Nominating Committee Questions

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 6, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Hello All,

I’ve really enjoyed having these conversations over the past few weeks, and I have a follow-up question, relating to the Board and nominating committee. Is anyone here able to share specific knowledge of the board nominating process? (here are the bylaws below):

Section 4.7 Elections and Vacancies

Directors will be elected by a majority vote of the Voting Members from the nominees presented by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Board. In special circumstances, Directors may be appointed by the Board.

I do see the process for submissions written on the website, but I’d like additional information.

  1. Who from the board is currently on the committee?
  2. How are those nominating committee members chosen?
  3. Once nominations are submitted how are they vetted to be selected for voting by membership?

It would be lovely for the board to please advise membership on this process for transparency and accountability. However, informal information is also appreciated.

I look forward to responses. I am interested in gathering information at this time. Thank you.

Dr Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Sarah Bylander Montzka said: Aug 6, 2020
Sarah Bylander MontzkaTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
203 posts

Hi, Beth!

This is my understanding of the nomination process (please see attached file “SAA Nominations 101).

I hope someone will correct me if I am off base.

I could speak to questions 2 and 3, but it would be solely based on my experiences on the board —which was from 2010-2017. Things may have changed since then and I definitely don’t want to give any outdated information!

Hope this helps!

SAA Nominations 101

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 6, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Thank you Sarah, this is immensely helpful! So, according to this document, it seems that any nominations for the board must be done ASAP as the committee will be meeting in September. I’ve attached the actual document.

Ongoing: Board members and Nominating Committee brainstorm possible nominees (using guidelines expressed in the governing policies).

September: Nominating Committee meets to narrow list of possibilities.
Fall: Nominating committee reviews nominee materials and schedules phone interviews

with candidates.
January meeting: Board approves/disapproves proposed slate.

Board elections must be held between February 1 and April 15 in accordance with Bylaws.

May: Incoming board members are presented to membership at the Annual Membership Meeting.

Please tell me:

  1. Who is on the current nominating committee?
  2. How many board vacancies will be open and which positions.

Thank you.

Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Carole Kane said: Aug 8, 2020
Carole Kane
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Chesterfield, MO
18 posts

Dear Dr. Guerriero,

I hope you are considering becoming an SAA Board member. You obviously have the skills needed to address the current challenges facing this non-profit organization.

Thanks,
Carole Kane

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 9, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Hello Carole, 

Thank you so much for these kind words. It is imperative that board spots are left for BIPOC representation and other marginalized voices, so I will not be running at this time. There are so many great Black candidates that are qualified to be on the SAA Board. And, this needs to go beyond tokenism from the SAA. For the nominating committee to produce one candidate for one spot is not enough, nor fair for the membership regarding representation.

Instead, let us shift the focus so that our colleagues with voices that have been marginalized for so long have a platform and leadership place in the Suzuki Association of the Americas.  The board needs to grow in size to accommodate this. Where is Latin American representation, Central American representation, Afro-Caribbean, and others?

Further, where are the doctors, lawyers, homemakers, Suzuki parents, business people, that can truly support this organization? And, what about diversifying income of the board membership so that budgets can be fixed? Much growth is needed in the SAA Board that can only come from expanding the size of the board. Many organizations have working Advisory Boards, Junior Boards, and others in their model that support the main board. These are just questions, not meant to accuse, I’m just asking and making suggestions.

It is critical to scrutinize the nomination process transparency and accountability, and I have recently written to the board regarding this issue. I urge the board to respond to the full membership with transparency and accountability regarding questions about this process. I have deep concerns about the Chair/Chair-elect process, as those people must be social-justice oriented and forward thinking.

The board should require the Chair-elect position nominees write a social-justice Suzuki philosophy statement as part of the voting this year, to be shared with membership. This will help us as membership to better know who we are voting for to lead the organization. As we know Dr. Suzuki was progressive for his time.

As someone who started Suzuki at the age of 3, taken long term training twice (Hartt and University of Denver), and really believes in Suzuki education, I am committed to this work towards a more equitable Suzuki Association of the Americas. For now, I will put a boilerplate statement before I teach anything Suzuki in front of my university classes or at conferences about the ongoing SAA DEIA  and other crises. Without more members speaking out, the culture will not change.

Sincerely, 

Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D. 
**
Dear Suzuki Association of the Americas Board of Directors and CEO/Executive Director Pam Brasch,

I’m reaching out directly, as I have asked in the forum and not received a response. Please respond, in timely manner, regarding my questions about the nominating committee. 

1.    Who is on the current nominating committee? 

2.    How does this committee vet nominations based on application (after the formation applications are received)?

3.    How many board vacancies will be open and which positions.

4.    Are you considering expanding the number of board members? 

Thank you for your prompt response. 

Sincerely,

Charles Krigbaum said: Aug 15, 2020
Charles KrigbaumTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Wylie, TX
78 posts

I have been following this particular thread with great interest, and I find the following questions posted by Dr. Guerriero to be clear, reasonable, and essential:

1.    Who is on the current nominating committee? 

2.    How does this committee vet nominations based on application (after the formation applications are received)?

3.    How many board vacancies will be open and which positions.

4.    Are you considering expanding the number of board members?

I have carefully read the SAA Nominations 101 link provided by Sarah Montzka, and I do not find the answers to these questions in this document. I am happy to be corrected if I make this observance in error.

The Nominating Committee (according to the link) meets in September, so interested parties do indeed need timely access to this information prior to forwarding nominations to the committee.

I look forward to clarification on these issues. Although I have been a member of the SAA for about 20 years, a donor and patron for many of those years, and I am also a Registered Teacher Trainer—I do not know the answers to these questions. I would like to remedy my own ignorance so that I may have answers when asked by colleagues and members.

During this time of the pandemic and social justice activism, particularly in the realm of diversity, equality, and inclusion—I have witnessed a new interest in service and leadership among our membership. I find this energy exciting, as new voices with different backgrounds and areas of expertise, along with different life experience and geographic diversity can only strengthen our organization in the long term.

Put another way, and in plain language: I’m often asked by teachers and colleagues “How does one get chosen to serve on the Board?” While the SAA Nominations 101 document is a summary and overview of the process, without clear answers to the questions brought forward by Dr. Guerriero, any answer I could give would be incomplete at this time.

Respectfully,

Charles Krigbaum

This message has been brought to you by:

Charles Krigbaum, Director
North Texas School of Talent Education
www.ntste.com
www.facebook.com/NorthTexasSchoolofTalentEducation

Cicely said: Aug 15, 2020
Cicely NelsonViolin, Viola
Los Angeles, CA
4 posts

I stand 100% in support of Dr. Guerriero’s statement. The lukewarm stance of the SAA with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in general and in light of recent events, are disappointing to me and not at all in keeping with what I believe were Dr. Suzuki ‘s values. The homogeneity of the board alone is an atrocity. We can and must do so much better. The board must reflect what this continent looks like, not what the most affluent fragment of this continent looks like. I am given to understand that many people that feel this way and many have even given up the fight, moving away from the organization. I absolutely understand this but I believe we can and must do better and we, American Suzuki teachers, will hold you to account.

  • The board must be more inclusive and reflect the membership

  • The organization must be much more concerned with outreach

-The organization must hire a diversity, equity and inclusion expert in general and especially if this will ever be part of the curriculum.

-The organization needs a director of development, a grant writer. As it stands, without these things, very little can change

I look forward to seeing this organization evolve.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 16, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Suzuki Association of the Americas Board of Directors and CEO/Executive Director Pam Brasch,

I’m circling back again, as I continue to receive no response. Please respond, in timely manner, regarding my questions about the nominating committee and processes. My understanding based on word-of-mouth from colleagues is that the chair is Mr. Rolando Freitag, though he has not responded in any way to my requests for information via direct email, nor has the office of the SAA.

This continues to be unacceptable and unprofessional, especially relating to the governing bylaws of the International Suzuki Association (ISA), 1.4.C. (Each Regional Association shall be democratically structured and function democratically, including but not limited to election of Directors and other leadership by vote of its Country Members and/or individual members in each country; having open Board meetings at which any member may attend; and providing that actions taken on behalf of the Regional Association are approved by its Board). Please answer the following questions:

1.    Who is on the current nominating committee? 

2.    How does this committee vet nominations based on application (after the formation applications are received)?

3.    How many board vacancies will be open and which positions.

4.    Are you considering expanding the number of board members? 

Thank you for your prompt response.  Respectfully submitted,

Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 17, 2020
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1076 posts

I, too, am interested in knowing the answers to these questions!

1.    Who is on the current nominating committee? 

2.    How does this committee vet nominations based on application (after the formation applications are received)?

3.    How many board vacancies will be open and which positions.

4.    Are you considering expanding the number of board members?


Jennifer said: Aug 18, 2020
Jennifer Martens
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Austin, TX
5 posts

A lot of us are waiting to see the answers to the questions above. The information requested is so basic.

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 18, 2020
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1076 posts

Heather! To be fair, things are not quite so bad as all that. I realize you might be using hyperbole for effect, but (especially as a moderator!) I’ve seen hyperbole go wrong so frequently online, and that is the last thing we want or need here.

In my experience, the best way to get answers is to give as much assumption of good faith and benefit of the doubt as you can. The best way to get people to defend themselves instead of answer you is to write or say things that might easily be construed as incorrect.

For example, I wouldn’t imply that the SAA controls all of the thousands of people who use Suzuki materials or philosophy. A person doesn’t need to be an SAA member to use Suzuki materials or take or offer Suzuki-style lessons. An SAA member is strongly encouraged, but not required, to follow the guidelines that the SAA makes.

I also would be careful not to imply that we don’t know who the current board members are, or that we don’t know the proximate cause of how they got there. They’re board members because SAA members voted for them.

That being said, I am displeased with the idea of receiving a single candidate’s name and bio and being asked to vote yes or no, which I recall has happened in the past. Until now I’ve never been displeased enough to say anything about it, because I also know that people who are vocal about asking for answers or changes from an organization are often also asked to step up and become the board member or join the nominating committee (or become a moderator [ahem]).

I’m interested in knowing how candidates for the SAA board are nominated, who nominates them, and knowing how we can change the process so that more board positions can be created, more people can be nominated, and more candidates from a variety of different backgrounds can be presented, AND so that more candidates than vacancies can be presented, so that voters can have a choice as opposed to a “yes/no” vote for the exact number of nominees as there are vacancies.

Heather Wentzel said: Aug 19, 2020
 2 posts

Jennifer, you are correct, I’m sorry. I wrote the post out of surprise without thinking which isn’t a good thing to do. I removed the post.

Rolando Freitag said: Aug 19, 2020
Rolando FreitagTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Orlando, FL
200 posts

Hi everyone,

These are excellent questions indeed, and I would like to answer them.

1.       Who is on the current nominating committee? 

The current Nominating Committee consists of Beth Cantrell, Esther Fellows, Rolando Freitag (chair), Mary Halverson Waldo, Ellen Kogut, and Pam Brasch.  

2.       How does this committee vet nominations based on application (after the formation applications are received)?

This committee, with support from the entire Board of Directors, vets all nominations based on current and projected Board needs, such as business acumen, leadership and fundraising experience, other Board experience, with consideration for geographical balance. Most important of all, Board members must be forward thinking and committed to ideals of servant leadership, in accordance with Suzuki philosophy and current SAA Board Governance Policies. Currently, the Board is working with the ad-hoc Advisory Committee on Race to identify BIPOC in the Suzuki community for SAA board nominations, and we welcome nominations from all members.

3.       How many board vacancies will be open and which positions?

There will be four vacancies open in August 2021. These positions are currently in the following committees: Audit, Board Education, Development, Honorary Board, and Nominating. Committee assignment is decided by the Board Chair at the beginning of the fiscal year, therefore this list may not reflect the actual positions open in the future.

4.       Are you considering expanding the number of board members? 

Yes, we are considering expanding the number of Board members by August, 2021. The exact number is as yet to be determined, and we are taking under serious consideration the recommendations of the membership.

Rolando Freitag
Violin, Viola Teacher / Violin Teacher Trainer
Orlando Suzuki Music School
Florida Music Institute

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 19, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Mr. Freitag,

I sincerely appreciate your responses to these questions. What a wealth of information! It is essential that this information is sent to the general membership and shared in the Board Nominations 101 document shared by Sarah Bylander Montzka so it is transparent and accountable (and in each cycle of SAA Board nominations). Wouldn’t that encourage more viable candidates to step up?

I want to follow-up to ask some additional follow-up questions:

  1. During the election process, will the SAA provide the membership additional information beyond the current practice of a photograph and bio? For example, other organizations such as NAfME (https://nafme.org/scott-sheehan-2020-2022-nafme-national-president-elect/) and ASTA ((https://astastrings.org/Public/Contact_Us/Board_Candidates_for_Election.aspx) typically provide a robust amount of information regarding each candidate, as evidenced. Will SAA be providing members richer data with which to make our voting decisions?

  2. I would like to ask a follow-up question regarding geographical balance, since you have brought that up. I have spent time with the organizational 990s of the SAA and see that there is no representation of the board currently living in Latin America, an entire continent that is part of our Suzuki Association of the Americas. Does the board commit to appointing a Latin American board member who lives in Latin American this election cycle?

I appreciate your timely response to these follow-up questions. Sincerely,

Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Kelly Williamson said: Aug 20, 2020
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
318 posts

I also appreciate receiving the above detail as to the board’s plans. It is clearly necessary to expand the board. Aside from the need for much greater diversity—including cultural and professional diversity—there is a lot of work to be done. Our aspirations are very high!

I am surprised to see so many committees listed for such a small group of board members. In all honesty it all reminds me of a favourite political satire where a party organizer, the chief electoral officer, and the lone voter are all ultimately revealed to be the same person. If I remember correctly from the last SAA board ballot I sent in, I was asked to vote for “up to two” people from a list of only two candidates. This is not voting. It is not democratic.

Given all of this, I do not understand why the board would wait until Fall 2021 to rectify the situation. Especially now, when the board does not need to travel to meet, the time is ideal for expanding the board, to respond to the many calls from the SAA membership to make the board representative of the membership. The statement that the current board is “considering” this change for a year from now is not satisfactory, though I am grateful that the dialogue is now open and public so that these points can be clarified and corrected.

Kelly

Charles Krigbaum said: Aug 20, 2020
Charles KrigbaumTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Wylie, TX
78 posts

Thank you Kelly for these thoughts. I strongly agree with your points. I do not feel comfortable voting on up to two candidates when there are only two candidates to select from. My recollection is not complete, and I do not claim to be right—but as far as I remember, it has always been like this. This has given me concern for many years, but like many things I brushed it aside and didn’t follow through or give it the thought and attention it deserves. It feels that the candidates are pre-selected, and that the vote is then just to make it “official”. Inside of these questions, more questions have now come to light. I’m grateful for this dialogue, and I deeply appreciate the response from Rolando. I feel that there is much more to consider and examine in this process. I’m also very grateful for people who ask questions. Transparency is vital and leads to a thriving organization. I expect much greater transparency in all matters as we move forward. I would be most comfortable with a robust list of qualified candidates, and let the membership choose their representatives.

This message has been brought to you by:

Charles Krigbaum, Director
North Texas School of Talent Education
www.ntste.com
www.facebook.com/NorthTexasSchoolofTalentEducation

Ryan Caparella said: Aug 20, 2020
Ryan Caparella
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Oak Park, IL
3 posts

Great questions and answers here, I very much appreciate this dialogue.

Kelly and Charles, thank you so much for sharing your specific concerns over past presentations of Board candidates for election. In my decade of involvement with this organization, this has been an issue of great concern to me as well. My recollection may also be incomplete, but as Charles stated, the presentation of an equivalent number of candidates-to-openings has undeniably been a recurring issue.

This appearance of “non-choice” has led me to abstain from voting in recent elections—something I am reticent to admit. As an ardent believer in democratic processes and the responsibility to vote, this choice has pained me—but I have found it equally unpalatable to participate in a rubber-stamp election. I have been reflecting on this conundrum with a newfound clarity given the current conversations concerning the urgent need for a broader and more diverse Board.

I regret not sharing these concerns sooner. At the same time, I am grateful that our organization’s current moment of introspection is providing a platform for these vital discussions.

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 23, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
315 posts

Thanks for a great informative discussion everyone!

If I remember correctly, the nominations for the Board in September are researched with care, then some are chosen for a phone interview, and the voting happens after that. This all takes more time than you think.

I remember when there was voting for the Board members, but can’t recall the exact year. Think about the members who don’t get voted in. Maybe they are introverts, and not known to the membership, maybe they have skills in areas that members aren’t aware of, maybe the feel really bad when they don’t get elected.

I don’t know the perfect solution, just that many organizations do not vote because it can and often does divide. There is a member represented approach where only the Board nominates potential candidates. There is a model for presenting only one choice in many denominations for the senior minister. The choosing is done by the elders, and members contact them with their concerns and hopes.

This may be the first opportunity to nominate people for the Board in our current climate of racial balance and awareness, our new hopes and dreams.
I appreciate the ideas set forth by Rolando about Servant Leadership, and will continue to think carefully about who I might recommend.

It is encouraging that so many people are becoming involved!

Jennifer said: Aug 23, 2020
Jennifer Martens
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Austin, TX
5 posts

I’m certain you can count on SAA members nominated for Board service being robust enough to accept the results of a vote.

Tanya said: Aug 23, 2020
Tanya CareyTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Glen Ellyn, IL
52 posts

I can’t believe I am entering into this. As a person who has served on the SAA Board in the formation stage, the growing stage, and emergence into a mature organization that works with other music organizations to further the cause of the arts on a national level, I have seen a variety of board governance approaches.  In my presidency, as we transitioned offices, CEO’s, Journal Editor, and conference management, it was clear that we were ready for a professional approach to board governance. The next president was able to initiate that change. The board worked hard to understand the new system and pass the principles to the membership for all our use in running our own Suzuki organizations. Our Leadership Conferences had training sessions for all.  I remember the days of a show of hands in a meeting to accept a new teacher trainer, that many of us might not even know. I remember the win and lose approach choosing  board members. The nominating committee encouraged people to run for the board.  Then came the disappointment of losing in a contest running against colleagues and friends. I remember, in my Presidency, having 135 people in some 20 or so committees with which I had to communicate and coordinate. In this modern approach, the board is a working board with each one vetted and chosen according to the strengths needed for the various work the board has. It is not a popularity contest or who had the biggest name exposure.The board does the committee work of my era and adds special Task Forces and Instrument groups responsible for well defined projects. It is a WORKING board and they are not paid for their service. The rotation assures continuity and no one is on the board “for ever.” This gives the board a chance to renew itself and ever steer our organization toward the future. It is not “we” and “they”—it is US, our colleagues and our friends who agree for some years to add to their regular work load to be in service for us all. Some three or four meetings a year have developed into weekly meetings and more, with the current situation adding more stress for the members during a stressful time for all of us. Let’s demonstrate what we teach: respect for every living soul; cooperation, not competition; every organization “can,” and belief that we can all learn. Working together we can grow. When we define an issue, let’s work together to solve it. Give the board some breathing room to develop the changes which we all recognize are our next step in development. Let’s trust the process and each other. The language of discord slows the process of growth. ”When love isdeep, much can be accomplished.”

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 24, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Ms. Carey, Mr. Freitag, and All,

Thank you so much for your profound wisdom and words. Ms. Carey, I would absolutely love to speak with you further, via phone or Zoom, regarding the crises facing the Suzuki Association of the Americas. This institutional knowledge is absolutely necessary to understand how the organization got here. That is profound.

It’s necessary to remember that before people flew in planes to cross the ocean—which take just a few hours—they sailed in ships for journeys that take weeks on end. People also used to use typewriters instead of computers. And those old mimeograph things for copies. I could go on. Know better, do better.

As a mid-career teacher, I’d like to ask for the Black Suzuki leadership from your generation to speak at this moment, to respond, to represent but there’s a loss. Where are they? It is profound—the loss of senior Black Suzuki leadership and what we’ve all lost from not having that.

As a mid-career teacher, I’d like to ask the Latin American Suzuki leadership living in Latin America from your generation of leadership to speak at this moment to respond, to represent but there’s a loss. Where are they? It is profound—the loss of senior Latin American Suzuki Leadership and what we’ve all lost from not having that.

This is an opportunity to make that change for newer generations. Elections are a very small part of the change for all of us.

  • I would like to ask a follow-up question regarding geographical balance, since you have brought that up. I have spent time with the organizational 990s of the SAA and see that there is no representation of the board currently living in Latin America, an entire continent that is part of our Suzuki Association of the Americas. Does the board commit to appointing a Latin American board member who lives in Latin American this election cycle?

Please appoint 3-5 BIPOC to the board of the Suzuki Association of the Americas now and hold and clear and transparent election. Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Tanya said: Aug 24, 2020
Tanya CareyTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Glen Ellyn, IL
52 posts

Do you read your Journals? Are you connected to social media groups that share ideas across country, color, and culture in Suzuki? Latin America is alive and well and flourishing. They are not silent and they present their ideas with vigor and style. The president before me got Canada connected to the SAA and my administration got Latin America attached. Yes, we had to overcome the language communication. Did you know that Latin America had the first Suzuki group in the Americas? I have trained teachers in 12 Latin American countries. It took almost 20 years to produce two L. A. cello teacher trainers who are now working overtime to fill the demand. We are now 40 years in the connection to the L.A. programs—we all just kept at it. It is a source of joy to us all to note how many different styles of organization can exist effectively under the same umbrella. The senior level teachers in Latin America have always been effective, active, and welcoming of the support of the whole organization while developing their own autonomy. It was the senior level teachers that first invited me to their countries. The Latin American group has its own meetings. Did you hear about the one last Fall in Mexico for the whole SAA? They have achieved the remarkable feat of crossing over country lines to communicate, have children gather together for festivals, coordinate training and meet together with the other components of a diverse and huge land area. They are busy doing their work to spread Dr. Suzuki’s ideas—there is a lot of territory to cover. I would be surprised if they felt left out of the decision making process. My cello group in Buenos Aires is active and we communicate regularly in our facebook group—I mostly listen to what they have to say and what they are doing. Many of them also come to my classes in my home or on Zoom. I regularly see my L.A. friends in that medium. I also have a good proportion of POC in my studio and classes. In my book 1 class in September there are 5 out of 10. Oh yes, in my university position I have arranged scholarships and trained teachers who are working in L.A. for over 55 years of higher education. We still communicate and are friends. (Latin America is not the only area that I have served diverse backgrounds). I am still at it with 50% of my current college studio.

I am not clear where you are going with ships and mimeograph machines. I thought we were past that in 2020.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 24, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Dr. Carey,

“I would be surprised if they felt left out of the decision making process.” You might be surprised.

Do Latin American teachers in the Suzuki Association not deserve Board representation that lives on their continent? It seems as though the list you provide is all the reasons as to why they deserve that very representation.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

All -
1) During the election process, will the SAA provide the membership additional information beyond the current practice of a photograph and bio? Will SAA be providing members richer data with which to make our voting decisions? 

  1. I would like to ask a follow-up question regarding geographical balance, since you have brought that up. I have spent time with the organizational 990s of the SAA and see that there is no representation of the board currently living in Latin America, an entire continent that is part of our Suzuki Association of the Americas. Does the board commit to appointing a Latin American board member who lives in Latin American this election cycle?

Please appoint 3-5 BIPOC to the board of the Suzuki Association of the Americas now and hold a clear and transparent election. Sincerely,

Dr. Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 25, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
315 posts

Dear SAA Members,

I have been involved with Latin America teaching training courses since 2007. During that time, the course work resulted in 2 teacher trainers in guitar, and a reach of over 1000 guitar students and families. The festivals and workshops have created a learning community that is so respectful, even through challenges, enthusiastic even through economic realities. I noticed the playing of Bach double was extraordinary, so after agreement from the board, invited a group to the Conference. What awesome Bach, Piazzolla and other music! What enthusiasm! The orchestra included guitars for some pieces! I also helped with the guitar ensemble group from Mexico City perform, and later was inspired to bring my own students. We played all music arranged or composed by Latin Americans and Black composers. The premise was that there is a whole continent of music that is beautiful, meaningful and widely varied. You can view their performance on the SAA website.

I asked several members if they were willing to be on the board, and all said “not yet” at the time. The leaders and teacher trainers are in very high demand, and have extraordinary work to do. We did have a Latin American member on the board, and it wasn’t possible to stay, due to so many other duties. So, there is a time for board service, and it has been suggested long ago. The are is in development, and I regret the statements saying nothing has been done. It could not be farther from the truth.

I hear a call for immediate action, and I ask everyone to consider that Inclusion takes time. The speed at which we are working is quite ramped up at the moment, and that is the right thing to do at this time. Now there are people I can think of who could help by being a board member, even without the demands presented above. In fact, we would probably all agree that it is the right time. Falling into cynicism is all too easy, and I suggest that we display a sense of vision and trust in the future.

Rolando Freitag said: Aug 25, 2020
Rolando FreitagTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Orlando, FL
200 posts

Thank you MaryLou and Tanya for your input. I would like to further answer the follow up questions:

1. During the election process, will the SAA provide the membership additional information beyond the current practice of a photograph and bio? For example, other organizations such as NAfME (https://nafme.org/scott-sheehan-2020-2022-nafme-national-president-elect/) and ASTA ((https://astastrings.org/Public/Contact_Us/Board_Candidates_for_Election.aspx) typically provide a robust amount of information regarding each candidate, as evidenced. Will SAA be providing members richer data with which to make our voting decisions? 

The SAA will provide members richer data about the nominees with which to make voting decisions, such as:

a. Bio and Photograph
b. Resume
c. Statement from the nominee highlighting reasons for interest in serving on the board, past and current volunteer experience and involvement within the SAA

This is in line with your suggestions above, and will apply to the next round of Board elections, in the Spring of 2021.

2. I would like to ask a follow-up question regarding geographical balance, since you have brought that up. I have spent time with the organizational 990s of the SAA and see that there is no representation of the board currently living in Latin America, an entire continent that is part of our Suzuki Association of the Americas. Does the board commit to appointing a Latin American board member who lives in Latin American this election cycle?

We have maintained for more than 10 years a presence on the Board of members who lived in Latin America, worked closely with the Latin American membership, and others who were born and raised there. Between 2017 and 2018 we had one Board member residing in Latin America. This appointment ended, unfortunately, in resignation at the end of the first year of a three-year term. The amount of time needed to perform Board work, both during meetings and at home, while occupying a leadership position in his country, was the reason given by this Board member residing in Latin America for his resignation. 

We believe in the importance for the SAA to have a Board member currently residing in Latin America, and we revisit this need during every Board election cycle. Learning from our previous experience, we believe this must be done prudently rather than based on timing alone, and taking in consideration personal and financial costs for both the member and the SAA.

We maintain a close relationship with Suzuki leaders in Latin America, and will again appoint a member residing in Latin America to the Board. This may happen at the next election cycle, if we are able to do so within reasonable personal and financial cost efficiency.

Rolando Freitag
Violin, Viola Teacher / Violin Teacher Trainer
Orlando Suzuki Music School
Florida Music Institute

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 25, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Mr. Freitag, and Suzuki Association Board of Directors,

The Suzuki Association Board of Directors is unable to commit to appointing a Latin American Board member living in Latin America this cycle or next cycle? “This may happen at the next election cycle, if we are able to do so within reasonable personal and financial cost efficiency.” Disgraceful for an international organization. There is still no accounting for the 2018 TRAVEL Budget. There is still no release of the FY 20 and FY 21 Budgets. Where is the budget? The membership has been asking for almost three months.

Without real financial transparency and accountability, the updated Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, transparency of the FY20 and FY 21 budgets, and detailed answers to the $43,000 in FY18 TRAVEL budgets, it is unacceptable to claim to be unable to appoint a Latin American Board member living in Latin America. Where are these critical documents? Where is the robust organizational development and fundraising plan, Individual Donors, Corporate Sponsorships of a healthy organization?

Appoint 3-5 BIPOC members to the Board now. Appoint Black leadership to the board so their voices are amplified and heard instead of marginalized to the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Race. Show the membership transparency and accountability. We are well past performative allyship.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 25, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
315 posts

Actually, it’s harder than that when you think it through completely. The principle is very important, true. There are considerations besides cost to the SAA. Think of the Visa situation right now. Enough time to travel in the work schedule. Being able to afford to take off work for board meetings. Travel time..what if it were from Brazil or Argentina at 4 times a year. There needs to be enough time for preparing for meetings, so to handle the extra work load. There is a language barrier. All of these are real situations that need to be considered. One could worry that these are excuses used to keep people out, and it has been done before in similar situations, but I hope you can see this is not the case in this moment. The solutions are hard to find! So if you know of someone, please suggest away!

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 25, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Hello Ms. Roberts,

Let’s remember we’re all working on Zoom right now and for the foreseeable future, which is why this very discussion is sort of, well, insane. I’ve started another Forum question regarding the language barrier. Isn’t facilitating these difficult conversations part of making change and progress? Have you heard of Google Translate?

All joking aside, as we know, a well-functioning non-profit also employs a careful and thoughtful approach to volunteers and volunteer management. I’ve heard no less than 10x in the last 2 months about the “language barrier” issue. This is a crucial problem. One nonprofit here in Philadelphia has their policies written in 24 languages in the main office. Many parent volunteers helped those translations. It’s all about Access. (DEIA).


Dear Mr. Freitag, and Suzuki Association Board of Directors,

The Suzuki Association Board of Directors is unable to commit to appointing a Latin American Board member living in Latin America this cycle or next cycle? “This may happen at the next election cycle, if we are able to do so within reasonable personal and financial cost efficiency.” Disgraceful for an international organization. There is still no accounting for the 2018 TRAVEL Budget. There is still no release of the FY 20 and FY 21 Budgets. Where is the budget? The membership has been asking for almost three months. 

Without real financial transparency and accountability, the updated Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, transparency of the FY20 and FY 21 budgets, and detailed answers to the $43,000 in FY18 TRAVEL budgets, it is unacceptable to claim to be unable to appoint a Latin American Board member living in Latin America. Where are these critical documents? Where is the robust organizational development and fundraising plan, Individual Donors, Corporate Sponsorships of a healthy organization? 

Appoint 3-5 BIPOC members to the Board now. Appoint Black leadership to the board so their voices are amplified and heard instead of marginalized to the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Race. Show the membership transparency and accountability. We are well past performative allyship. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Fabio Dos Santos said: Aug 25, 2020
Fabio Dos SantosTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Campinas, SP, Brazil
12 posts

Dear Mrs. Carey, Rolando and Mary Lou.

As a Brazilian, living in Brazil, I am very grateful for all the work that you, and many other Teacher Trainers who have contributed in the central and southern end of our continent. It is a fact that this work is sprouting in beautiful programs, coordinated work among teachers, and even student, teacher training and gathering events. This is certainly within the “Suzuki Spirit” of collaboration for the benefit of children, some of which are having transformative experiences because of the knowledge brought by altruistic intentions like yours.

I understand that personal experiences and contacts play a large role in forming our opinions of the issues, concerns and views of the problems facing our Association. If we are to be wary of generalisations, then let’s not fall in to the mistake of generalising our personal experiences to dismiss the problems at hand.

I understand Mrs Guerrerro´s request as a call to a larger vision of how the SAA works, including how it raises funds and how it communicates and employs these funds. It goes beyond that, by speaking to how the SAA empowers voices that are not heard, gathers information from the continent, analises its role in the different parts of our quarter of the world, and form new leadership. We need new systems in place, that include more people, and especially, those who are not in a places of privilege.

In Brazil, we have a saying: “There is nothing new in a bunch of white men deciding what is best for everyone”. Are we making this same mistake? For us not to fall in this mistake it is necessary that we change our SAA culture. This begins by finding those professionals who especialize in this kind of help. We need to stop using the positive things that have we have accomplished in the past to avoid the change we need for the future. We ALSO need to stop speaking “on behalf of”.

It is a fact that we are not seeing our colleagues of color in our conferences. It is a fact that we do not have tools to reach poor communities consistently. It is a fact that not all of the continent is represented on the board. It is a fact that we have heard colleagues that are expressing their hurt, and that are calling out the contradictions in how our Association works, and how excluding it currently is for them. It is a fact that they do not feel heard. There is a feeling of resistance to these issues at every point in the Association’s inner workings.

The path to solve this is in empowering a new wave of leaders, that is diverse. We need to rethink what is in place right now and rethink what seems obvious. If we are not seeing a problem, then there is something seriously wrong. That is reflected in the budged, in the vision, on the number and diversity of the board and its advisory committees.

I repeat: this is NOT about personal experiences, personal choices and past achievements. (All thought it certainly is uncomfortable at the personal level).

This is about structural problems of how the SAA works. Funding and money are symptoms. The lack of black families in Suzuki events are a symptom. The lack of Latin American board members (for whatever reason) is a symptom. The ACR being an “advisory board”, with and expiration date, is a symptom. The website in one language is a symptom. The board writing to all the members about planning DEI training without professional help, is a symptom. All this works to systematically exclude people.

Yes, we are a movement for change. Yes we are looking for things that are positive, and work without rest. Can we recognise that there is a problem, that it is not personal, and look for help as an Association? Can we plan, with a budget, to have more diversity in places of decision, and look for those to can help us achieve a broader vision? Can we have a more diverse board?

With deep love and profound respect,
Fabio.

Tamara Gonzalez said: Aug 25, 2020
Tamara Gonzalez
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Minneapolis, MN
4 posts

I am glad to see engagement and dialogue on these crucial topics on this forum and appreciate the responses and answers to some of these questions.
I’m sensing that some are reading or interpreting this urgency in calling for action as impatience or a lack of understanding as to how the SAA or large organizations work. That would be an incorrect assumption. The urgency is rooted in a recognition of just how late the SAA is in beginning to even acknowledge that there is an internal problem regarding institutional racism, and major oversights in the processes around inclusion.
“Every system is exquisitely designed to get the results it gets” Dr Harry S Green.
Notice the use of the word exquisite, and not malicious or intentional or implicit. Exquisite implies a delicately arranged series and circumstances and events that culminate in the particular design of a system. I struggle to conceive of an example where this quote does not apply.
I strongly recommend that the SAA Board and other senior leadership take a step back and look at what other music associations and organizations are doing, and how they are addressing similar concerns. My deepest fear is that our beloved Suzuki movement which was once revolutionary in nature is being left woefully behind. It would be difficult to find an association or organization comparable in size that hasn’t already begun to work and act on these issues. Having a DEIA organization embedded into the structure of an organization or company has been standard practice for quite some time. Offering DEIA training and support has been standard practice for quite some time. Did you know that 85% of all DEI training is offered through an employer or professional association? How did I know that? I learned it in my employer provided DEI training. Working intentionally to increase representation and diversity on Boards has been standard practice for quite some time. And yet here we are.
Let’s challenge ourselves to a true growth mindset to address the challenges ahead and stop making excuses for why things must remain as they are.
To say that a member from Latin America would be restricted by travel is invalid. We have learned in the last 6 months just how effective Zoom can be. To expect members to be placated by a promise of DEI training in 18-24 months or that you may or may not appoint a representative from Latin America this cycle is an insufficient response.
These are simple actions well in line with established best practices for non-profits and arts associations.
If you don’t know how to do something then ask for help. Please do not assume anyone is expecting the Board to already have the answers. We are however expecting the Board to have to humility to ask. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Tamara Gonzalez

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 26, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
315 posts

Thank you Fabio and Tamara, I appreciate hearing your thoughts, and furthering understanding throughout the SAA. If we truly work towards understanding, then we will invent new solutions. In no way are past successes taking anything away from future needs. They are part of the big picture, and I am glad to hear your perspectives.

I have heard two joking comments made by Ms. Guerriero. I would like to call out the Ageism in the reference to mimeograph machines, boats and airplanes, google translate being available and zoom etc. If you want me to define Ageism for you, it would be another form of prejudice. All forms of prejudice need to stop, it’s not really a joke.

Renata de Lemos Miranda Jordao said: Aug 26, 2020
Renata de Lemos Miranda Jordao
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Petropolis, RJ, Brazil
2 posts

Dear colleagues,
As a brazilian Suzuki teacher I must tell how glad I feel about having this open space which probably represents the very first step for a real change. It is quite clear that all this structural and mindset growth changes are imperative, no way to step back…
I also feel it can only happen in a “as healthy as possible” strong way, if all of us can see it cristal clear, including those who think it is just a non substancial flash drama.
Avoiding the subject, denying its existance or trying to disguise it, will not serve anymore… And not at all it will be enough anymore… To rebuilt, to expand whatever it is, demands breaking down the old structure, and somwtimes it hurts, takes us out of the confortzone… Bravery and courage does not live in only recognizing “beautiful flowers” planted in one field elsewhere but specially believing in all hidden seeds planted in the ground we are crossing by now. Doesn’t matter how brownish can be the landscape.
It is not about being victim or guilty, acusing or defending, staying locked in those matters in a childish way. It is a matter of AWARENESS plus ACTION after recognizing that, what was before postponed as something not important, is now coming up with an incredible forcechange. Beautiful words no longer fit in this greatness, equity, fairness and respect feeling. Beauty is relative and having the sincerity and will to embrace Suzuki philosophy in ALL FIELDS is for me the most beautiful “Principles in Action”!
Thank you for all those who still believe, such as Dr. Suzuki, we are nurturing noble hearts… Including us as adults, the examples will be really modeling our kids, our future, our community and it starts now, today, yesterday… What will be your example to spread real love and care for all people through every human race ?
Is there still a “pure race” in this so wonderfully mixed human world?
White, black, yellow skin tell us what is real?
“… And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Will we keep silence and stay “heart blinded”?
I don’t think so… And, we will change it, with or without permission… Permission, is finally irrelevant, or at least it wil not stop the process.
Thank you so much Fabio dos Santos, Tamara Gonzales and all those who were transparent in this matter that finally matters to us all.
I wish love for humanity in our hearts.
Renata Jordão.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 26, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Ms. Roberts,

I sincerely apologize if you were upset regarding the mimeograph machines, boats and airplanes. I will try to communicate my ideas on technical and industrial progress more clearly so they are not misunderstood. In short, I will also try to “know better and do better.”

It was exactly the same regarding my Zoom and google translate comment, which are very reasonable forms of communication. I meant to suggest that costs could be negated using some of these reasonable tools.

I truly apologize that my comments were hurtful to you, and very much respect your leadership and wisdom. The medium of communication via written forum is challenging—I personally do not consider myself a particularly strong writer, and way more difficult than personal conversation, which I am more than happy to have. I have some lovely Suzuki mentors that I have worked with for a long time and truly cherish knowing and having worked with them for years. Sincerely,

Dr. Guerriero

Ryan Caparella said: Aug 26, 2020
Ryan Caparella
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Oak Park, IL
3 posts

Fabio, wow! This is powerful and beautifully stated. Your passion and deep respect for our greater mission strengthens the SAA.

In light of recent conversations on these message boards and social media, I have wondered whether these requests for reform and progress are sometimes interpreted as direct assaults on the profound contributions of our past and present leaders. I have more than once been surprised to find arguments arise where I thought there needn’t have been one.

It is my perception that, rather than affronting the incredible accomplishments of our organization, passionate members of our organization are merely identifying things they worry are not currently working. Not because anybody is intent on destroying the organization, but because these individuals believe in the SAA and want to directly contribute to its growth into its best possible version. We must not lose sight of the fact that everyone is acting out of a profound belief in our organization and commitment to its mission.

P.S. Ms. Roberts: In the spirit of open communication and understanding, I appreciate how Dr. Guerriero’s analogy might be construed as ageism. I passionately agree with you that there is no place for ageism in our organization—I also interpreted the comments quite differently. I don’t purport to speak for Dr. Guerriero, but in my reading of her comment, I took her analogy as referring to potentially outmoded operating practices and procedures rather than older people; as a call to examine whether our past approaches to problem-solving are the best model to follow for the current challenges. These are important and healthy discussions for our organization! (Editing note: I saw after submitting my reponse that Dr. Guerriero had already responded to this point, apologies for my redundancy!)

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 26, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
315 posts

Ok, understood, thanks. I found someone to nominate from Latin America that I think will be awesome! Just figuring out where to send the email, etc.

Tanya said: Aug 30, 2020
Tanya CareyTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Glen Ellyn, IL
52 posts

The words were addressed to me. I am 81. I heard her loud and clear. It is called micro-aggression. Thank you MaryLou for standing up to the comment.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 30, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Ms. Carey,

I sincerely apology that my miscommunication of words was hurtful to you. I graciously and humbly thank you for speaking up at this time. As I explained to Ms. Roberts, I am not a strong writer and it was a very specific example regarding technical and industrial progress, not relating to age but progress and efficiency. I will do better and hope that you can accept my apology, however am always open for a phone or zoom call if you wish to speak further regarding this specific issue. You may reach out to me at [javascript protected email address] to set-up a call.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Dear Mr. Freitag, and Suzuki Association Board of Directors,

The Suzuki Association Board of Directors is unable to commit to appointing a Latin American Board member living in Latin America this cycle or next cycle? “This may happen at the next election cycle, if we are able to do so within reasonable personal and financial cost efficiency.” Disgraceful for an international organization. There is still no accounting for the 2018 TRAVEL Budget. There is still no release of the FY 20 and FY 21 Budgets. Where is the budget? The membership has been asking for almost three months. 

Without real financial transparency and accountability, the updated Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, transparency of the FY20 and FY 21 budgets, and detailed answers to the $43,000 in FY18 TRAVEL budgets, it is unacceptable to claim to be unable to appoint a Latin American Board member living in Latin America. Where are these critical documents? Where is the robust organizational development and fundraising plan, Individual Donors, Corporate Sponsorships of a healthy organization? 

Appoint at least BIPOC members to the Board now. Appoint Black leadership to the board so their voices are amplified and heard instead of marginalized to the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Race. Show the membership transparency and accountability. We are well past performative allyship. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Tanya said: Aug 30, 2020
Tanya CareyTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Glen Ellyn, IL
52 posts

Performative activism is a pejorative term referring to activism done to increase one’s social capital rather than because of one’s devotion to a cause. It is often associated with surface-level activism, referred to as slacktivism.

What is performative allyship?

To understand performative allyship, let’s first look at what real allyship is. An ally is someone from a nonmarginalized group who uses their privilege to advocate for a marginalized group. They transfer the benefits of their privilege to those who lack it. Performative allyship, on the other hand, is when someone from that same nonmarginalized group professes support and solidarity with a marginalized group in a way that either isn’t helpful or that actively harms that group. Performative allyship usually involves the “ally” receiving some kind of reward — on social media, it’s that virtual pat on the back for being a “good person” or “on the right side.”

Is performative what Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero is calling her colleagues? These are strong accusations. Do they help the organization? Do they help the dialog? Do they help the process? Where is name-calling taught in the Suzuki Philosophy? Are we going for destruction or construction? Has respect gone the way of ships and mimeograph machines? “Respect for every living soul.” “I can’t breathe.”

I do not accept the label of a performative activist.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 30, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Dr. Carey,

Wowee! Talk about hitting the nail to the head! Thank you for making the most absolute strongest, air-tight case for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) for everyone in our Suzuki Association of the Americas, from the Board, the CEO/executive director Pam Brasch to the teacher trainers, to the regular member-teachers such as myself. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to clearly explain, with explicit examples, why the need for DEIA for all is so important for so many.

The membership of the SAA is due a response from the Board regarding the budgets and items detailed below. The Advisory Committee on Race and the membership is due a response from the Board regarding their two open letters.

With great appreciation and respect,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Dear Mr. Freitag, and Suzuki Association Board of Directors,

The Suzuki Association Board of Directors is unable to commit to appointing a Latin American Board member living in Latin America this cycle or next cycle? “This may happen at the next election cycle, if we are able to do so within reasonable personal and financial cost efficiency.” Disgraceful for an international organization. There is still no accounting for the 2018 TRAVEL Budget. There is still no release of the FY 20 and FY 21 Budgets. Where is the budget? The membership has been asking for almost three months. 

Without real financial transparency and accountability, the updated Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, transparency of the FY20 and FY 21 budgets, and detailed answers to the $43,000 in FY18 TRAVEL budgets, it is unacceptable to claim to be unable to appoint a Latin American Board member living in Latin America. Where are these critical documents? Where is the robust organizational development and fundraising plan, Individual Donors, Corporate Sponsorships of a healthy organization? 

Appoint at least 5 BIPOC members to the Board now. Appoint Black leadership to the board so their voices are amplified and heard instead of marginalized to the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Race. Show the membership transparency and accountability. Respond to the open letter from the Advisory Committee on Race.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Sep 6, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Dear Mr. Freitag, and Suzuki Association Board of Directors,

I am circling back regarding my email from last week. The Suzuki Association Board of Directors is unable to commit to appointing a Latin American Board member living in Latin America this cycle or next cycle? “This may happen at the next election cycle, if we are able to do so within reasonable personal and financial cost efficiency.” Disgraceful for an international organization. There is still no accounting for the 2018 TRAVEL Budget. There is still no release of the FY 20 and FY 21 Budgets. Where is the budget? The membership has been asking for almost three months. 

Without real financial transparency and accountability, the updated Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, transparency of the FY20 and FY 21 budgets, and detailed answers to the $43,000 in FY18 TRAVEL budgets, it is unacceptable to claim to be unable to appoint a Latin American Board member living in Latin America. Where are these critical documents? Where is the robust organizational development and fundraising plan, Individual Donors, Corporate Sponsorships of a healthy organization? 

Appoint at least 5 BIPOC members to the Board now. Appoint Black leadership to the board so their voices are amplified and heard instead of marginalized to the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Race. Show the membership transparency and accountability. Respond to the open letter from the Advisory Committee on Race, sent almost two weeks ago! Membership deserves a response.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Sep 12, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

Hello! We are now well into September, so according to the guidelines, Board Candidates have been nominated. What is the update from the SAA? Membership is due a response.


Dear Mr. Freitag, and Suzuki Association Board of Directors,

I am circling back regarding my email from last week. The Suzuki Association Board of Directors is unable to commit to appointing a Latin American Board member living in Latin America this cycle or next cycle? “This may happen at the next election cycle, if we are able to do so within reasonable personal and financial cost efficiency.” Disgraceful for an international organization. There is still no accounting for the 2018 TRAVEL Budget. There is still no release of the FY 20 and FY 21 Budgets. Where is the budget? The membership has been asking for almost three months. 

Without real financial transparency and accountability, the updated Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, transparency of the FY20 and FY 21 budgets, and detailed answers to the $43,000 in FY18 TRAVEL budgets, it is unacceptable to claim to be unable to appoint a Latin American Board member living in Latin America. Where are these critical documents? Where is the robust organizational development and fundraising plan, Individual Donors, Corporate Sponsorships of a healthy organization? 

Appoint at least 5 BIPOC members to the Board now. Appoint Black leadership to the board so their voices are amplified and heard instead of marginalized to the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Race. Show the membership transparency and accountability. Respond to the open letter from the Advisory Committee on Race, sent almost two weeks ago! Membership deserves a response.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Lydia said: Sep 14, 2020
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
17 posts

The fact that the Board is a working board makes it even more important to expand the Board’s membership with a broader range of representative skills that are typically found on the boards of nonprofits.

The approach of doing closed nominations by what is essentially invitation of the nominating committee limits the potentially Board recruits to the relatively narrow circle of people known to the existing leadership. A more open process would bring in a broader range of candidates.

Yes, it is possible that one candidate would be chosen above their friend. Yes, it is possible that someone who is interested in serving would end up not being voted in. Anyone who is a reasonable choice for board membership should be able to handle that emotionally without any issue. Honestly, anyone who cannot handle that lacks the temperament to sit on the Board of any organization of significance.

Developing a robust slate of volunteers—including, for instance, people who might have been interested in serving on the Board who did not get voted in—is also critical for succession planning, cultivating long-term leadership in the volunteer corps, and many other things important to the long-term health of the organization.

Beth Cantrell said: Sep 15, 2020
Beth CantrellTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
306 posts

It is a pleasure to present the new Board selection process to all of you -
Please encourage those you feel should participate to apply per the link in yesterday’s email.
this is an important step toward increasing Board diversity and access.

Beth Cantrell

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Sep 15, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
52 posts

News SAA Policy Governance Summary Article 0920Dear Dr. Cantrell, Suzuki Association Board of Directors, and Pam Brasch CEO/ Executive Director,

So much confusion with these new guidelines! Should people who have already applied under the old guidelines reapply? This is unclear. Please clarify for everyone.

  • Mid-October: The Board of Directors, consistent with Section 4.7 of the Bylaws, will appoint three(3) or four (4) new members.  In order to achieve staggering of terms, appointments will be to terms of either two (2) or three (3) years.  Newly appointed directors will be seated as voting members immediately.

Is this in addition to the four new members mentioned by the now-departed-from-the-board Mr. Rolando Freitag in the previous messages? Please clarify for everyone.

I have written several times asking when the next board meeting is, as per the ISA policy these are required to be open. Please advise.

Deep concerns over the attached document
The membership has often directly experienced why and how Carver Governance does not work for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. There is evidence for this. It is deeply disturbing that any newly appointed board member, particularly a BIPOC member be subjected to tokenism in trying to work under this governance system. How does a BIPOC person have “one voice” when their voice and experience is unique? The system is designed to marginalize some and elevate others.

In this excellent article, Afa Dworkin from Sphinx Foundation talks about how organizations need to devote 15% of their budget for the next 10 years for true organizational diverse change in DEIA. For SAA, that is about $180,000 per year, which could easily pay for a Diversity Director plus money left over for training for key leadership. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/10/arts/music/diversity-orchestra-auditions.html Show us your budget, show us the Strategic Plan.

The MEANS are undeniably broken, and need outside management. The Suzuki Association of the Americas needs outside consulting brought into every level: for fiscal responsibility, day-to-day management, DEIA. It is a simple and basic requirement to fix what is damaged beyond repair. A significant portion of membership has signed petitions, written letters, posted to social media, and screamed it from the rafters. Why, in an organization based on listening, deep listening, is the Board not LISTENING?

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services