There is a certain complexity that is involved with the governance of risk pooling. Combine that with the challenge that some board members may not have prior pooling experience and may even be new to the industry. It is critical that we be there in the onset of their term to provide a resource to help educate those individuals in further understanding their new role on our JPA’s Board. The impetus of the project came from one member who made a comment that ‘it would have been helpful if I knew this in the beginning of my term”. An idea was born!
As soon as the need was identified, their team, led by Jennifer Peters, GSRMA’s Assistant Risk Manager, banded together to create what would be the first version of their GSRMA Board Orientation Manual. The team consisted of their Member Services staff, Administrative staff, and of course, the board member who brought to light the need. Each team member possessed a different area of expertise, and their strengths were gathered to execute a comprehensive document with charts and graphics that further accentuated the message. The entire goal of the manual was to introduce the member to the world of risk pooling, from terminology, to timelines and resources they could refer back to as they had questions during their term on the Board.
Jennifer and her team started the project to create the Manual in November 2016. The first version was rolled out to their July 2017 Board Members. Once Board elections were complete, the GSRMA Member Services staff reached out to the incoming Board Members and they scheduled a time (whether in-person or via webinar) to conduct a meeting to go over the Manual. Staff sent the Manual prior to the meeting so that the Member could do a deep dive and be ready to ask questions.
The Next Steps
In looking back, Jennifer reflects that it was a great process for their internal staff in creating the Board Orientation Manual. And although it is still a work in progress, they continue to obtain the input from their board members, including what they thought was helpful and what other resources might go into the next iteration for future board members. She would highly recommend that other organizations implement a similar document/process. It helped them as an organization to realize what they already had, and it also helped further engage and educate their board on their role.
What was key for GSRMA in creating the Manual was ensuring that they included their board members in the process, because they don’t know what they don’t know. They gathered existing information, and then aggregated the materials into one cohesive location. In bringing the information together, they identified where there were gaps and created additional items to fill in those gaps.
“We can take for granted that as staff, we are in the thick of things on a day-to-day basis, thus the insight and input provided by the Board member was key to the GSRMA Board Orientation Manual’s success and longevity.”
For more information, feel free to contact Jennifer Peters at (530) 934-5633.
To view the GSRMA Board Orientation Manual, click here.