominees to post a thread with answers to at least some of their favorite questions from http://makeict.org/wiki/2018_Elections_-_Questions - maybe pick 3-5, we don’t need a novel! We just want to know that you care enough about the job to post a thread about who you are and why you love MakeICT.

Thanks,
Kim


#2

Yesterdays board meeting(my first) was a very pleasant experience. I always heard that board meetings were full of infighting and drama, but I didnt witness any of that taking place. Everyone acted in a very professional manner. I dont think I am ready to be a board member, but I do plan to attend the monthly meetings from now on.


#3

This statement is not true. And should not be on here.


#4

I suppose that depends on how seriously one takes commitments they make


#5

There are obviously issues that need addressed. With 3 Board resignations, 3 Area lead resignations, multiple assistant lead resignations, and 4 people being banned . Threats of violence and lawsuits. This is bigger that just the board. And anyone can resign at anytime Commitment on not.


#6

I will not try to put any words in any ones mouth. I am sorry for co-opting this thread,since other issues have been raised here I am going to chime in.

@Jeremiah and @dom
JB, You are correct the literal worlds are not true. We are all volunteer, and if a person is unable/willing to continue they can and should step away. Sometime staying and pushing forward due to a strong sense of commitment can leads to resentment, and friction, when you are doing things because you feel you have to, not that you want to can make things worse. Everyone has there limits and we need to know where the productive limit is, before things go south.

@kim
I took what you said to mean that candidates need to evaluate the level of commitment of time/effort they are willing and able to give. Please give serious though before stepping forward.

@current/past leaders(Board/Area Lead and assist. /General Volunteers)
This is somewhat a rhetorical question, How many hours do/did you spend on an average week dealing with MakeICT business online and inperson? Not everyone is retired, self employed, single, so the percentage of free time someone spends working on MakeICT differs. 1hour a week is not the same for everyone.

IMO
One issue with the core group of active members is that they ware too many hats.

Non volunteering members.
If you feel you can come in and pay your $X dollars and leave without helping out, then the long term survival of the organization is in question. Not to say light duty members that come down every few week/months and still pay do not help keep the lights on, but event this group puts a burden on the others that do volunteer.

Everyone
We are 100% volunteer. Starting on a positive note. I was very happy to see the brooms and burgers while working on the laser. Thanks @shannonclawson for organizing it. It help much of my own frustration about seeing the same faces doing the same things over and over.

Now on less then happy note. Remember every leadership position is zero pay and they get nothing out of it. If it is not a fun and rewarding experience why would you stay? This is a general statement not directed at anyone. Before anyone criticizes about how things are run, or how things look, please reflect on what you have done, and are willing to do moving forward to make things better. Then if you still have something to say please do it in the most constructive and positive way (I failed on this one recently, and will try to do better).


#7

Remember every leadership position is zero pay and they get nothing out of it.

False. You don’t get dollars out of it no. But a chance to build yourself and others. Some of my bigger challenges (and a few failures) were in various leadership roles. I know how NOT to make a theremin for instance.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to enjoy a role at MakeICT I highly recommend it. Leading a group of people to makerfair… leading a makerfair to a group… there are all kinds of ways you can grow as a person just by turning to a board member and saying… I’ll handle that.


#8

The board does take on too many roles. Most of us do not want the extra burden. I would love to give away some of mine. What I need is some volunteers to fill those roles. I want volunteers who don’t already have roles in other areas preferably. When someone takes on too big a role for their available time, it wears them out and I think that is what Kim was getting at here.


#9

@james.a.seymour
First thank you for reading or skipping to the last paragraph. I agree with your sentiment. A better way to state my point, would be "It has to be a fun and rewarding experience. There is no pay, and there needs to be a balance between the Fun/Rewarding side of things and the other. “The grief, about any broken things, fixing said broken things, and taking the trash out, and picking up after others”. It is all about how the scale balances.


#10

You’re right, I should rephrase. Instead of: “You can’t quit.”

Let me instead say: "You are legally allowed to quit, but it creates so much work for the rest of the board members and distracts so much from MakeICT’s mission that I would really, really prefer than you do not quit. Seriously. Please. As your president, throw me a solid and try not to quit :slight_smile: "

The rest of my statement, that your term goes until June and we’d prefer that you run for 2-3 years because getting a new board member up to speed is a lot of work - I still think that’s all true.

On the topic if our issues. I don’t really see anything new from last year. We had area leads quit. This year JB, Tom Bloom and James Seymour all resigned area lead positions but you’re here replying to threads in support of the mission, and that means a lot to me, especially hearing comments about how leading is a worthwhile learning experience. We have revoked keys recently but this is not the first time for that either. When we have an issue come up, security deals with it. I will be totally open to anyone who asks me for more details (seriously!) but when I polled the members about it (Key revocation notifications) most of them said that we should notify board/area/committee leads so that’s what we’ve been doing.

Sure we have bad weeks. I am open to hearing what we could change to keep board members, area leads, and active volunteers happy. But I ask that it come in the form of constructive criticism, not just that the system is doomed.

I do stress to new members in orientation that a membership here costs $25/mo + volunteer time. If all you do is pay $25, use the tools, and go home, you are not putting in enough. But when we compare ourselves to other makerspaces and non-profit organizations, they all struggle with volunteer burnout and imbalance. A few people do a lot of work, most people do not - that is a fact of non-profit world. I go back to my ladder that I showed at the annual meeting -there are levels to increasing engagement:

  1. Broadcast the heck out of volunteer opportunities. Ask, ask, ask
  2. Build relationships
  3. Design a system that draws people in
  4. Coach people to know what to do without a leader telling them it needs done - try to replace yourself
  5. Actually replace yourself

That is my plan. So this asking for a board member is just a level 1 task but I am also reaching out to people and asking the membership to support their board members so they’re drawn in instead of pushed out.

Still open to advice,

Kim


#11

How are we doing on nominations?


#12

This is not as hard as it sounds. Kim just wants to prepare any new board members so they know we typically people will expect you to do a bunch of stuff that you really don’t have the power to do.
Everyone just needs to remember that we are all the makerspace. Every single one of us can chip in an do something. Before complaining to the board about something, my suggestion is always… ask yourself this… what can I do myself to make this better.

(That is why I am always putting toilet paper on the rollers… seriously people :slight_smile: )