It's druid-election time again, and I've accepted the nomination for Members' Advocate.
Here's what the official job description says about the position:
"The Members' Advocate represents individual members of ADF at large, with special attention to the needs of minority factions not otherwise represented. The MA is a non-voting member of the Board of Directors (BOD) who functions as an ombudsperson, is entitled to propose motions to the BOD for approval, and is entitled to participate in any ADF subgroup meeting. The office of Members' Advocate is limited to three consecutive terms for any office holder." (highlights mine)
So, I'll be writing a series of 4 (or so) blog posts addressing some questions that have been asked of those running for office in ADF, our grove's overarching parent organization.
For those who want my bio, that can be found here.
Without any further ado, let's get to the first set of questions:
What other roles have you held within the organization, and what have you done while in them?
The larger organization... none. I've run for office in the past (Vice Pres. of the BoD, and Members' Advocate), and have yet to be elected.
What other roles are you currently serving in?
As far as ADF, I'm a full-time priest serving Mountain Ancestors Grove, ADF out of Northern Colorado.
What sort of Vision do you bring to the table for the future of ADF?
My Vision for ADF is one of change & modernity. We've been in a closed-loop and echo-chamber for quite some time, and while that may be acceptable to the powers that be (have been), that time has come to an end. The structure we're under now allows for extreme cronyism, and an ease to disavow the experience and opinions of the membership-at-large. There are modern NPO organizational research and practices that would benefit the membership, and I would make it my purpose to see those get into place that our membership would be better served.
Are there any *specific* problems or goals that you want to tackle? How do you hope to address those problems/goals?
I have a goal to transform the role of MA from "complaint coordinator" back to it's original title of Ombudsperson... sort of. The job of an actual Ombudsperson is to be neutral party between, for example, students and universities, or consumers and companies; however, as I'd be charged with paying special attention to the needs of the underrepresented and minority factions, my role would be more standing between the folk and the powers that be... because when comparing the power leadership wields to the power the folk have, the folk NEED a full-time advocate speaking on their behalf, not someone who will bend to the will of leadership in a toxic us/them scenario. My job would be to serve the MEMBERship, not necessarily the LEADERship (different ships, ya see).
I would like to hear the candidates thoughts on strategic planning for ADF. Where do you see us in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? How are we going to get there? What are your goals on the MG?
This one is rough, as the term-length of the Members' Advocate is one (1) year; however, I'd like to give em a go anyway.
Strategic planning: Long overdue, and desperately needed. The strategy needs to be something DIFFERENT than the last reoccurring 30-year strategy we've been working with (subjected to?)... something informed by modern research by professionals in that field, not well-meaning amateurs. We're past that point as an org. There's a group of folks performing a SWOT analysis, and I've a great deal of faith in the person leading the team (as it's my wife, Rev. Missy, and her shiny new masters degree in non-profit management).
So, if nothing changes, OR we don't expedite change at a rate that gets us caught up QUICKLY (WAY faster than a Speeding Oak) to the "relevant" line in the larger community-at-large discussion... in 5 years: a group that started good but is now stagnant. 10 years: only the folks who bought property will be sticking around. 20 years: a memory of how people used-to do paganism; a relic of a forgotten time used as an example of how not-to-be.
If you win the position you are running for, what will be the biggest obstacle you will have to overcome? How do you plan to do so?
Tradition, or I should say the prevailing sense of 'we've been doing *whatever* since *whenever* and that's how's it's been, and that's how it should be since that's how we said it'd be forever when we started it all... or I'm taking my toys and going home'.
I plan to overcome this obstacle by letting the folk (the membership) know exactly what's happening behind the scenes. People, or members, are our greatest underused, under-appreciated, underserved resource. In the spirit of transparency and disclosure modeled by our current national secretary, Rev. Crystal Groves, I will let the folk know exactly what's happening behind the scenes... the catty remarks, the back-stabbing, the gaslighting, the marginalization, all of it.
I'm done allowing the ego-driven and power-hungry to have the driver's seat in our religion. I'm here to fight for the membership, and if that means hard, intense choices... so be it.
Tune in tomorrow for the next batch of questions and answers!
Many thanks for taking the time to read this, and if you like what I'm standing for (and against), I'd be grateful for your vote of confidence.
(go to Part 2 here)