How Best to Use Modern Technologies

Vlad Hempel via pbs
Fri, 17 Feb 2023 23:55:18 PST
Oh Mike, oh Mike, you have done it all...
First, let us thank you for being so candid and going the full spectrum of thoughts, without becoming ridicule. This is a quality only a handle of us have, so respect this!
Then, I don't think you are stirring the pot. Not at all. Remember what I have written in my email yesterday? That we are all very different and thus perceive things differently? Well, we are. At the end of the day, this is just your opinion and we can only deal with it. We can disagree or agree or just not care, either way. What matters is that we have a conversation going forward.
Jane, I LOVE your idea of this specific content. Let's do this! I am pretty sure we can find folks in our family here who have the skills and time to create something together. The key is to get it going. Personally, I am so thrilled when I see my people on the FB group going above and beyond sharing and commenting their love for Hippeastrum, how they grow it in their climates, how they try to solve one or another problem. The togetherness is so so beautiful. Yes yes, I am a helpless romantic and sometimes I end up speaking or writing things like this, please excuse me.
Bob, I agree on the 14-years old note, completely. This is why I wrote in my email yesterday "is depends on how we use internet today". If this means just the email list, then be it. If our vision means attracting the younger generation, then perhaps we need some Social Media coverage. You know, I think we can take 2-3 streams and take it from there, rinse & repeat until the 2nd or 3rd stream proves to work for us or at least a part of us. We know the 1st one already works well: our email list.
Just my 2 cents. I hope we get better soon,

Vlad Hempel

    On Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 08:32:42 AM GMT+1, Mike via pbs <> wrote:  

You are 100 percent correct what a sad distraction this sideshow has been.

I’m also happy to see what a class act Vlad is.  Even in his acceptance of
the apology offered by Robin.  I agree with him, where is her real sense of
remorse? I will go further why have neither she or the person she was
emailing sent him personal apologies? Are we ok with that? I’m personally
struck by the insensitive nature.  I spent the week reviewing documents on
“best practices board members for small non profits”  I suggest any with an
interest google this or “governance for small non profits. “

Vlad this week has shown immense restraint and bravery through his
thoughtful comments. A capacity to not only forgive but find value.  Tells
me more about his qualifications to be VP than a resume.

I know we seem to have a crisis called lack of volunteerism.  Intimating
that the membership is disinterested in volunteering.

I learned this week that the amount of volunteerism is seen as the canary
in the coal mine of good governance. If members trust and are generally
satisfied they volunteer.  So the lack of volunteerism should be an
opportunity for the board to reflect on its activities and policies.  It
seems to me that the level of volunteerism was dealt a mortal blow not so
much by the painfully inappropriate email, but what happened after.  Robin
does not apologize at all until prompted by Arnold. Then she asks for our
foregiveness and understanding, a teaching moment if you will.  I step
back further. Vlad who just months ago wrote a great article for her on
Hipps to fill the bulb garden, now answers another call of hers for a VP. I
see a dedicated volunteer who wants to further serve the group?  Instead he
is tripped up in private never to be given the chance to learn, grow and
I find that ironic at best.

One of the most important characteristic valued in a chair or president is
empathy, that ability to understand. Also a nurturing welcoming demeanor.
Who creates an environment where  fair play and equality are important.

What is the common thread ? it’s called a closed board of directors.  It’s
typically initiated by young organizations who need to establish best
practices and gives them protection.  A safe haven to govern.    Many times
its just left in place because.,

What are examples we could develop in our board?

A board that serves at the pleasure of the membership. Who understands
implicitly it’s a privilege to serve on the board. It’s not a right.

A board that values diversity of thought and idea.  Achieved with diverse

A well established succession plan where several younger members of the
group are groomed over time to participate in governance.

A nominating committee who takes direction from the membership not the

Term limits spelled out in advance.

Roles of all board members in writing.

A process to remove poorly performing board members.

A code of conduct signed by all board members

There are many more..

I apologize if some find my tone not to their liking. I do not mean to
offend anyone.  Our group will never be perfect and people make mistakes
all the time I’m guilty of all the above.

However being on a board wether elected or appointed you work for the
membership what we witnessed last week was a board member who laid low,
offered half an apology.  Still has not apologized to the one she spoke
poorly too.  I have personally been accused of taking an extreme stance?
My responce what if you were on the receiving end of that conversation.
In my research on closed boards and the fallout.., other board members
fearing reprisals, don’t act.  these are the product of the  closed board

I’m reminded of the saying by Lord Acton:

Nothing corrupts absolutely like absolute power

The current board is aware of the shortcomings of the current system but
typically quips it protects the board from a take over by forces
Folks we can offer that protection so many other safer ways.,

Will this be the board to do the right thing and create the opportunity to
build the system of checks and balances we don’t have ?

It’s scary to look inward and admit there is a better way.  I know each
member has that capacity.

I don’t blame anyone for calling me out or saying I’m stirring the pot.  I
only ask you to go down the governance rabbit hole for small non profits to
realize it’s time for fairness acccountability and checks and balances.  We
can be that group.,

I feel the current board every member is capable of change.  They are the
group that can make the difference. I hope they accept the opportunity.

The first step is just knowing we all can do better.


Mike Lowitz
San Diego

On Wed, Feb 15, 2023 at 9:50 PM Robert Lauf via pbs <> wrote:

> All,
> We seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole with all this back and forth on
> list vs forum, and perhaps the Mother Ship prefers this sideshow to
> distract everyone from the original discussion triggered by the outrageous
> email snafu and the underlying attitudes that it exposed.  But to get back
> a bit to the general topic of whether PBS has some strategy and what it
> might be, has the organization really thought about the big picture: why
> are we gathered here in the first place, and what are we doing (or what
> should we be doing) to further that mission?
> Facebook and Instagram are great tools for 14-year-olds to tell one
> another what they had for lunch today; they are inherently ephemeral and
> very content-light.  The real value of the PBS community, in my view, is
> the sheer weight of expertise that many of our members have to offer to
> relative rookies like me.  Maybe we should be thinking of how best to
> harness that expertise to help interested members, rather than trying to
> appeal to 14-year-old nonmembers and their phones.
> Not too long ago, one member offered to take others on a wildflower
> expedition in CA.  To me, this represents the absolute best of what PBS can
> and should be about.  So is there a way for us to harness technology to
> make more things like this available to our members?  A fellow
> member/enthusiast suggested that PBS could host Zoom meetings, which might
> be informal lectures, tours of member gardens or greenhouses, or wildflower
> walks.  (Wouldn't it be great to have Uli walk us through his gardens and
> the surrounding countryside, for all who cannot practically biff off to
> Portugal for the weekend!)  This proposal struck me as a wonderful idea,
> which PBS could implement and moderate at practically no cost in money or
> manpower.  But, alas, it was given the brush-off for reasons known only to
> our totally unaccountable "leadership" team. Perhaps they can explain to us
> why they blew off that brilliant suggestion?
> What is our tagline?  "PBS - where good ideas go to die"?
> Bob  Zone 7
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