What is the Board and why is it important?
Board members are volunteers that oversee the activities of PAN, and as a collective group, the board is the governing body of PAN. PAN board members set policy and establish PAN’s strategic plan. Board members support the Executive Director and staff in ensuring PAN activities and initiatives follow our purpose, mission and strategic plan. Other roles include approving annual budgets and keeping the organization’s performance accountable to the membership, to our funders and other stakeholders. In essence, the PAN board makes sure that PAN fulfills its mission and ensures it does so responsibly, respectfully, and with ethical financial management.
Being a board member is a highly responsible and accountable governing role, and should not be entered into lightly. In addition, board members at PAN do not carry forward the day-to-day work of the organization – the staff have that responsibility. PAN is a network of frontline organizations, and these organizations are our members. PAN isn’t a frontline organization itself, so if your passion aligns with the work of frontline groups, then our board may not be for you.
As per bylaw 50, the PAN board consists of up to fourteen members, who are elected for 2 years into regional seats, represent Indigenous concerns, and/or are people with lived or living experience (PWLLE).
What are some of the qualifications and requirements for becoming a PAN board member?
First off, board applicants must have the sponsorship and support of an existing PAN member organization. Ideally, you have a minimum of two years’ experience working or volunteering in the field (i.e. HIV, hepatitis C, harm reduction, etc.). Past committee or board work experience is a plus, though not required. We also look for opportunities to build the skill set and capacity of all contributors at PAN, be they volunteers, staff or board members.
We look for self-motivated, enthusiastic and curious contributors who can step outside of their own individual stories or that of their organization, to see the “big picture”. Board members need to be able to think strategically and be comfortable with a governance role. Board members are expected to commit time and energy and stay engaged.
Historically, PAN board members have been strong leaders within their own organizations – often occupying a senior paid or volunteer position; as well as being powerful voices within their region – who were then ready to lend their perspective and talents to the provincial picture.
In addition, each board member must:
- Qualify under the BC Societies Act
- Act as outlined in the PAN’s Board Member Job Description
- Adhere to PAN’s organizational documents (policies)
- Sign PAN’s Board Member Agreement and Confidentiality Agreement
Because we are a provincial organization, board members and staff live, work and play across what is often referred to as British Columbia. The ability to work virtually is therefore a must. So, all board members must have regular and timely access to a computer to access emails and office documents, since the majority of board communications are electronic. Our bi-monthly 2-hour board meetings require members to have access to Zoom. Board members are also expected to attend a daylong, in-person meeting – typically once a year, paid for by PAN.
How can I apply to join the Board?
A person can join the board of directors in two ways. The first is by successfully running for election at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The second is by being appointed by the sitting board of directors to fill a vacant seat. If appointed by the board during the year, that person must then run for election at the next AGM. Essentially the same process applied to both. Board terms are for two years. More information can be found in Bylaws 52-57.
In terms of next steps:
- You must be an authorized representative of a PAN member and have your application endorsed by them. You must also be eligible to serve under the Societies Act;
- Complete the online PAN Board Application, which includes uploading a written statement or resume, summarizing your relevant qualifications and experience. This should be done at least 6 weeks before the next AGM (historically in late October).
- This will go to the Nominating Committee and you will be contacted to talk about the role, its expectations and any required supports;
- Either: You will need to be nominated by the Nominating Committee to be eligible for election at the next AGM. Applications that are not approved will not proceed further;
Or: You are appointed by the Board to immediately fill an empty seat until the next AGM. The potential appointee would be invited to attend one meeting to ensure fit, decided subsequently by the Nominating Committee;
- Your application will be provided in advance to the membership and subsequently brought forward at the next AGM where you will run for election;
- If elected, you must commit to act in the best interests of PAN and sign all related documents. You will be oriented and supported by PAN staff into the role, requirements and duties.