I've been pretty much incommunicado the past couple weeks due to family issues and illnesses (although the only thing wrong with me personally is a slight cold, no worries!).
Anyhow, the past week was the NMRT Nominating Committee's candidate forum for Director. For those of you not on the NMRT listserv, I thought I'd post my answers here. Hopefully they'll be enlightening and encouraging! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
1. How will you work with committee chairs to develop rapport and foster good working relationships? What strategies will you use to achieve this?
In my time as a committee chair, the best strategies directors used was to maintain open lines of communication: checking in occasionally to see if I needed anything, letting me know of opportunities to work with other committees or groups in ALA, passing on ideas or feedback. I would want to continue in this vein. It was great to know that, as a chair, there was someone looking out for my committee and helping me make necessary connections. As a director, I would do the same for the committees I manage--pass on ideas or possible partners for projects to committee chairs, keep my committees' goals in mind when meeting with the executive board, and keep the lines of communication open. Email is a great tool for this, and meeting in person at the all-committee meeting is also helpful when possible.
2. Describe a committee experience that you've had where the chair was especially effective or ineffective, and why you felt that way. As NMRT Director, what will you do to help committee chairs be strong leaders?
I have had the unfortunate experience of being on a committee where the chair went AWOL--we just never heard from her again after the first few months. After trying to put things together on our own for a few weeks, one of the committee members had the idea to contact the Director overseeing the committee, and she helped put things back in order.
Obviously, as a committee member, you expect a certain amount of leadership and responsibility from your chair, and this is almost always the case, but there are those situations where things just fall apart. I would hope that as Director I would help manage things before they get to that point, by remaining in contact with chairs, checking up on folks I haven't heard from in a while, and so on. I would trust in chairs to lead their committees well, but I would maintain a presence and be a resource for chairs and members with questions or concerns. I would encourage committee chairs to copy me on all correspondence and keep me updated as to what's going on; if I noticed this wasn't happening, I'd check in before things went too far.
3. What will be your goal(s) as Director?
Generally, my goal as Director will be to keep a great organization running smoothly. NMRT has provided me with so many excellent opportunities and now that I have a bit more experience and the ability to travel to conferences, I want to give back some time and effort.
I would model my actions after the folks who have served as Director for the committees I was on, by keeping communication open, looking for chances to network for my committees, and representing my committees' interests to the NMRT Executive Board. The Directors I've had have been invaluable in finding out how to promote what my committees were doing internally and externally, and finding partners for us to work with throughout ALA. I would aspire to work in the same way.
Thanks again to the Nominating Committee for this opportunity, and to you all for reading. If anyone has any final questions or concerns I can be reached at [email protected].