A Board Meeting Isn’t Boring!

Ann Calandro

Each year, an LLLI Update containing the Board actions from the spring Annual Meeting, is distributed electronically to the LLL Community. Some may feel our Board meetings sound a little boring and dry but they are rich with interaction, laughter, and sharing. The Board is an interesting and diverse group of women made up of Leaders and former LLL members, from all over the world. The Board members are from Canada, Norway, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and the US. [Editor’s note: Founders Mary Ann Kerwin and Mary Ann Cahill participated by phone. Marian Tompson, who is returning to the Board, was present by phone as an “observer.”] This makes for some lively and stimulating conversations as well as reminding us to stay aware of what the “I” of LLLI stands for! Our meetings usually begin at 9 am and often end around 10 pm, with breaks for meals. We eat our meals together as well as sharing rooms. We mix up roommates at each meeting, so that we can get to know each other better. We typically stay at a hotel that provides breakfast and dinner as part of the room rate in order to save money for the organization and to provide unity.

Image of board members at restaurant in Germany
Front row: Lydia de Raad, Lavinia Belli, Linda Anderson, Ann Calandro. Back row: Cathy Marquis, Anne Batterjee, Cindy Garrison, Janette Hurley, Villy Kaltsa, Carolyn Driver-Burgess.


There have been several Virtual Board Meetings this year, but in this article we are describing the “in person” Board meeting that was held in Frankfurt, Germany, March 14–19, 2014, in conjunction with the LLL European Management Symposium (EMS). This was the first time this Board met outside Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.

During the Board meeting this year we were able to teleconference several times with LLLI staff members and Founders who could not attend. It was very useful to discuss various issues with staff members and to have our questions answered in a timely way. The Board has been grateful for the dedication and hard work of the office staff.

New Committee members

The Annual Meeting is where the Board elects its officers for the coming year. This year’s Executive Committee includes Co-Chairmen, Linda Anderson and Lydia de Raad; First Vice-Chairman Anne Batterjee; Second Vice-Chairman Carolyn Driver-Burgess; Treasurer Cathy Marquis; Secretary Diane Jeffer; and Member-at-large Villy Kaltsa. The new Nominating Committee members are Carolyn Driver-Burgess (Chairman), Linda Anderson, Villy Kaltsa, Constance Pond, and Lydia de Raad. The Nominating Committee also presented a slate of candidates for the Board. From Zone US East Diane Jeffer and Constance Pond were elected. From Zone Latin America, Yanet Olivares was elected. Re-elected were Carolyn Driver-Burgess from Zone South Pacific/Asia and Anne Batterjee from Zone Africa/Middle East. Two vacant seats for Zone USA were open at the time of the Board meeting, but they have subsequently been filled. June Winfield and Katherine Velasquez were elected in July 2014.

The Board appointed eight new members to the Ombudsperson’s Committee to review and make recommendations regarding grievances that have not been resolved at the local Area or entity level.

Cindy Garrison was appointed Interim Director for the Leader Accreditation Department. Sheri Parpia was appointed LLLI’s official Liaison to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). Sheri Parpia and Carolyn Driver-Burgess will be coordinating a task force for organizing LLLI’s 60th Anniversary celebration in 2016. We have two years to plan and prepare to celebrate LLL in regions around the world!

We approved hiring Renee Schleicher as interim Executive Director for a six month term. As of November 15, 2014, Katie Keel of Bostrom was hired as Executive Director.

Committee reports

The Board is made up of several committees whose work continues throughout the year. Their reports were heard, their work discussed thoroughly, and their proposed projects shared during the meeting. The committees are Audit, Bylaws, Finance, Nominating, Personnel, Program Services, and Resource Development.

All decisions are the product of a great deal of time spent by the Board analyzing the needs of the organization, prioritizing them, and setting goals for the future health, strength, and growth of LLLI. Mary Ann Kerwin and Mary Ann Cahill (and now Marian Tompson, as well) have kept us grounded with the history and wisdom they shared throughout the year. The Board is greatly saddened by the loss of Mary Ann Cahill in October and will miss her very much. The next Board meeting was held in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA, in September 2014 and we had virtual meetings in July and December. The next Annual Session will be in Schaumburg in March, 2015.

We hope this report gives each of you more insight into the work of your Board. We are all very special, but none of us is more special than you, the Leaders. We respect and appreciate the work you do. We are here for you and our goal is to be accessible to you. If you want to communicate with the Board, send an email to board@llli.org

Ann Calandro, former Member of the LLLI Board of Directors