Our Executive Director recently sent out a request to Regional Directors about hosting an annual ASTE Meeting. How many of you saw that? Did the Directors forward that note to members or raise the issue with regional members? Given the lack of response, I am thinking that note often ended up in delete boxes. Which led me to thinking about the ASTE make up.
In the old days (yes, I have earned my gray hair), ASTE (then AETS) was almost entirely reliant on our Regions to function. We had no annual conference and tended to meet in these regional groups. Communication flowed from the Board (every Regional Director was a voting board member) through our Directors to the members and back through the same channels. As we continued to grow and our needs changed, ASTE began holding its own annual meeting and eventually the Board structure was changed so that the regions were represented by two rotational directors on the Board.
We have always had disparity in the functioning of our regions. Some regions are very strong and hold their own well-attended regional meetings. Others are more loosely organized. The U.S. is divided into geographical areas for regions, but the rest of the world fits into one region, The International Region. Is this the best design?
With the advent of email and the internet, ASTE now has many ways to connect with our membership directly (listserv, Facebook, twitter, etc.). We no longer need to go from the Board to the Directors to the members and back. In fact, back to my opening thought, the request for interest in hosting an annual meeting was eventually sent directly to the membership and posted on Facebook and responses from individuals were received!
This makes me consider whether we need to revisit our structure. Do we need regions? Is the current cutting of the pie appropriate? Should we make the U.S. into quadrants for regions and use continents instead of one region for the rest of the world? What is the best way to keep the flow of communication from the Board to the members and to keep the organization active and vibrant outside of our annual meeting and our publications? Just questions that pop into my head when I’m trying to sleep but think about how to grow and nurture ASTE. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this.