Filtered by tag: Board of Directors Remove Filter

Updates Regarding the University of Mississippi Ombuds

By Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director and Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP

As many of you know, the University of Mississippi campus Ombuds has been placed on administrative leave. IOA leadership is aware of this situation and has been in contact with IOA member Paul Caferra, the University of Mississippi Ombuds, and his lawyer. It appears that the university has not honored its obligation to respect the confidentiality of its ombuds communications with visitors, an issue which is of great concern to IOA and all of its members. Please be assured that IOA leadership has offered to provide Paul any support it can in this matter and will continue to monitor this situation.

As a reminder to our members, if you ever have a need for consultation and support for a matter such as this, Chuck Howard, as our Executive Director, may be able to assist you. Our IOA Ombuds, Elaine Shaw, also is available to offer confidential, informal, impartial, and independent support and guidance to all IOA members.

IOA 2021-2024 Strategic Direction

By Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP, 2020-2021 IOA President

Beginning in early 2020, IOA embarked on a strategic planning process to set the course for our near future – the coming three years. The Board of Directors engaged Solid Ground Consulting as just the right partner to guide an effective and fruitful process.

To ensure that we were addressing important interests and perspectives across our organization, we intentionally involved key stakeholders of the organization, including chairs and co-chairs of committees and task forces, members of our emerging ombuds network, former leaders, staff, as well as additional IOA members. Through a series of focus group meetings and one-on-one interviews, Solid Ground gathered a broad range of input and perspectives to inform our process. This information was collected in the form of a Pre-Planning Report, which the Board reviewed over a series of three half-day virtual retreats in late summer 2020. With support from Solid Ground, the strategic planning team presented a draft Strategic Direction document to the Board and to all other members of the Leadership Group (which includes all committee and task force co-chairs). That draft was revised to incorporate feedback and the final draft was presented to the Board and approved at its last meeting in October 2020.

Read More

2020 IOA Financial Update

By Lee Twyman, IOA Treasurer

The IOA 2020 budget has been significantly impacted by the cancellation of the IOA2020 Annual Conference and pre-conference professional development courses, cancellation of four planned Foundations courses (two at the conference and two scheduled for July of this year) as well as cancellation of one pre-conference core course. The current projected deficit for this year is $254,000. An important footnote here, over the past 5 years, IOA has worked diligently to build financial reserves and those reserves have provided a buffer for this year’s financial downturn and may provide additional reserves to draw upon for a couple more years.  However, just as in personal savings, we do not want to deplete the reserves any more than is absolutely necessary.

The Board and Finance Committee are working closely to remedy this budget deficit and bring IOA back to a positive net revenue within three years (if not sooner). All IOA Committees have been asked to voluntarily defer non-critical spending for the remainder of 2020, and we are looking for ways to gain back lost revenue.

Read More

IOA Ombuds Program Extended

By Melanie Jagneaux, 2020-2021 IOA President

Dear IOA Members,

After a successful pilot program, the IOA Board unanimously voted to extend the IOA ombuds program. Our inaugural IOA Ombuds, Elaine Shaw, CO-OP®, informed the Board that she received calls from all sectors and across the globe. In addition, Elaine presented three ‘upward feedback’ concerns that inspired action of the Board concerning updates to members. Elaine also presented a written report to the Board on the program’s performance for the pilot period, which gave the Board the information necessary to review the program’s performance. The report was favorably received by the Board as it presents ombuds case information in a way that is both informative and reader-friendly. Given the quality and contents of the report, the Board unanimously agreed that IOA members would appreciate receiving the report. 

Read More

Letter from the IOA President - A Call for Fairness & Justice

Dear fellow IOA members,

Over the days following the senseless killing of George Floyd, people across the world have shared an outpouring of emotion from deep sadness to intense rage as the latest in a pattern of police violence against black people. I know that many of you may be feeling frightened, sad, hopeless, or angry; I certainly am.

It is at times like this that I realize how very important our role as ombuds is to the communities we serve. As ombuds, we are called to help, to heal, to educate, and to find solutions to our visitors’ issues. Perhaps our call to help has never been more important than it is today. No one person can heal the wounds of racism or prevent them from recurring. But as ombuds, we can do our part to help people address racism and other issues of violence or exclusion. We can be a voice to address systemic issues and fair processes whether with our visitors, with each other, within our organizations, or within our communities.

I imagine that many of you are plugged into the happenings in your cities and neighborhoods and are hearing loud pleas for help and outcries for change. No doubt, you are connecting and helping where you can. I hope you also feel comfortable asking for help, especially if these events are directly impacting you. I trust that you are activating your personal support networks, and I also want to remind you that your professional network in IOA is here for you, too. Please use our online Discussion Circles and the LinkedIn Organizational Ombuds Discussion Forum to share resources and support. Utilize the IOA Ombuds Program. Plan to join a Community Connections event. Reach out to our leadership team with suggestions for resources or action.

Read More

Virtual Meetings and the Virtual Ombudsman

By Bruce MacAllister 
IOA Board of Directors

In these strange and challenging times, many mediation and ombudsman programs are having to make the switch to working virtually with visitors using a variety of web-based and telephone-based meeting approaches.  While much of my mediation and ombuds work has been based out of “brick and mortar” programs, since 2011, much of my work has also been global and virtual. 

Making the switch from face-to-face, in-person meetings to more distant substitutes poses some challenges, but over time I have discovered some tips that seem to help close the gap between the comfort and ease of sitting down together in an informal setting to building connections with visitors and others via phone or via conferencing software.  The goal of this posting is to offer a few tips to successfully bridging the gap between the comparative ease and comfort of in-person meetings to holding those meetings from a distance.

Tips:

Tip 1: Observe ceremony.  When a visitor comes to me for an in-person meeting there are several things that are important:


Read More
1 Comments

Warm Thoughts from the IOA President

By Marcia Martínez-Helfman, IOA President 2018-2020

My first thought when I woke this morning was that I should be heading to the airport to fly to Portland and the IOA’s 15th Annual Conference. The Foundations Course would have already been underway.  I’d be preparing for our Board of Directors meeting on Saturday and Sunday, and excited that the Conference itself would be underway beginning Sunday night.  I will truly miss the camaraderie, learning, sharing, and just plain socializing with you all.

Today, I return to my home office aka the dining table after taking time to plot and execute a strategy for replenishing my refrigerator and pantry.  My son, recently back from London and self-isolating, stood at the curb to pick up the groceries I brought to him as I waved from my car.  These unprecedented times have touched all of us, across the globe, in small and great ways.  Too much suffering continues, and many lives continue to be lost.

Read More
1 Comments

Welcome Newly Elected Board Directors!

By Marcia Martínez-Helfman, JD, MSW
2019-2020 IOA President

The annual election of IOA Directors has just concluded, and I’m delighted to report the results. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the Nominations and Governance Committee, Board of Directors, and all IOA members for participating in the election process!

We are excited to welcome three new directors to our Board:

Read More
2 Comments

IOA Board Nominations Are Open Until 18 November

By Steven D. Prevaux, Chair, Nominations & Governance Committee

Tis the season for autumn leaves turning, friends and family returning and candidates yearning. Earlier this week the IOA Board of Directors issued the annual “Call for Nominations” seeking eligible candidates to run for election to serve on the IOA Board. We encourage you to reflect on this opportunity to nominate excellent colleagues for this amazing opportunity!

As a voluntary association, we thrive on practicing the very principles that we encourage our organizations to provide such as fairness, empowerment, and inclusivity. We celebrate the deep variety of experiences, talent, and perspectives of our members and invite your participation.

Read More

IOA Board of Directors Spotlight - Steve Prevaux

by Jennifer Smith Schneider, Ph.D., Student Ombuds, University of South Florida
Editor, The Independent Voice

Steve Prevaux, who is my colleague at USF, was appointed to the IOA Board in August. In an effort to promote transparency and enhance our sense of community, I asked Steve to respond to a few questions (some of which are serious and others that are less so), and I want to share his responses with you here. I think the world of Steve, as a professional and as a human. I feel certain that you will enjoy getting to know him better. Enjoy the read!

What motivated you to become a leader in IOA?

The IOA is poised to make a very positive difference in the directional development of the future organizational ombuds practice. Colleagues have expressed that my governance background and experience with rapidly developing organizations would be helpful as our Board navigates strategic decision points during a period of rapid change. My home university has successfully closed the graduation gap among students, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. This ethos is also a nice fit for the IOA’s current culture of sustainable inclusivity. We are now reaching for the next level of success- onward and upward!

What is your biggest goal for your time on the Board?

Creating clear and transparent processes that add consistent value! We have reached a crucial point in the organizational development of the IOA. Now is a great time to have an authentic dialogue about our future strategic direction with an eye towards positive change management. The consensus we build around our core leadership focus and resulting practices should increase transparency to members and boost our overall effectiveness. The recent hire of our first Executive Director is a solid step in this direction, and I look forward to collaborating with him during my service on the Board to promote IOA success. 


Read More
5 Comments

Update on the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education

by Marcia Martínez-Helfman, JD, MSW, 2019-2020 IOA President

Greetings, Colleagues –

I want to share with you this letter I received from the National Academies' Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education acknowledging the IOA as a founding member of this very important effort to address sexual misconduct in academia. IOA has made a four-year commitment to this effort. Hats off to Jessica Kuchta-Miller, IOA Board member and Government & Policy Committee Co-Chair, for bringing this opportunity to the IOA.

The Action Collaborative will host an annual summit every fall in a different part of the country. The Summit is an opportunity to gather information, engage in a dialogue, gain diverse perspectives on how to effectively prevent sexual harassment and abuse, and ultimately identify and elevate promising practices for preventing sexual harassment and abuse. This year's Summit will be held November 19 - 20, 2019 at the University of Washington in Seattle, and is free and open to the public. Jessica Kutcha-Miller and Chuck Howard will be attending on behalf of IOA, and will be sharing information about the value and effectiveness of ombuds programs with Summit participants.



Read More

Interview with Amanda Dean

by Roy Baroff, COOP®, Faculty and Staff Ombuds, NC State University

This is part of an ongoing series of conversations between an IOA Board Director and an IOA member.  In mid-August I, Roy Baroff (RB), spoke with Amanda Dean (AD), asking about her journey into ombuds practice, how IOA helped along the way, and what else IOA could or should be doing. We had a pretty far-ranging conversation; here’s a summary, and I hope you enjoy it! I really appreciate Amanda for sharing her time and her journey with us!

 RB: Could you start by sharing how you got into ombuds work?

Read More
1 Comments

IOA Announces Inaugural Executive Director

By Marcia Martínez-Helfman, 2019–2020 IOA President & Lee Twyman, Chair, Executive Director Search Committee

Dear IOA Members & Supporters,

The selection of an executive director concludes IOA’s organizational transition to a hybrid management model. We are pleased to have received a large number of very strong applicants deeply interested in the work of the IOA. Earlier this year, finalists were interviewed and the IOA Board of Directors unanimously agreed to offer the Executive Director position to Chuck Howard. Chuck will officially begin on 1 September 2019.We are delighted to announce that Charles (Chuck) Howard has agreed to serve as the inaugural Executive Director for the International Ombudsman Association.

Read More

Changes on the IOA Board of Directors and a Call for Nominations

By Kerry Egdorf, IOA Board Member & Chair, Nominations and Governance Committee

On behalf of the IOA Board of Directors and with great appreciation, IOA says goodbye to two members of the Board who have resigned due to personal and professional commitments. Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg served on the Board from April 2018 to July 2019, including one year of service as the IOA Secretary. Elaine Shaw served on the Board from April 2018 to July 2019, including four months of service as the IOA Secretary. We are grateful for their passion and participation! 

This July, the Board of Directors elected Ronnie Thomson as the new 2019–2020 IOA Secretary. Congratulations, Ronnie, and thank you!

Read More

How Can IOA Be a Better Member Organization? A Conversation

By Cynthia Joyce, University Ombudsperson, University of Iowa, and Marcia Martínez-Helfman, Associate Ombuds, University of Pennsylvania and IOA President, 2018-2020

Marcia Martínez-Helfman: At the Annual Conference in New Orleans this year, I had the good fortune to meet Cynthia Joyce, a long time IOA member who has had a mixed experience with the organization. At my urging, Cynthia shared with me more about her concerns. The conversation was substantive, frank, and enlightening for both of us. Although each of us would be shortly going our separate ways from NOLA, we both wanted to keep talking and felt it would be instructive and constructive to share our exchange with a wider audience. So here we are. Our hope is that this is the beginning of an extended dialogue between the membership and volunteer leaders, through monthly blog posts, taking us to a better IOA! I want to start by asking Cynthia how long she’s been an IOA member, and to tell me about the early experiences with the organization, some of which left her with a bad taste in her mouth.

Cynthia Joyce: Marcia, I wanted to start on a lighter note and point out the connection between our two offices. The reason the University of Iowa has an ombuds office is Penn. A former UI president, James Freedman, came to Iowa from Penn, where he had served as a faculty ombuds. When he arrived on the UI campus, he asked where the ombuds office was, and, when told there wasn’t one, asked a faculty committee to explore the idea of starting an ombuds office. I think history matters, and I appreciate the fact that our office started in a positive way, providing a needed resource to campus, rather than evolving out of a crisis.

Read More
4 Comments

The Visitor

By Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg, University Ombudsperson, Brown University
IOA Board Member

I hear your footsteps slowing on the stairs.Hesitating at the top, You leave the carpet for the wood
Noticing the last direction, directions followed like bread crumbs
In this maze of a building.
And you
Hover just outside my door.

What will you carry through that door?
I will welcome whatever you bring.

I pause and breathe,
Gathering.
I still the aviary in my mind; fluttering, hopping, swooping.
Emails not returned, conversations just ended,
Emotions swirling from moments ago, not yet dealt with.
They finally take their places on the roost, and quiet.
My body poised













Read More
9 Comments

A Storm of Protest Is Coming to US Workplaces

By Mauricio (Reese) Ramos

The traditional U.S. workplace has changed. Decades back, if an employee disagreed with an organization's policy, the employer would point to the door and remind the worker that if they didn’t like it, they could work someplace else. If an employee wished there was a telecommuting option, or that a designated lactation space was available, or medical benefits for same-sex partners were offered, the response tended to unequivocally be, “You don’t like it here? There’s the door.”

Nowadays, when an employer disregards employee concerns, employees voice their dissension. If you’re an employer, and are seeing the signs but disregarding the message, you better start listening because there’s a storm brewing.  And this time, employees are demanding to be heard. If you fail to listen and change, you will lose high-performing employees, damage the reputation of your brand or organization, and ultimately risk compromising your organization’s mission due to the disruption caused by disgruntled employees.

Sometime in this new century something shifted in the relationship between employers and employees. I noticed it when I was with a certain organization. When I first joined, when the new hires had a specific concern, their concern was typically dismissed.  Management’s message was, in short, that new hires should learn the system and adapt to it.    

Read More
3 Comments

Ombuds as Agents of Systemic Change

By Camilo Azcarate, Ombuds for the European Southern Observatory

Ombuds are expected to act as agents of positive change for organizations. This is arguably one of the most important long-term contributions of the role. SoP 4.6 states that “The Ombudsman identifies trends and concerns about policies and procedures, including future issues and concerns… and provides recommendations for responsibly addressing them.”

However, this part of the role has not been, in my view, carefully explored. I am not aware of specific guidelines to help us identify what type of trends should concern us, and which recommendations may be most useful to address them. We may greatly benefit from more guidance on this part of our practice.

I believe it is useful to have a fixed point, a north star, to help us navigate the often treacherous waters of organizational life. This is particularly important if we are expected to serve as agents of change. For me, this star is human dignity.

Read More
3 Comments

No New Year's Resolution - I'm Going to the Conference Instead!

By Roy Baroff, CO-OP®
Faculty & Staff Ombuds, NC State
Member, IOA Board of Directors

I know, we are now in February!  How can one still be thinking of New Year’s Resolutions? I was worried about this too until I recently heard someone say “Happy New Year” and it was January 31st! And, when asked, the person indicated they wished people Happy New Year until around November. I’m not going that far, as February works for me. So, here goes:

 No New Year’s Resolutions – I’m going to the Conference instead !

With each new year (or New Year), we routinely face the challenge to change our lives!!!  We are inundated by the idea that this time, this turn of the calendar, will be a catalyst for our next best self. I know this to be true as I saw it on Facebook, Instagram and even Linkedin!!  And, that’s what I was thinking when tasked with drafting a blog post for IOA as one of its Board of Directors.



Read More
1 Comments

IOA Selects New Management Partner

IOA Has Chosen SBI as Our New Partner

By Roy Baroff & Lee Twyman
MTTF Co-Chairs, IOA Board Members 

SBI Association Management logo

A thorough search for IOA’s new management partner has successfully resulted in the engagement of SBI Association Management of Seattle, WA, USA. In this role, SBI will be responsible for managing IOA’s daily operations, as well as aiding in our transition to a hybrid management model.

SBI is dedicated to operational excellence and relationship building with a client portfolio of 25+ associations. They take pride in an innovative approach to association management and growth, utilizing a combination of smart technology solutions and strong interpersonal connections to ensure their clients’ short- and long-term health. Learn more about SBI’s philosophy, clients, and staff.

Read More