Thinking About IOA Board Service?

By IOA Board of Directors

Nominations are now open for the IOA Board of Directors. Please consider serving the IOA community and the ombuds profession by stepping into this important leadership role. Several current IOA Board members have shared reflections on their service below, illustrating the rich experiences and impact board service has had on them and IOA.

The current Board along with IOA staff are planning a comprehensive orientation and onboarding to set up new directors for success. If you have any questions about board service, please reach out to [email protected] or contact Board members directly.

Submit a Nomination

Nominations close on 16 December 2021. Learn more and submit a nomination.

Reflections from IOA Board Members

Melanie Jagneaux 2020-2021 IOA PresidentMy experience on the IOA Board has been enriching and rewarding. In the nearly five years that I have served on the Board, I have had the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people who are dedicated to the ombuds profession. We have worked together in support of IOA, through the hard times and the good.

IOA Board service is rather demanding of time and effort, but also very rewarding. Each time we successfully addressed a significant concern or accomplished an important endeavor, I was proud to be part of the team and I grew professionally. Personally, I am blessed to also call my Board colleagues my friends. I am grateful for the warmth, kindness, and caring that I have continually received from my friends on the Board. If you are thinking of serving on the IOA Board I strongly encourage you to do so. Yes, Board service is hard work, but well worth it!

Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP®

IOA President

Sarah Klaper IOA Board MemberI think all ombuds are leaders in their organizations. So, it is only natural to want to be a leader within IOA. Also—to be very honest—for a long time, I didn’t completely understand what IOA did or why different things were important at the Annual Meeting. Being on the Board has helped me better understand the role of IOA in the profession, in advocating for the profession, and in supporting its members (some of whom go through A LOT).

Sarah Klaper, JD

IOA Board Member

Ronnie Thomson, IOA SecretaryHave you ever been thrown off course by a storm that came out of the blue? Of course you have! We have a shared experience in one that came in March 2020, the worldwide COVID pandemic. When I joined the IOA Board of Directors in 2018, I never imagined the kind of support fellow IOA Board members would provide when the backlash of the COVID storm resulted in the loss of my ombuds role. Not only is volunteering on the Board fulfilling because of the many great changes we influence for the Association (updated Bylaws, strategy, goals, trainings, etc.), but also because of the caring, supportive relationships we form. I cannot imagine transitioning into my new ombuds role without the support of my friends at IOA, especially the Mentoring Committee, fellow Board members, IOA Staff, and IOA’s out-going Executive Director. Relationships matter. Serving in our profession pays priceless dividends. I could not anticipate the kind of storm I experienced, yet being in relationship with these leaders whose care and shelter protected me in my troubles and whose love celebrates with me in my triumphs has resulted in my receiving even more than I have given.

With gratitude,

Ronnie Thomson,

IOA Secretary

Steve Prevaux, IOA Vice PresidentServing on the Board of Directors has been a truly memorable experience filled with meaningful and challenging work. In April 2020, I was elected to the IOA Officer role of Vice President, just as we were on the precipice of a global pandemic and with urgent dialogue regarding inclusion and justice. IOA also experienced transformative changes, including the creation of the Diversity Equity Inclusion Belonging (DEIB) Committee. As Chair of the Leadership Group, I started a new and hopefully enduring, practice of directly including the DEIB Co-Chairs in all LG meetings. I was pleased to further support the inclusion of these colleagues at our full Board meeting table.

The Board unanimously adopted a proposal I presented to pilot an IOA Conference Ombuds leading to the subsequent selection of our first IOA Ombuds, Elaine Shaw. During my tenure, the Board also retained Chuck Howard as our inaugural Executive Director. After thoughtful surveys, vibrant town hall dialogues and membership voting, we have finally amended the IOA Bylaws providing much greater access to members to run for a seat on the IOA Board. 

Now that my term is ending, I recall chairing the Nominations & Governance Committee and encouraging members to step-up to the next level of involvement with IOA. As a Board member, you will have the opportunity to work directly with leadership and staff to build on the success of IOA and the members we serve. Thanks to the collegial and productive leadership of President Melanie Jagneaux, Board members and truly excellent staff, we are now more than 1,000 members strong, our IOA brand has been refreshed, member engagement opportunities have been improved and virtualized, and we stand on a solid financial position. 

I look forward to seeing new leaders emerge to advance our recently renewed strategic plan with vision and focus. Now is the time to consider serving IOA at the next level of involvement to advance the essential practice of ombuds locally and internationally. What better way to "be the positive change" you seek, than to pursue a leadership role as a candidate for election to the IOA Board of Directors in 2022?

Steve Prevaux, CO-OP®

IOA Vice President

Roy Baroff, IOA Board MemberAs you know, nominations for the IOA Board are underway, and let me encourage you to run! And, I want to share a part of my current journey.

First, while there have indeed been challenges over the last year both externally (can you say COVID) and internally (can you say Bylaws) throughout all it has been a pleasure to serve with my Board colleagues and to be of service to you. The Board is a very collegial group even when we don’t agree! The culture and norms around disagreeing support robust discussion while also enabling the Board to keep things moving.

Second, this is a very exciting time in the ombuds field! I believe it has been and still is a time of growth. IOA has reached its highest membership (more than 1000) and the finances are also quite strong. We as a Board have been investing in IOA, in its members, and in the profession and this will continue. You can be a part of it!

Third, you can make a difference in the ombuds field. You can help support its continued growth and development. IOA has a wonderful operations partner in our Managing Director, Lindsay Jennings, (she is awesome!) and with a new full-time Executive Director coming on board–thank you Chuck for your efforts– IOA remains poised for growth and exceptional support for the Board and for ombuds across the globe.

Fourth, our members are fantastic! You are fantastic! You do amazing ombuds work and you bring that passion to the field and to IOA. Many of you volunteer to serve on Committees, Task Forces, and other IOA efforts and you bring strong voices and opinions along the way. Be part of the members' voices in leading IO; run for the Board!

Finally, on a personal note, while I’m eligible to run for another term, I am stepping off the Board. This is due to some personal and professional considerations and I’ve determined that four years of Board service is plenty! I’ll stay active in IOA as a member yet it’s time for others to step up! It’s time for you to share your knowledge, experience and passion for ombuds! It’s time for you to help lead! If you have any questions about Board service feel free to contact me. Go Ombuds!

Roy Baroff, CO-OP®

IOA Board Member

Sue Diviney, IOA Board MemberIt has been an absolute pleasure to work with the dedicated, talented IOA Board of Directors. The passion and commitment of each and every Board member has been readily apparent in every interaction we have had–these people REALLY care about our profession and IOA. I have learned so much from other Board members and their diversity of skills and experiences. It can be hard work at times and challenging when there are differing opinions. But I have a great sense of accomplishment knowing that together we have reached some great decisions for the betterment of IOA and growth of our profession!

Sue Diviney, CO-OP®

IOA Board Member

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