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A Message From Terry


This month’s briefing provides an update on the new Society Act for British Columbia. Note the Ministry of Finance has renamed it the Societies Act. Earlier this month I attended a meeting with Michael de Jong, British Columbia’s Minister of Finance. The letter below is a good short summary. You may want to look into membership in the (CSAE) Canadian Society of Association Executives, I highly recommend it!


BC Societies Act Changes: President’s Report on Recent Meeting with Finance Minister Michael de Jong
By Kasey Nishimura

Change is coming much sooner than expected as Michael de Jong, British Columbia’s Minister of Finance, invited me to join him on January 26th to discuss a number of outstanding issues. As many of you know, the BC Societies Act is being significantly updated and it is Minister de Jong’s strong desire to introduce the new legislation in spring or early summer of 2015. It was enlightening to hear that there were over 7,000 responses to the Ministry of Finance on this project leading up to our meeting.

It is truly an honor to be representing our organization at the forefront of this change, as over 27,000 registered societies in British Columbia will be affected. This includes most (but not all) of CSAE’s executive members’ organizations in British Columbia.

I asked Terry Clark CAE to accompany me to this meeting. Terry is widely regarded as an expert in board governance and executive leadership. As you may know, Terry is the co-chair of our task force’s White Paper Consultation Process Feedback Report. Our task force’s comprehensive report and CSAE BC’s tireless efforts ultimately led up to this meeting. Thank you to all of the task force members who contributed to the report – especially Carla Giles CAE, MA. Carla is both our Vice President and co-chair of this task force.

We were particularly pleased with the modernization of the proposed legislation. However, we have asked Minister de Jong to reconsider a few sections, especially 98 and 99, which would lead to our members potentially having to pay significant legal expenses. We have presented an option to these contentious issues and a number of other concerning points. Another area of apprehension is a proposed requirement of some our executive members having to publically disclose their compensation levels.

Keeping in mind that change ‘is coming,’ you may have questions or concerns. If so, please contact Terry Clark by email or by phone 604-737-9992.

In conclusion, we would like to thank Minister de Jong for meeting with us and acknowledging that our report recommendations were comprehensive in aiding this project to move forward at a much faster pace than initially expected. We shall continue to keep the membership apprised on any further updates should they become available to us.

Kasey Nishimura
CSAE-BC President


Governance Trends

It is is becoming increasingly difficult for associations to justify their governance costs. As a result, many are downsizing their Boards to achieve easier consensus on future direction, take advantage of Board members’ competencies, and enhance the volunteer leadership experience. In addition:

  • Board members are now more often being selected for their leadership competencies and association experience;
  • Board self-assessment is now more common place as accountability continues to grow in importance;
  • Executive Committees are falling by the wayside or seeing their roles significantly decreased. It remains unclear what role, if any, the trends to increase accountability and control governance costs are exerting on this trend but it seems fairly certain that Executive Committees are considered an unnecessary indulgence. After all, members are asking, what’s the purpose of having essentially two Boards of Directors?
  • Nominating Committees are assuming greater responsibilities as Leadership Development Committees;
  • Boards still focus most of their time on creating Board resolutions and approving policies and bylaws rather than engaging in strategic thinking;
  • While Boards continue to over-emphasize operations, many are at least doing so in a more knowledge-based manner. They are seeking consistent member feedback and conducting ongoing consultations with a smaller number of members. (Reaching informed decisions rather than making assumptions about what members want)
  • Use of Board advisory groups is increasing, geographic Board representation is being questioned, and Board term limits are becoming more common.

Thank you to the CSAE for the content of the articles above.


There are many ways that a recruiter can help you with an executive search

Whether you are looking for the next Chief Staff Officer or any other executive position, it is important to find the right match. If you do not have the time and patience to dedicate to the search, it is better left to a corporate recruiter.

They are trained in finding high-end employees and can ensure that you find the right person for the job. Better still locate a recruiter who specializes in Association and other non-profit organizations.

#1: Save You Time

You are going to save time when you hire a recruiter to help you with the executive search. Especially when you begin looking for higher salaried employees, there are going to be a lot of people submitting their resume - even if they are not qualified. You shouldn't have to spend the time digging through thousands of resumes in order to find one person. A recruiter is going to search the resumes for you so that you don't have to worry about it.

Even after you search through all of the resumes, you are going to spend time with preliminary interviews. While someone may look great on paper, they may not look so great after you conduct a preliminary interview. The recruiter is going to help with this area as well. This means that once a person finally gets in front of you, they are completely qualified in every area.

#2: Obtain Qualified Individuals

Qualified individuals are hard to come by. You need someone that has the education, the experience, and the personality to work within your company's dynamic. The culture found within your company is a big deal and if you don't find someone who is going to mesh well with that culture, you are going to be replacing the person sooner rather than later. You already know that turnover is extremely expensive and a recruiter is going to minimize the chances of turnover by conducting your executive search with all of your criteria in mind.

#3: Find You a Temporary Fill

You may not have the time to conduct a full executive search because you need the spot filled immediately. This doesn't mean you have to settle. If you speak with a recruiter, they will be able to find you a temporary fill. This means that someone is qualified and they are going to work on contract. This gives you the freedom to conduct a search to the fullest extent and find somebody that is qualified for the long term.

The next time you need to complete a Chief Staff Officer Recruitment stop wasting the time going through the resumes on your own. You need to find someone quickly and who is completely qualified. When you hand the responsibility over to a corporate recruiter, they can do the work for you.

HINT: Ask your recruiter if they have ever spent time as an Association or other not for profit Chief Staff Officer. If they haven’t, you may want to contact Real Board Solutions at or by phone 604-737-9992.


Closing Thoughts

The March Board Briefing will contain a special section on board succession planning. A section from it is below. This year round-committee, sometimes referred to as a nominations committee, often incorrectly starts a few months before the Annual General Meeting. While success planning is only a part of good governance, with today’s changing demographics, and a higher degree of accountability, your succession plan (or lack of it….) can make or break the organization.

Establish a year-round committee.

Because board recruitment and nominations constitute such an important activity, begin looking at the process as a year-round committee function, instead of the traditional ad hoc nominations process. Reflecting this long-range focus, many boards are changing the name of their nominations committees to the board development committee because developing leaders includes more than nominating people to serve on our boards. It truly is an ongoing, year-round function: prospecting, contacting, recruiting, orienting, supporting, providing ongoing training, and evaluating board directors.


Terry Clark
About Terry Clark

Terry J. Clark CAE, the Founder and President of Real Board Solutions is a results-oriented, not-for-profit professional who has a unique background and skill set that volunteer board members and their staff truly appreciate.

For the past 19 years Terry has advised hundreds of not-for-profit Boards of Directors and their senior staff members. As past Executive Director with a high profile business association, Terry has also served as an interim Executive Director with eight organizations.

His consulting practice focuses on executive search, Board development, strategic planning, operational reviews, executive director compensation and mentorship/coaching. He has provided those services to not-for-profits in virtually every not-for-profit sector in Western Canada, North West Territories, the Yukon and California.

Terry is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), a Past Area Governor of Toastmasters International and was educated at the University of British Columbia. He possesses leading-edge Non Profit "best practices" and combines them with real life experiences to provide not-for-profits Boards and their staff with real solutions.

In 2013 the Canadian Society of Association Executives presented Terry with the prestigious ACE Award (Association Cornerstone of Excellence) in the ‘Above and Beyond’ Category.

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