This meeting was intended to meet and interview the candidates in the upcoming Board of Directors election. All but one of the current Board members are standing for election. Jim Beckley (the non-candidate Board member) was appointed Flow Moderator, to keep the meeting on track. Denise Sharp was appointed Question Moderator, to handle the order of questions.
A quorum being present, the meeting was called to order by Jim Beckley at 5:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Present (at various times) were: Becca Incledon, Joanne Brady, Denise Sharp, Leslie Chapman, David Skinner, Jennifer Laus, Jim Beckley, Joann Starks, Judy Andryc, Katrina McGinnis, Kim Kleppel, Lori Skinner, Monica Robinson, Monica Kaskey, Myra Ellis, Pam Andress, and Rhonda Champion.
The first item on the agenda was a report on the Test Election Results. Jennifer reported that the system appeared to work, and that the winners were Harry Potter with 14 votes; Robin Hood, 14; Jack Sparrow, 12; the Doctor, 11; Boudicca of the Iceni, 11; Elphaba Thropp, 11; Llewelyn Fawr, 11; King Arthur, 11; Jack Ryan, 10. The rest of the candidates got between 4 and 9 votes.
Monica K asked how many had met face to face. Katrina said she had met Lori and Jim, and would be meeting Becca and Jennifer in May; Jim said he had met Katrina; Lori said she and Dave had met Katrina; Becca said she had not met anyone; Pam said she had not met anyone; Rhonda said she had not met anyone, but had talked to Katrina and Jennifer on the phone.
Jim and Denise said it was time to get back to the agenda, which called for questions for the candidates. Jim asked if any questions had been sent in ahead of the meeting. Denise replied that none had been submitted. Jim then asked if everyone had read the candidate statements. Most replied they had. Jim then opened the meeting to questions. Jennifer pointed out that the candidate’s bios could be found in the Members Only section of the D2Care website. Denise asked if contributions to D2Care are eligible for tax deductions. Katrina replied that we have applied for 501(c)3 status, which, when approved, will confer tax exemptions on donations for both the donor and the organization. Katrina pointed out that questions may be directed at the candidates in the upcoming Board of Directors election, the current Board members, or at the running of D2Care.
Rhonda was recognized by Denise and asked Monica K if she had experience with presenting information to shelters, how it was presented, and what the response was. Monica replied that she had not, but that she has experience with training and presentations through her work. She also noted that she would like to get more training to be able to present to shelters.
Denise recognized Joanne Brady who asked first whether anyone has a vision for how this (D2Care) should come about. Katrina answered that all of us have a vision for the organization, especially those who were in from the beginning. She added that she see D2Care being one of the leading organizations for people to come to when they have questions about deaf dogs or are seeking help with deaf dog placement. Monica K added that she would like to see D2Care be the premier organization for people to access info about deaf dogs and that shelters and rescues that receive deaf dogs or have questions about deaf dogs will know to come to D2Care. Katrina said that she hopes we can create the literature that can be used at dog shows and children’s fairs, etc. Jennifer wondered if Joanne’s question was meant to be a D2Care question or a candidate question (where each candidate should probably each get called on to answer). Joanne clarified that she was just looking at it as an organizational question, not necessarily directed at anyone in particular, and asked that all the candidate should feel free to voice their visions. Jennifer said that she agreed with what Katrina said and added that one of her biggest priorities is that the organization stays responsive to it’s members and remains strong and lasts. Leslie, Myra and Kim had entered the chat room recently, so Katrina asked Jim to recap the current question. Lori said that the others had said it all; she wants the group to be accessible, open and responsive to the members and the public. Rhonda added that what she wants for D2Care is that it will be a strong organizaton with accountable membership as well as Board members who work together to provide numerous benefits to deaf dogs, such as education, transport, funds for vet bills, and so on. We accomplish that through working together on committees and the members yahoo list. Lori added that she’d like to see educational materials made available that members can distribute. I’d like to see funds available for emergency vet bills and transport. Becca said that she wants the board to be able to speak with the members and to answer their questions and concerns in a timely manner. She’d like the board to be able to provide clear and concise aid and education for the people who are lost and seeking desperately for help when they suddenly discover they have a deaf dog and have no idea what they are going to do. Myra said she sees the organization of D2Care as being THE resource for all things deaf dogs in the form of information. She would love to see a unified organization that can stand united and speak about and for deaf dogs and help those that love and provide a home for them. She added that she sees the organization as a dynamic, moving one and not full of stagnant information or outdated information.
Denise asked how many terms a board member can serve. Kim replied from the bylaws, “Each Director shall hold Office for a period of four (4) years with no more than two (2) consecutive terms or until his or her successor is elected and qualifies.” Myra pointed out that this election only, has some board seats that would have 2-year terms.
Monica K. asked what the members believe will make a good board candidate and how the board members will be accountable for carrying out the vision of the members and the organization. Kim replied that she thinks a good board member is anyone who wants to be a board member, and board members will be judged by whether or not those things they are responsible for work; for example, adoption pages stay up to date, educational materials serve their purpose, etc.
Denise asked how the board candidates see the promotion of D2Care apparel; only by visiting the website, or by approaching pet stores to sell merchandise on behalf of D2Care. Kim said she can’t see approaching pet stores. Chains will have specific suppliers and distributors they deal with; but she could see someone being in charge of an EBay site to sell merchandise.
Denise asked if anyone had considered holding obedience classes specifically for deaf dogs in a group setting and wondered if there are sufficient dogs collectively in one place to make this an option. Lori replied that she currently offers in-home private lessons for deaf dogs. Denise wondered if this was on a one to one basis or in a group setting, as responses are different in group settings, regarding the distraction factor. Lori said her classes are one on one. She no longer teaches at a school; she brings her own dogs occasionally for distractions and she often holds lessons outside and at parks when the weather permits. Lori added she did have an occasional deaf dog when she was instructing at the training center. Rhonda said they have plenty of dogs in the Denver area; hundreds on the list, around 45 – 50 who show for picnics. She added the problem is finding a trainer with a true understanding of deaf dogs. She thought perhaps a train the trainer class first. Joanne Starks said she found a trainer to put on a class in Austin, TX. She added the class she set up is for her adopted dogs and her fosters. Denise added she was thinking more of classes under the umbrella of the D2Care. Denise said it would generate income for D2Care, plus have someone who understands deaf dogs. Katrina replied that the idea had not come up before, but that it sounded intriguing. Monica K. said that she thinks that with time, the organization could come up with a training packet for shelters or trainers about tips/tricks for teaching deaf dogs (obedience to start). She added she would love to have representatives in different geographical areas that would be able to train dog trainers to actually do the teaching. Rhonda added that if it were under D2Care she thought there should definitely be a train the trainer type workshop. Myra said she thought the organization should concentrate to achieve its primary goals before taking on the task of becoming a training organization. She added that is a bit more detailed than anything in the works at present which are more “global” or broad in perspective. Pam added this could cause a problem with insurance and law suits, adding that obedience clubs have to have insurance to cover the instructors.
Jim reminded the meeting that we had gotten off track of the question on the floor, which was, what makes a good Board member. Denise said that commitment is the big thing, that no one should stand for a position that they cannot give 110% to. Lori said she thinks it’s very important for the membership to speak up and participate, that the Board doesn’t know what they want unless they speak up or vote. Denise agreed, saying just as a conductor needs an orchestra, the candidates need the members. Rhonda added that an accountable board and accountable membership is one and the same. There must be participation to make it work.
Jim noted that members leaving during the meeting had taken the meeting below a quorum and moved that the meeting be adjourned. Pam seconded the motion. Approval was unanimous. The meeting was adjourned at 7:53 PM Pacific Daylight Time.