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2014 AANR Voter’s Guide–Member Trustee: AANR-East

VanNest

Name: Fred W. Van Nest

Home Club: Empire Haven

Credentials:

AANR & Regional Offices Held:

AANR Trustee

Co-chair of Joint AANR-TNS Ad Hoc Committee on Sharing Your Naturism

Chair of AANR-East Governance Task Force

AANR-East Strategic Planning Writing Group

AANR-East Strategic Planning Team

AANR-East Nominations Chair

2013 AANR Presidential Meritorious Award

2012 AANR Family of the Year Award

2009 AANR-East Man of the Year Award

Business/background experience applicable to position sought:

My design, quality assurance and project management experience give me the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to complete creative and complex assignments with the desired results on time and within budget. My achievements in the AANR & AANR-East leadership positions listed above demonstrate that ability.

Length of AANR Membership:

26 years

Educational Background:

Bachelor of Science –  Clarkson University

Candidate Statement:

Working with the distinguished organizational consultant I recruited to advise AANR-East on Governance and Strategic Planning issues has given me a comprehensive understanding of the problems that challenge volunteer organizations like AANR & AANR-East as they mature and attempt to achieve more substantial accomplishments.

Knowing what needs to be accomplished is only the first step in creating organizational change. Convincing leaders and members to make the needed changes is often the biggest challenge. If elected again, I will continue to use the leadership skills demonstrated above to help AANR overcome the many complex issues that are limiting its success.

 

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2 Responses to 2014 AANR Voter’s Guide–Member Trustee: AANR-East

  1. Audrey Weber says:

    AANR East made a welcome change in their governance while the national BOD of AANR was reluctant to put forward a change for a membership vote that would have reduced the board and required specific competencies for their BOD candidates. With many of the same people running for the Board do you feel that some of the breakthroughs that AANR East made will be seriously considered by the same old same old at the national level?

    • Fred Van Nest says:

      Thank you, Audrey, for that very good question. Restructuring the AANR Board is one of the most important challenges the new Board will face and I’m hopeful the answer will be “yes”. Before explaining my reasons for optimism, please allow me to provide a little background information.

      The present Board structure served us well in the past. AANR depended on volunteers to make day-to-day operational decisions that more affluent associations typically assign to staff. As such it was appropriate to require that Trustees have operational experience at the Regional or club level.

      As AANR matures, visionary leadership and strategic planning become essential to manage the increasingly complex challenges the Association now faces. Trustees selected for their operational experience may not be well-suited for the new role. AANR must expand Trustee eligibility requirements to include members with expertise in visionary leadership and strategic planning. Fortunately, AANR has hired additional professional staff that is capable of handling many of the operational decisions previously made by the Board.

      Last year the Planning Committee developed a good proposal that addressed most of the relevant issues. The Committee periodically reported its progress to the Trustees, asked for the Trustees’ guidance and tried to incorporate as many of their ideas as possible in the final proposal. Unfortunately there were a number of Trustees with firmly-held but mutually exclusive positions about how the Board should be structured. These positions remained unresolved in the final proposal thus leaving enough Trustees with unresolved issues to collectively defeat the proposal.

      Now my reasons for optimism…

      First, there will be 6 new Trustees who should bring fresh ideas and should not be subject to the same old same old culture.

      Second, there is a lesson to be learned from the Committee’s previous experience: resolve controversial issues as you go along and do not leave them unresolved in the final proposal. I have joined the Planning Committee and have proposed that it develop viable options for every controversial issue and insist that the Trustees vote on them as the Committee’s work progresses. Once the Trustees have decided an issue, their position should be considered the will of the Association and treated as “settled law” that is not subject to future debate or justification for voting against the final proposal. In that way, the final proposal will be largely a collection of previously approved provisions with some interconnecting fabric to hold the package together. The Trustees should be able to enthusiastically recommend its approval to the membership.

      The third very important reason for optimism is that Bill Schroer, our new Executive Director, is an expert on non-profit association organizational structures. He will undoubtedly be able to provide a wealth of first-hand factual experience to guide development of the new structure.

      The tides of change are eroding AANR’s foundation. Major changes are necessary to preserve its footing. I hope members will recognize this reality and insist that Trustees put aside individual differences and work collaboratively to develop the best possible organizational structure for AANR and then support the final product even if they don’t agree with every detail. Only then can AANR become the vital association we all know it is capable of becoming!

      Fred

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