Chair Report for Jul 2023
In the past month we have had to pivot and find our way back to institutional unity to serve the myriad of groups we are privileged to list on OIAA. An example of this pivot was the follow through of the Birthday Celebration, where people stepped up to fill in and make it happen. I am grateful to the Convention Chair, Tech team, and Registrar and others in the background, who went on with the event. I have to admit that I had no clue that week what my responsibility for that event was.
In the past month I have had to pivot to get up to speed on the many moving parts that is this organization. As all of us do, stepping into a new service position, there were moments when I was overwhelmed. Vendors, I said? Interpreters? But we are a team and more than once all I had to do was reach out for help and help was there. Questions were patiently answered. I continue to learn new skills.
The Board had a backlog of items to consider from Committee Charters to filling positions or figuring out who was doing what, to agreeing to expand the board at our November election assembly with an International and At-Large Trustee. And to considering open board meetings except when discussing confidential personnel issues. But we met as often as necessary to do this important work including supporting our service committees: helping to date, the Secretary, Tech Committee, Archivist, Ad Hoc Communications, and CPC/PI realize their goals for serving the fellowship by forwarding unbudgeted funds requests to the assembly at the end of July. None of this could be achieved without the generous funds of the fellowship and the careful directing of their use by the Finance Committee. We launched a new website! Bravo to the tireless Tech team, that also took time out to show me how an Assembly would work, and how the next one would be planned!!! Now calendars are still a puzzlement, but if I knew everything, “The Teacher” could not practice being teachable.
Board members found willing volunteers to fill alternate positions. Guidelines has a deadline for completion, and I have turned over the chair position of that committee to the very capable hands of our immediate past OIAA chair. What a privilege to see a working committee with dedicated and knowledgeable but clearly opinionated volunteers as we hammer out policy that fleshes out our bylaws, passed in September 2022 at our first real time assembly. In my area, where I served in General Service, we had committees of one, as the lion’s share of committee work in the area was done by the local intergroups.
Getting to know the Steppers/Registrar, and the Pac chairs, whose tireless work is done in the background, has been a privilege. Like many of us, they were my first contact and encouragement in listing my group and getting connected to such resources as the (Safety)techersteppers, a subcommittee of Tech, formed the first month I was here. They are a wealth of institutional knowledge, as are the past board members. And they have been the first to extend their hands in help whenever I have needed it.
Finally, I started to become familiar with the work of the committees, the core service work of the organization, attending meetings, if invited, including Finance, Unity, Communications and Grapevine. Communications is bringing out a Video! And how exciting to be part of the OIAA sponsorship through the Unity Committee of the weekend Convention in October of the 2nd International Convention of Online Groups!! But I will not steal their thunder!!!
Certainly, we took a step that was necessary; I know you felt excluded. But as a board, it was our fiduciary duty, per our bylaws, registered with the state of New Jersey. It was not a burden accorded to the assembly. As a member of the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, I had no responsibility or authority to have a say in replacing the Chair of the AAWS board. Even Delegates to the Conference do not have that responsibility or authority. It is the responsibility of the Board, as it is with OIAA.
IGRs and our groups continue to be the front-line warriors who shine light into the darkness of alcoholism, daily, 24 hours a day, in as many places in the world as we can reach. That is the most important work of the members of the assembly. You tell us what you need, and we do whatever we can to fill that need. I imagine the early groups and the distances, the letters. We are the new frontier, the Brave New World. Let us stand in unity to achieve the mission of the Fifth Tradition, the inclusion of the Third. Let us listen and respect each other, though we disagree. Let us answer the calls for help, within the team and with the groups that open a room to share their experience, strength, and hope. I am here to serve. We are here to serve. Thank you for the privilege.