IOA's Blog: The Independent Voice

Read about developments in practice, association news, and other topics of interest.

Since its inception, IOA’s Blog The Independent Voice has been a resource for IOA members to catch up on the latest association news and connect with one another about the industry. It was originally designed to be a benefit reserved for members only. In April of 2020, IOA decided to make the IOA blog a public resource. 

We invite you to read the latest and share it with others who may be interested in learning more about IOA, organizational ombuds, and topics meant to enhance the work of organizational ombuds around the world. We believe that the benefits ombuds bring to organizations should be shared broadly, and we look forward to engaging you, a friend of IOA, in this dynamic platform for information and perspective sharing. Check it out!

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IOA members also have the opportunity to log in to their profiles and comment on blog posts.


Want to submit content for the blog?

If you have ombuds related content you would like to share we would love to read it. Please submit a proposal through our online form so our blog editors can review it and post it. Be sure to read the submission requirements before submitting your proposal.

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The Independent Voice Editorial Team

  • Dr. Jennifer Smith Schneider, Student Ombuds, University of South Florida
  • Dr. Bryan J. Hanson, Ombudsperson, Graduate School at Virginia Tech

Contact the blog editors by emailing [email protected].


Terms of Use & Guidelines

Thank you for reading The Independent Voice. The purpose of this blog is to provide information on developments in organizational ombudsman practice, Association news, and other topics of professional interest to members of IOA. It is not a source of legal, financial, or any other kind of professional advice.

This blog is also intended to be a positive online environment in which IOA members and other readers can interact dynamically with each other and with IOA. To help maintain such an environment, we ask that all users review and adhere to the community and submission guidelines below.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the live nature of the blog, it is not possible for the Editorial Team to guarantee the accuracy and/or authenticity of all content (including comments). If you believe a comment violates the community guidelines, please report it immediately to the TIV Editorial Team at [email protected]. All information on the blog may be prone to error or omission.


Community Guidelines

Should posts or comments violate any of these guidelines, the Editorial Team reserves the right to remove them without warning.

Interact with Civility, Thoughtfulness & Care
As all ombuds know and appreciate, communication is most effective when all parties commit to civility, thoughtfulness, and care in their interactions. Name-calling, obscenity, hate speech, defamation, and personal attacks do not create an environment conducive to effective communication and growth and will not be tolerated. Users of this blog are expected to engage its content, authors, and community members with respect at all times.

Respect the Confidentiality & Sensitivity of Ombuds Work
Confidentiality is a foundational tenet of ombuds work and an IOA Standard of Practice. Please honor the confidentiality of ombuds visitors and ombuds themselves, as well as the generally sensitive nature of much of ombuds work, when commenting on this blog.

Direct Personnel-Related Matters Elsewhere
If you have concerns regarding staff or volunteers of the International Ombudsman Association, please direct them via email to [email protected] or to a member of IOA Board of Directors instead of airing them on this blog.

No Solicitation, Advertising, or Petitioning
Please refrain from advertising products, services, or other such information on the blog and in comments.

Respect Trademark & Intellectual Property Rights
Comments or content that violates IOA or another organization or individual’s trademark or intellectual property, proprietary, and/or legally privileged information will be removed.

Republishing Blog Content
Material published on this blog may not be re-published elsewhere without permission from The International Ombudsman Association. If you would like to use any content published on this blog, including member-only comments, please request permission by emailing the editors at [email protected].

Limitation of Liability
Under no circumstances shall IOA or its affiliates be liable for any indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages arising out of or in connection with your access or use of or inability to access or use The Independent Voice blog.

The above guidelines are subject to change without notice. By participating on the blog following any such modification, you agree to be bound by any such modified Terms of Use.


Submission Requirements

If you would like to submit a post for publication on The Independent Voice, please review the Submission Guidelines below. 

The Independent Voice welcomes new content of many kinds. If you would like to publish a story, image, commentary, update, problem of practice, creative work, etc., on this blog, please complete this submission form.

By submitting content, you acknowledge your agreement to the following terms:

  1. Every submission is reviewed by the blog editors and not all submissions may ultimately be posted.
  2. If your submission is posted, it will be attributed to your name(s), as author(s).
  3. Submissions with more than 1,000 words may be edited for length.
  4. Submissions containing inappropriate or offensive language as well as sensitive or inappropriate personal identifying information will not be posted.
  5. Submissions that are factually inaccurate, misleading, or defamatory will not be posted.
  6. Submissions that advertise products or services will not be posted.
  7. Submissions that violate IOA or another organization’s or individual’s intellectual property rights or right to privacy will not be posted.
  8. Any images submitted with a post must be royalty and copywrite free. If you are submitting an image of a person you must have their permission to post their image.

The Editorial Team reserves the right to make slight edits to each submission which may include adding or deleting information to ensure the post is aligned with submission criteria and IOA website styling and color scheme. Again, all submissions will be reviewed, though publication on The Independent Voice is not guaranteed.


Frequently Asked Questions about The Independent Voice Blog

How do I publish something on the blog?
Please review the submission guidelines for information on how to publish on the blog.

How do I read the blog in a different language?
To change the language in which the blog appears, use the Select Language option in the top right-hand corner of the site above the quick links menu. If you are on a mobile device this may be toward the bottom of the page. Please see the example below.

How often is new content published?
The Editorial Team posts new content periodically. More regular content tends to come from upcoming professional development offerings, an update from an IOA committee or task force, a copy of the Board of Directors’ monthly meeting agenda, a summary of the monthly meeting, or a contribution from an individual Board member. Individual articles are posted as they are received and approved.

How do I comment on a post?
IOA members are the only group with permission to post comments. Members can log into their IOA profile, head to the post, and simply comment at the bottom of the page.

How is this blog different from The Ombuds Blog?
The Independent Voice blog is separate and distinct from The Ombuds Blog. It is a publication of the International Ombudsman Association and contains content from a wide range of contributors, which is managed by a volunteer editorial team.

The Ombuds Blog is the publication of Tom Kosakowski, an individual ombuds practitioner, and primarily contains content he solely authors. The Ombuds Blog is also public and a resource for anyone interested in the ombuds profession.

Whom do I contact if I experience difficulty with or have a suggestion for improving the blog?
Please contact the Editorial Team by emailing the editors at blog[email protected].