Using Technology for Board Work

by Brian Gallagher

briangallagher-8fea1617As I start my final year as a member of the Country Dance and Song Society governing board, I reflect upon some of the things that have happened in my time serving, beyond big policy issues. One of the items I’m proudest about has been my involvement in the efforts to utilize technology better in the work that we do.

The board meets in person once a year. Various committees, including the executive committee, meet in person several times per year, but the vast majority of the board’s work is conducted outside of these in person meetings. When I started on the board, a lot of that work was conducted via email and teleconference using a free teleconference service.

There have been several people who have pushed us into the technology age, so this is not about giving credit. This is about the neat things we use.

First, we have a great webpage that hosts all of our board-related documents and resources. This site is great—it allows the office staff and board to store documents. When it comes time for the annual meeting, we post all of the board reports on the site. It is also an easy place to upload the most recent copy of the agenda.

Next comes the video conferencing. We do use Skype sometimes. We have found this is an effective tool if you want to do a video conference between two people. I have been known to have a quick video chat with fellow board members. It also functions as a great way for me to connect with other board members and really talk through a question or concern.

The bigger conferencing tool we are using is called Go to Meeting (G2M). (This is not meant to be an advertisement for the company at all.) While working to figure out what software works best for our needs, Jill Allen (and a few others) and myself sampled 6-8 different video and audio conferencing software. We settled on G2M for a variety of reasons.

There are moments when it is pretty fun to be in a meeting spanning multiple time zones. Favorite memories: one board member in Greece or a committee member in Ireland, with the rest of us all over North America. It gives a whole new meaning to “how are things by you?”

I’m glad that I have been part of this small change in how the CDSS board operates.

Brian Gallagher joined the CDSS governing board in 2008; he lives in Carbondale, IL.