Last week, America’s Blood Centers’ members came together in Palm Springs, Calif., for the 52nd Annual Meeting and 4th annualLinks for LifeGolf Tournament benefiting the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers. The work that went into organizing this particular meeting was unprecedented, not only for co-hosts Blood Systems, Inc. and LifeStream, as well as the ABC Meetings Committee, but also for the ABC staff.
The signs of that hard work were clearly visible at the meeting. I take the most pride in the work that went into the creation of a bylaws amendment instituting a new category of membership for hospital-based blood programs. Not simply because of the outcome – it passed (see page 1) – but because of the one-year process that we followed to create the amendment that was transparent, informative, and engaging. ABC staff and volunteer leadership reached out to members in a multipronged approach that allowed everyone’s opinion to be heard and considered.
It began with discussions by the Membership Committee, which introduced the idea at last year’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. ABC followed up with several communications, including an FAQ document and a webinar in December 2013. ABC’s board of directors, which supported the amendment, also took a very crucial role by reaching out to every single member voting representative for a chance to discuss the change and address any questions and concerns. We instituted proxy voting for members who were unable to make it to the meeting but wanted their voices heard.
Finally, ABC scheduled a bylaws hearing one day prior to the vote for another opportunity to review the amendment, hear different points of view, and discuss the implications of this change. On March 23, the members voted; 84 percent agreed to change. It was indeed a lot of hard work, and we would not have wanted it any other way. After all, informed and engaged members make the best decisions for the future of their association.
Matt Granato, MBA, Executive Vice President, Operations;firstname.lastname@example.org