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Executive Meeting Minutes, June 12, 2018

Participants: Peter Elias, Dave deBronkart, John Grohol, Sarah Krüg, Janice McCallum, Danny Sands, Joe Ternullo, Sue Woods

Minutes from May 8, 2018 meeting approved.                                                          


Member Survey: Dave deBronkart raised the topic of comments we received related to the member survey that was sent out on May 29. Sue Woods took ownership and agreed that she will work with Judy Danielson to respond to SPM membership with more details on why we conducted the survey.

SPM/priorities, transparency, member contribution & engagement

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to discussing Peter Elias’s analysis on Connect usage by members and bigger issues related to member engagement and alignment between Board priorities and those of the membership.

Peter described his experience as an active contributor to the listserv prior to joining the Board and how he viewed the organization differently once he joined the Board. Before becoming a board member, he didn’t know what SPM was doing to further participatory medicine goals. He’d like to be able to point to legislation we help pass or something like that. Furthermore, Peter hypothesizes that we can improve member engagement by involving members in setting our priorities and communicating about new initiatives when they are in the planning stages, not after initiatives have been approved and we need volunteers to help with execution.

Danny Sands pointed out that 1) it has been difficult to engage members in defining priorities when we have tried to elicit input in the past; and 2) not all members want to be involved as volunteers. People join SPM for different reasons and at any point in time, some will be passive members. Danny thinks our newsletter is one of the best tools we have for communicating to members and wishes we could publish it more frequently. He’d like to see more participation in the Town Hall meetings, too, since they offer a good opportunity to learn more about SPM.

Dave deBronkart agrees with Peter that holding meetings in private then asking people to participate in carrying out plans is not a good formula for engaging volunteers.

Sue Woods pointed out the common themes of this discussion are communication and the perception of lack of transparency. People join SPM because they believe in the organization and once they are a member they want validation that the organization is doing things they support.  Let’s focus on processes and activities that help reinforce that SPM is doing things members support.

Sarah Krüg reminded the group that we have asked membership what they want SPM to do in the past. Some people submitted ideas, but with the notion that SPM would take on the bulk of the work. Sarah questions whether the problem is communication or engagement techniques.

Janice McCallum raised the point that more communication without clearly stating our mission and goals won’t be the full answer; it is important to repeat our core mission frequently. Danny mentioned that people may be too busy to participate more & if that’s the case, more emails and threads on Connect won’t improve participation.

Peter asked if the SPM Board had ever taken up an idea raised by a member and run with it. Danny mentioned travel awards and the newsletter as just two good examples.

Joe Ternullo offered the example of Town Hall/Town Council meetings where the audience is invited to listen during the meeting and then invited to speak during an audience participation portion.

Next Steps:

Peter will create a proposal for opening up access to our Board discussions. He will research the technical issues related to providing retrospective access on Connect. He’ll post a draft proposal on the Team Drive.

Per John Grohol’s suggestion, we will frame this as a time-limited test to assess whether opening up board discussions will increase participation in our initiatives.

Next Executive meeting is July 10, 2018 at 4 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Janice McCallum
SPM Board Secretary