Thoughts on Branch Advocate Position

From: Karla Atkinson
Date: Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 11:14 PM
Subject: Re: Policies Update

Hi All
I do not believe there is a job description for BA. However, I do recall some of the discussion behind creating the position.

Because we went to the President’s Council (and we had also restructured), we were looking for some way to let branches “feel” we were still interested in them, what they were doing, willing to help them in any way, etc. With the earlier versions of our operation ( full Board w/ all branch president’s attending meetings), we could at least count on the presidents relaying info back to the branch, and in a sense, carrying our best wishes back to each branch — or at least to those branches whose presidents came to the Board meetings. At the same time, we believed with more face-to- face or personal time with branch officers, we would have a better feel for what was happening to the branches.

The role of the BA was kind of a “replacement attempt” to maintain contact with the branches so we could continue taking the pulse of our state organization. HOW TO MAINTAIN that connectivity with the branches was really up to the BA. For example, periodic calls to each branch asking simply “how are things going” or “is there anything you need that we could help you with” or “I am just checking in to say hi and let you know that…” could have been used. Maybe the BA could have planned a simple lunch with a few branch presidents/ officers or branch members in her immediate geographical area. Really any kind of HUMAN communication would be suitable.

Certainly the intent was NOT to develop a new email or cyberspace way of communicating with branches. It was to use the BA to listen and respond to each branch. For example, AAUW NC could have sent a sympathy or caring card if the BA learned that an officer in XYZ branch just lost her partner. At the same time, the call might be congratulatory, such as Sandhills recently reported in the THN that there membership is growing. That kind of thing… In the long haul, we might also have gotten get a sense of where the leadership might come from in future state election years.

For some reason (probably several reasons), the BA role — as I seem to remember the early discussion — does not appear to have been realized– or at least realized as I have described it hypothetically above.

In summary, the BA can develop the “how tos” if the reasons for developing the BA role are still valid, given what I recall from our much earlier Board conversations.

I have no idea if this is helpful :) Am I really thinking of a Goodwill Ambassador?