ASSE Governance Restructure Recap



“In the end, it’s important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining the same.”

–Max De Pree

Change is rarely a comfortable idea, particularly when things are going well and most indicators point to continued success. But, as James Belasco and Ralph Stayer say in Flight of the Buffalo, “Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”

When ASSE’s Board of Directors (BOD) began to examine the need to modify ASSE’s governance structure in 2010, the Society was experiencing membership growth, its annual conference was expanding and other successes were being recorded as the Society approached its 100th anniversary. Yet, the BOD sensed that meaningful change was needed to help ASSE prosper and advance the profession well into the future. Using an iterative, collaborative process that has been examined in a series of articles published in Professional Safety and posted online, the BOD enlisted various member constituent groups and Glenn Tecker, a governance expert, to examine trends, review current and expected member demographics, discuss business factors and understand best practices in association governance. Based on the discussions and dialogue, the BOD determined that being proactive in changing the Society’s governance model would enable ASSE to maximize its resources, create more volunteer and leadership opportunities, increase diversity and bring new voices to the decision-making process.

From March 2013 through June 2013, the BOD continued to discuss and revise the model based on ongoing member feedback. During its meeting at Safety 2013 in Las Vegas, NV, the BOD unanimously approved the model and the necessary changes to the Society’s bylaws. In addition, the model was discussed during the regional caucuses leading up to the annual House of Delegates meeting, during which additional delegate comments focused on the proposal and the important changes it represents.

This member-centered progress toward revising ASSE’s governance restructure will continue until a motion is brought to the House of Delegates for a vote. This will occur at some point in the future. Until then, ASSE encourages members to continue to review the materials on the website, speak with their chapter and region leadership, and submit questions and feedback. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to provide the highest-quality service to members at all levels and for ASSE to be known as a leading voice in the global SH&E community. Be sure to learn more about this initiative and share your feedback.