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IRE Executive Committee resigns, paving way for new election of board officers

The Executive Committee of the IRE Board of Directors sent the following letter to the full Board of Directors this afternoon:

Dear members of the IRE Board of Directors:

On Saturday, members of IRE elected one of the most diverse boards in its 45-year history. Seven members were elected to the board over the weekend, including three Black members, increasing representation to a total of four. In addition, women hold a board majority for the second consecutive year.

But the election for the executive committee – which resulted in an all-White committee – left us heartbroken and frustrated. This result contradicts IRE’s mission. Our Bylaws, which require an immediate vote, set up a rushed process that contributed to this outcome.

Since this disappointing result, we have been discussing ways to address this for this Board, and all future Boards. Therefore, all five executive committee members are resigning their positions to allow for a new election. In addition, we are taking the following actions:

We believe these changes can better express IRE’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Signed,

The members of IRE’s Executive Committee: Jodi Upton, Steven Rich, Brian Rosenthal, Bethany Barnes and Jennifer LaFleur

By Lynn Jacobson, The Seattle Times

Between December 2015 and June 2017, The Seattle Times had several opportunities to practice the art of the apology.

In that period, the newspaper made a number of high-profile missteps. Among them: a headline that portrayed the black victim of a police shooting in a negative light, and a front-page photo that failed to capture the historic moment when Hillary Clinton became the first-ever woman to be nominated for the U.S. presidency by a major party.

After a few tone-deaf attempts, editors gradually improved at issuing swift and nondefensive mea culpas. But for many journalists inside the newsroom, the amount of time and effort that went into saying “sorry” was frustrating and dispiriting. Wouldn’t it be better to put our energies into creating more inclusive coverage from the get-go?

While The Seattle Times historically had been a leader in promoting diversity in the industry, it was clear that we’d taken our eyes off the ball. This was the moment when The Times’ Guidelines for Inclusive Journalism were born.

“We were hearing our colleagues ask for resources that could help mitigate some of the mistakes before they happen,” recalled lead video journalist Lauren Frohne. The result was a living document designed to help journalists frame and produce culturally sensitive stories.

Seattle Times staffers helped draft the guidelines and continue to update them.

Prime drivers of the change included a group of journalists who had created The Seattle Times’ award-winning “Under Our Skin” video project and the newsroom’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, led by senior video journalist Corinne Chin and then-assistant sports editor Ed Guzman. In the mix were veteran assigning editors who had worked on earlier diversity initiatives and some copy editors, long the keepers of journalistic standards.

As Chin recalled, former education editor Linda Shaw brought a diversity checklist used in the ’90s to one early meeting. It served as a jumping-off point for today’s guidelines, which urge staffers in various roles to approach their work with an inclusive mindset:

• Reporters are encouraged to question their assumptions, diversify sources and listen deeply.

• Designers, producers and photo editors are reminded to avoid stereotypes, consider play and context, and represent vulnerable populations with care.

• Editors are challenged to broaden their exposure to diverse communities and viewpoints and think in new ways about what constitutes “news.”

The guidelines are supported by other documents and tools designed to help move coverage in a more inclusive direction: the newsroom’s diversity statement, its style guide and a #sensitive-news-help Slack channel that journalists can turn to for peer advice.

Those resources are in turn supported by the newsroom’s broader diversity and inclusion efforts, including recruitment and hiring practices, training and mentorship opportunities, and discussion groups.

Frohne said one of the goals of the guidelines is to bring conversations about diversity and racism out into the open. Another, according to Chin, is to get the newsroom to think more deeply about impact — and especially how coverage affects vulnerable communities.

“If we’re going to keep focusing on subscribers and audience and the people we serve, we need to think about how we’re serving them and if we’re doing a disservice to them,” Chin said.

Newsrooms looking to craft their own guidelines can learn from The Seattle Times’ experiences.

“Make sure you have a lot of support from the top, and be intentional about the rollout,” Chin said, “instead of letting it be another mass email that people never open.” At the Times, the guidelines were introduced to staff at an open meeting of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and are now required reading for all new employees.

Also, involve the copy desk. “The guidelines aren’t just about word choice and usage,” Frohne said, “but getting the insights of people who have a lot of experience working in that space is important.”

Finally, smaller news organizations without a lot of resources are welcome to adopt and adapt the Times’ guidelines.

Documents alone can’t make a news organization more inclusive. But they can help journalists become more comfortable examining their own blind spots when it comes to bias, race and racism.

By Ron Nixon, The Associated Press

In 1895, journalist Ida B. Wells dropped a bombshell investigation into the lynching of African Americans across the nation.

Using data she gathered from accounts in white newspapers — she said no one would believe her otherwise — “The Red Record” showed lynchings were not in response to rape of white women by black men, but often because the relationships were consensual. The lynchings also were used to remove economic competition from blacks, Wells found.

Similarly, during World War I, W.E.B. Du Bois received leaked documents from a source showing the American government had instructed the French to treat blacks the same way they were treated at home.

Later, in 1925, Charlotta Bass revealed in The California Eagle newspaper that the Ku Klux Klan not only infiltrated a local California police department, but also had several black ministers on its payroll.

Although each of these early investigations broke news important to communities of color, none appeared in a mainstream news outlet.

Throughout American history, white-owned media organizations have covered issues of race and discrimination. But when it came to their own hiring practices, they largely reflected society as a whole.

Few, if any, media organizations had people of color on staff in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s as they tried to cover civil rights struggles and other issues related to race.

That would change in the aftermath of civil unrest in several major cities in the mid-to-late ’60s. Most mainstream media organizations were caught off guard. Few, if any, had reporters with sources or familiarity with the communities of color affected.

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association in March 1965. Courtesy LBJ Library, Photo by Cecil Stoughton

A panel put together by President Lyndon B. Johnson called the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, commonly known as the Kerner Commission, pointed to widespread racism and discrimination as key factors in the unrest that erupted. It singled out the press with particular criticism. The 1968 report lambasted news organizations for their coverage of race and pointed out the lack of diversity in America’s newsrooms.

“The press has too long basked in a white world looking out of it, if at all, with white men’s eyes and white perspective,” the report found. “Our second and fundamental criticism is that the news media have failed to analyze and report adequately on racial problems in the United States and, as a related matter, to meet the Negro’s legitimate expectations in journalism. By and large, news organizations have failed to communicate to both their black and white audiences a sense of the problems America faces and the sources of potential solutions.”

The report concluded by calling for more inclusion of people of color in newsrooms: “News organizations must employ enough Negroes in positions of significant responsibility to establish an effective link to Negro actions and ideas and to meet legitimate employment expectations. Tokenism — the hiring of one Negro reporter, or even two or three — is no longer enough.”

Over the next few decades, news organizations would begin to hire an increasing number of journalists of color. Yet more than 50 years after the Kerner Commission report’s blistering criticism of media diversity, questions persist about newsroom staffing, said Farai Chideya, a program officer at the Ford Foundation, in a 2018 report about the continuing lack of diversity in newsrooms.

“The Kerner Commission Report was very prescient in the sense that it talked about equity, that people have a legitimate need for representation in the media as being part of a democracy,” Chideya said on WDET ’s “Detroit Today” program. Her report (bit.ly/chideya-report) found that newsrooms have made little progress toward fixing staffing problems, which create blind spots in coverage of race and politics.

Crisis CoverIncreasing diversity in U.S. newsrooms has been a primary mission of the American Society of News Editors since 1978. But as Chideya’s research found, the effort to bring newsroom diversity numbers in line with national population averages “has not materialized, despite the large demographic shift in America’s racial and ethnic makeup.”

ASNE’s annual newsroom diversity survey shows Latinos and nonwhites made up nearly 12 percent of newspaper editorial staff in 2000. In 2018, people of color comprised 22.6 percent of employees reported by all types of newsrooms, compared to 16.5 percent in 2017.

Among daily newspapers that responded to the survey, about 22.2 percent of employees were racial minorities (compared to 16.3 percent in 2017), and 25.6 percent of employees at online-only news websites were minorities (compared to 24.3 percent in 2017). Of all newsroom managers, 19 percent were minorities (compared to 13.4 percent in 2017).

People of color represent 22.6 percent of the workforce in U.S. newsrooms that responded to the survey. Yet people of color make up about 40 percent of the population, census data show.

ASNE noted it had historically low participation in the survey, which is now in its 40th year. Just 17 percent (293) of the 1,700 newsrooms submitted information. So, it’s impossible to get a full picture.

There are no comparable surveys for the racial makeup of investigative or project teams at major news outlets. Still, anecdotal evidence suggests they remain overwhelming white and male.

Recent hires or promotions at mainstream and nonprofit news outlets have increased the number of journalists of color in the field of investigative reporting in both management and reporting.

Susan Smith Richardson was hired as CEO of the Center for Public Integrity, and Matt Thompson was tapped as editor in chief of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Both are the

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times Magazine delivers the 2017 IRE Conference keynote address. Hannah-Jones is a cofounder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting.

first African Americans to lead two of the country’s oldest nonprofit investigative news organizations.

Patricia Wen made history by becoming the first person of color to lead the legendary Spotlight Team at the Boston Globe.

Dean Baquet, who made his reputation as an investigative reporter when he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, is executive editor of The New York Times.

Several news organizations now feature young investigative reporters of color as part of their investigative or watchdog teams.

Reporters include Kat Stafford of the Detroit Free Press, whose reporting into city programs has led to investigations by auditors; Faith Abubéy, another young investigative reporter and anchor at NBC-Atlanta (11Alive), has broken several key stories, including investigations about sexual predators on college campuses; and Aura Bogado, a reporter for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, has broken several national immigration stories.

Despite these reporters and many others, the overall number of journalists of color in investigative reporting remains abysmally low.

Several journalism organizations are also trying to address the issue, including established organizations such as the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists, led by President Dorothy Tucker, an investigative reporter for CBS 2 Chicago.

NICAR-15

Knight Scholars attend a welcome lunch at the 2015 CAR Conference in Atlanta. The IRE scholarship program allowed college students from several Historically Black Colleges and Universities to attend IRE’s annual conferences and receive mentorship.

IRE, under the leadership of Board President Cheryl W. Thompson of NPR and Executive Director Doug Haddix, also has grown its efforts to diversify the field of investigative reporting. In recent years, IRE has expanded the number of fellowships and scholarships it offers to journalists of color to attend national conferences and weeklong data bootcamps. The organization launched a new yearlong Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship and increased the number of journalists of color tapped to speak at conferences and regional workshops.

The Ida B. Wells Society, which I co-founded, was created specifically to address the lack of reporters of color in the field of investigative journalism.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, an investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine and co-founder of the society, said one of the society’s missions is to “take away the excuse” by giving young journalists of color the tools and mentorship needed to be fully prepared for investigative reporting.

Despite these efforts, the decision to diversify news staffs ultimately rests with those who have hiring power in newsrooms. Diversity must be seen as more than a numbers game. The hiring and promotion of journalists of color are essential for the long-term viability of the American press.

Ron Nixon is the international investigations editor at The Associated Press. He previously served as homeland security correspondent for The New York Times, where he worked for nearly 14 years. He is a former IRE training director and a co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society.

Check out what else is in IRE’s journal on diversity problems in the journalism industry. This issue is available to members and nonmembers. 

Five journalists share tips and ideas for creating a culture of inclusivity, regardless of job title, in their newsrooms.

Ashley GrahamAshley Graham, WLNS (Lansing, Michigan):

"It’s important for everyone in the newsroom to be open to 'diverse' story pitches. Many journalists of color find that pitches related to their respective communities get turned down for being too “niche” for their audience. Newsrooms should always work to expand their reach, and telling stories from an underrepresented community is a great way to do that. The more diverse storytellers feel their perspectives, insight and knowledge will be considered, the more likely they are to pitch and produce those stories. Encourage journalists in your newsroom to spend time developing sources, seeking out experts and finding data that specifically relate to marginalized communities."

Romney SmithRomney Smith, WKYC (Cleveland):

"Ask tough questions. If your organization is struggling to hire and retain diverse talent, ask yourself and your management team why, and be honest. Are their voices heard and respected at editorial meetings? Are you supportive of stories that focus on a minority issue? Diverse talent should also be allowed to look diverse. I’ve worked at two TV stations that required straight hair, and it was expensive and unnecessary. It sends visual cues to viewers that the station isn’t really accepting of diverse forms of beauty. If you want me, accept all of me.

Build strategic partnerships. This can be through a mentorship initiative with a local college journalism program, sponsoring important minority community events or supporting your diverse employees by letting them do a story or series that specifically affects minority communities. Don’t have that much wiggle room on air? Support a digital-only series and promote it in your on-air newscast."

Ana LeyAna Ley, The Virginian-Pilot:

"Spread awareness. Respect that journalists of color have a connection with black and brown communities that white and white-passing journalists will never share, no matter how educated they are or whether they’re multilingual. Keep the pressure on editors to hire more people of color, especially if you have the career capital to get their attention. A lot of black and brown journalists — especially younger ones — aren’t taken seriously when they complain about newsroom inequities. Stop placing the onus on journalists of color to balance the scales.

Mobilize and recruit. At The Virginian-Pilot, our newly formed bargaining committee drafted contract language that would force Tribune Publishing to interview candidates of color for every job opening, to post every available position and to eventually employ a newsroom that more adequately reflects the demographic makeup of the communities we serve. We also hope to address pay gaps, which disproportionately harm historically marginalized groups. Think about recommending people of color you’ve met at conferences or through social media when there’s a job opening in your newsroom. Cast a wider net to include people you wouldn’t know through your usual journalism circles."

Lam Lam Thuy Vo, BuzzFeed News:

"Tell us how much you make. Minorities in newsrooms are often paid less than their white and male counterparts. What’s more, journalists from communities of color may come from socioeconomically disenfranchised backgrounds — they’ve had to support relatives early in their career or were surrounded by family members who made working-class wages. They may not have the same idea of a 'normal' journalism wage. This is why data is essential: Salary information about their colleagues and peers can help them make informed arguments for why they should make a certain wage without having to defend their worth. Check out jocresources.com/salary.

Be generous with editorial space and bylines. If you’ve worked on a big story that was a success, you’re often given more time, editorial support and manpower to report future stories. A lot of journalists love to hog this capital. Whether you were set up for success (your editor took a particular liking to you, you went to an elite school, you came out of school debt-free, etc.) or whether you genuinely worked your way up the ladder, your privilege is your wealth and, if you truly care about diversity, you should share it. Get less-experienced reporters involved in these stories and share your byline. Support their story ideas in pitch meetings."

Madi AlexanderMadi Alexander, The Dallas Morning News:

"Take responsibility for educating yourself. Many journalism organizations, including the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association and the National Center on Disability and Journalism, compile style guides. Just as you would consult these resources in the course of your reporting, do the same as you get more involved in diversity and inclusion efforts in the newsroom. Beyond learning the correct terminology, seek out personal stories or essays from people who belong to marginalized communities. A person’s own words are the best way to learn about their lived experiences.

Get comfortable talking about pronouns. Asking about and correctly using someone’s pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show respect for their humanity and their gender identity. Pronouns are not obvious, so don’t assume anything based on appearance. If you accidentally misgender someone by using the incorrect pronoun, don’t make a big deal about it. Simply apologize, correct yourself and move on. List your pronouns in your email signature, on business cards, on name badges and on your social media profiles. Ask for pronouns to become a standard part of any form or biographical information collected by groups and organizations."

Check out what else is in IRE's journal on diversity problems in the journalism industry. This issue is available to members and nonmembers. 

IRE Watchdog Workshops scheduled this spring in Miami, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City will be postponed because of the rapidly shifting landscape involving coronavirus.

Workshop registration fees will be refunded for those who already have registered. IRE will work with its workshop hosts to reschedule the training events.

“There’s too much uncertainty about travel and the spread of COVID-19 for us to move forward with these workshops,” IRE Executive Director Doug Haddix said. “We expect to have more information in coming weeks that will help us assess other IRE events such as data journalism boot camps.”

Plans continue for the IRE national conference June 18-21 in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. The health of our members remains our paramount concern.

At this point, we expect the conference to proceed as scheduled.

“With three months remaining before the kickoff of #IRE20, it’s too early to make any decision about changing plans for the conference,” Haddix said.

In coming weeks, IRE will closely track developments connected to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is working with state and local governments to implement aggressive measures to prevent the spread of this new coronavirus. The CDC has a COVID-19 page online with full details. The Share Facts, Not Fear page is especially helpful.

IRE will provide updates as events warrant. Subscribe to our special IRE20 email list to get updates on the conference as they’re announced.

SECOND NICAR20 ATTENDEE TESTS PRESUMPTIVELY POSITIVE FOR NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

A second NICAR20 attendee has received a presumptively positive test result for the COVID-19 virus, IRE learned today (March 16). The attendee feels better and expects a full recovery.

The attendee traveled from inside the United States to New Orleans for the conference. They arrived Wednesday evening (March 4) and left Monday (March 9). The attendee stayed at the conference hotel but did not use the pool or fitness center. IRE has sent separate notification to people who participated in a pre-registration hands-on data class with the individual.

On Saturday (March 7), the attendee developed a persistent cough, shortness of breath and nasal congestion. The attendee saw a doctor on Tuesday morning (March 10) and received a diagnosis of pneumonia. On Thursday (March 12), the attendee received a positive test result for the novel coronavirus. The attendee was told that the Centers for Disease Control would contact IRE. When it was clear that had not happened, the attendee reached out directly to IRE on Monday afternoon (March 16).

Since the COVID-19 diagnosis, the attendee’s state health department has notified anyone they had close contact with during the conference. Based on the onset of symptoms, the attendee could have contracted the virus before or during the conference. Symptoms can appear within two to 14 days of exposure, and in some cases do not appear at all, according to the CDC.

The attendee has asked to remain private. To protect those privacy rights, IRE will not release the person’s conference schedule or cross-check it against other attendee schedules. In addition, IRE doesn’t want to give anyone a false sense of security. Given what we’ve all learned recently about COVID-19, it seems likely that far more people across the country have been infected with it than any of us realized. For those of us who traveled through airports, sat on planes and interacted with lots of people before, during and after the NICAR conference, there’s a chance that we encountered someone along the way who was carrying the novel coronavirus.

If you have concerns or questions about your own health, the CDC recommends that you contact your medical provider, explain the situation and seek professional medical advice.

The first attendee with a presumptive positive test for COVID-19 is still awaiting word from the CDC on whether their result has been confirmed.

Please see our FAQs for further information and guidance.

By Phil Williams, WTVF-Nashville

In my mind, Don Bolles had always been a hero of journalism — a reporter who stood up against intimidation and eventually paid the price with his life.

But in recently listening to the podcast, “Rediscovering: Don Bolles, a murdered journalist,” the late Arizona Republic journalist became more than a legendary figure.

Recordings of his voice revealed Bolles to be a real human being, one who struggled to nail down a story that he believed to be immensely important to his state. It was a story that sparked efforts to intimidate him and, understandably, led to his own intense fears and suspicions about the potential source of the next threat.

Yet, he persevered.

In 2017, when I served on the IRE Board, we created the Don Bolles Medal to memorialize the legacy of one of IRE’s earliest members.

Our goal was also, at a time when journalism is increasingly under attack, to recognize the heroes of our day and send a message that we all stand together.

The first recipient, awarded posthumously, was Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach Velducea, who was gunned down in retaliation for her efforts to exposed organized crime and corruption in her own country.

In 2018, the Don Bolles Medal went to Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were imprisoned in Myanmar for their reporting on human rights abuses in the place they called home.

Last year, IRE recognized Turkish journalist Pelin Ünker, who had been threatened with prison for truthfully reporting on the offshore business dealings of key government officials.

Now, once again, we are pondering this important question:

Who is the Don Bolles among us?

According to the guidelines for the Don Bolles Medal, the recipients must be “investigative journalists.” Not activists. Not opinion writers. But reporters who are out in the trenches attempting to dig up truths that someone else would like to keep hidden.

In addition, the recipients must have “exhibited extraordinary courage in standing up against intimidation or efforts to suppress the truth about matters of public importance.” That, for sure, means death threats, but it can also be other forms of intimidation.

Do you know someone who has faced harassment lawsuits in an effort to thwart legitimate investigations? Or perhaps someone who has faced intense online harassment in retaliation for important investigative reporting? Or efforts by high public officials to stir up public ire against investigative journalists? Or the use of private investigators as a form of intimidation?

Who is that person or persons who best exemplify the legacy of Don Bolles?

IRE needs your help.

By Phil Williams, WTVF-Nashville

In my mind, Don Bolles had always been a hero of journalism — a reporter who stood up against intimidation and eventually paid the price with his life.

But in recently listening to the podcast, "Rediscovering: Don Bolles, a murdered journalist," the late Arizona Republic journalist became more than a legendary figure.

Recordings of his voice revealed Bolles to be a real human being, one who struggled to nail down a story that he believed to be immensely important to his state. It was a story that sparked efforts to intimidate him and, understandably, led to his own intense fears and suspicions about the potential source of the next threat.

Yet, he persevered.

In 2017, when I served on the IRE Board, we created the Don Bolles Medal to memorialize the legacy of one of IRE's earliest members.

Our goal was also, at a time when journalism is increasingly under attack, to recognize the heroes of our day and send a message that we all stand together.

The first recipient, awarded posthumously, was Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach Velducea, who was gunned down in retaliation for her efforts to exposed organized crime and corruption in her own country.

In 2018, the Don Bolles Medal went to Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were imprisoned in Myanmar for their reporting on human rights abuses in the place they called home.

Last year, IRE recognized Turkish journalist Pelin Ünker, who had been threatened with prison for truthfully reporting on the offshore business dealings of key government officials.

Now, once again, we are pondering this important question:

Who is the Don Bolles among us?

According to the guidelines for the Don Bolles Medal, the recipients must be "investigative journalists." Not activists. Not opinion writers. But reporters who are out in the trenches attempting to dig up truths that someone else would like to keep hidden.

In addition, the recipients must have "exhibited extraordinary courage in standing up against intimidation or efforts to suppress the truth about matters of public importance." That, for sure, means death threats, but it can also be other forms of intimidation.

Do you know someone who has faced harassment lawsuits in an effort to thwart legitimate investigations? Or perhaps someone who has faced intense online harassment in retaliation for important investigative reporting? Or efforts by high public officials to stir up public ire against investigative journalists? Or the use of private investigators as a form of intimidation?

Who is that person or persons who best exemplify the legacy of Don Bolles?

IRE needs your help.

Please click here to submit your nomination by April 26 for those journalists who deserve consideration.

For the first time, IRE will offer its members the option of buying digital contest questionnaire packs to explore the best investigative work published in 2019.

Anyone who enters the IRE Awards completes a thorough questionnaire, which provides a blueprint to unpack the investigation. The form includes detailed information about how the story idea originated, key documents and data, and tips for overcoming obstacles.

“Our contest questionnaires are a gold mine,” IRE Executive Director Doug Haddix said. “When I worked in newsrooms, I used them all the time for story ideas, inspiration and guidance. They saved valuable time and helped improve our investigations.” 

The contest entry packs for 2019 are available in the IRE Shop. You can purchase the full set of all 470 entries in all categories for $250. Or you may select specific category packs, which cost $20 apiece for those with 15 or fewer entries or $50 apiece for categories with more entries.

“A longtime IRE member suggested this new product as a way to save time and collect detailed dossiers on the best watchdog work across all news platforms,” Haddix said.

IRE members are still able to obtain individual contest questionnaires at no cost through the IRE Resource Center.

Location: Chicago Marriott Suites O'Hare

With IRE Board President Cheryl W. Thompson presiding, the meeting of the IRE board of directors was called to order at 4:10 p.m.

In addition to Thompson, the following board members were present: Vice President Lee Zurik, Secretary Jill Riepenhoff, Treasurer Jodi Upton, Nicole Vap, Steven Rich, Matt Dempsey, Jennifer LaFleur, Norberto Santana Jr., Jodie Fleischer, Bethany Barnes, Cindy Galli, Brian Rosenthal (joined by video).

Staff members in attendance: Executive Director Doug Haddix, Financial Officer Heather Feldmann Henry, Director of Events Stephanie Klimstra, Director of Partnerships Chris Vachon, Senior Training Director Denise Malan.

Conference Committee Update: Nicole Vap, chair The group discussed a list of possible conference keynote speakers and showcase panel themes/ speakers presented by Vap.

Motion and second by Upton and Dempsey, respectively, the board approved extending an invitation to the board’s first choice.

Motion and second by Vap and Fleischer, respectively, the board approved to adjourn the meeting at 5:05 p.m.

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