Our Next Solel Board: Are You Curious or Ready?

by John Lewsen, January 31, 2024

We have reached that time of year when Solel will be tasking a Nominating Committee to recommend a slate of directors for the next year, and in the interest of transparency, I thought it might be useful to briefly describe the structure and role of our Board. I am doing so in the hope that eligible Solel members who have not yet seriously considered serving on our Board might consider their willingness to put themselves forward in taking on the honour of a Solel Board leadership role as we move forward to our next 50 years.

Solel’s Constitution provides for a Board that is made up of twelve voting members. In summary, this includes five Executive Committee members, plus six members at large, and the Immediate Past President. The Executive Committee is made up of the President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The President typically serves for a two-year term; the other officers are elected or re-elected annually. Each of the six members at large is elected by Solel’s membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to serve a two-year term, with half being elected each year. The Rabbi and Educator serve as non-voting members on both the Executive and Board. Every voting member of the Board is required to be a Solel member in good standing.

Executive Committee meetings are typically chaired by the President, and the First Vice-President chairs Board meetings, leaving the President free to report and participate. However, as we have been short of an elected First Vice-President for the past two years, our Immediate Past President, Roz Allen, very kindly and ably stood in as our Board meeting Chair.

The Board meets at least once every eight weeks. The Executive Committee meets more frequently, between Board meetings. The incoming Board usually kicks off the year in a combined meeting with the outgoing Board to revisit and update our strategic priorities. In addition to attending and participating in meetings, each Board member takes on one or more portfolios in which they act as the liaison with members of the congregation who are working on tasks, committees, or initiatives within the scope of that portfolio. These include but are not limited to Religious (practices and rituals), Finance, Facilities and Operations, Cemetery, Youth, Education, Membership, Women of Solel, and various active Solel auxiliary groups.

Serving on the Board is a great honour and responsibility that is taken seriously by each of our members. It is also an excellent opportunity to share and grow leadership skills, learn about the inner workings of our Jewish community, and forge new friendships that might otherwise not have happened. Additionally, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills in a safe and collegial environment with fellow Solel leaders. Often members who have served on a Solel Committee and who wish to deepen their understanding of how Solel functions then move into Board positions. We also welcome members who bring expertise and energy as well as board or related leadership experience from other organizations. For full details of our governance process, you can refer to the Solel Constitution which is available to all members through the office, and if you are interested and willing to be part of our leadership team, please feel free to reach out to either Roz Allen, me, or any other board member, and we will be sure to put your name forward to the Nominating Committee.

On a personal note, my leadership experience, knowledge, and understanding of our sacred Solel and broader Reform Jewish communities has grown enormously — as has my friendship network. I truly am grateful for all of this.


Filed under: President's Message

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