ILCA Seeks New Vote on 2014 Bylaws Changes

ILCALogo_full_text (2)ILCA voting members will be sent an email on 24 June 2014, with a link to a secure on-line ballot to vote on changes to the organization’s bylaws. The balloting will be open 24 June – 6 July 2014.

The ILCA Board of Directors supports the proposed changes. Voting ILCA members are encouraged to make an informed decision after thoughtful consideration of the issues.

Didn’t I just do this?

Yes! However, the bylaws portion of the recent ballot has been called into question. The ILCA Board has called for a new vote, on the bylaws alone.

How is this ballot different?

ILCA has re-formatted the ballot, allowing bylaws elements to be voted on by section (instead of all-or-none). We are using a different election platform to assure one-member-one-vote. Vote carefully: Once your vote is cast, it cannot be changed or cancelled.

How will I know my vote counts this time?

ILCA members are urged to confirm that their Profile on the secure Members Only portion of the ILCA website has their current email and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® ( IBCLC®) certification status. A 16 June 2014 listserv, and 17 June 2014 Lactation Matters blog, describe the detailed steps.

If a dues-paid, IBCLC-certified ILCA member does not receive an email on 24 June 2014 containing a link to the new ballot, please contact the ILCA Office at info@ilca.org (or) 1+  919-861-5577 (or) 888-452-2478. Our ILCA staff are eager to make sure members receive a ballot so their votes can be counted.

Are the bylaws changes proposed in this new ballot different from in the last one?

No. The proposed 2014 amendments to the ILCA bylaws remain the same. Only the ballot itself is different. It now allows members to vote on bylaws in sections, instead of all-or-none.

I’m an auditory learner! Where can I learn about all these bylaws changes?

This 10 minute recorded webinar will explain the ILCA Board’s reasoning for the proposed changes to the bylaws, for those who prefer to hear (rather than read) about the amendments.

I love the printed word. What should I read?

This document shows the Proposed 2014 ILCA bylaws, providing “tracked changes” to the 2007 bylaws. It lets you compare the old version with the new. The document also summarizes all the changes, and the Board’s rationale for each, section-by-section.

Can I discuss this with my colleagues before I vote?

Please do! This ILCA Lactation Matters blog, and other social media venues, have allowed shared and vibrant conversation about ILCA’s governance! Use the comments section below. Be certain of your position before you vote: You cannot change or cancel your vote once it is cast.

Ballot Vote No. 1: Why does the ILCA Board support a “representative board?”

The new bylaws create a board of directors designed to fairly represent the interests of its diverse international membership. ILCA must meet the needs of its 5400 individual members around the world, without giving any one geographic region more decision-making weight. Board directorships are guaranteed to be held by someone who represents each of the Partner (Tier 1) Affiliates (Partner Affiliates: Canadian Lactation Consultant Association, CLCA, Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand, LCANZ, and the United States Lactation Consultant Association, USLCA). But there is also a seat to be held by a director who is not from those regions.

This matrix of autonomously-governed organizations is a unique model, developed after extensive discussion between ILCA, CLCA, LCANZ and USLCA. We envision a better-defined operational and financial relationship between these organizations, without compromising individual ILCA member benefits and resources. The representative board is an important element of our collaboration going forward.

The ILCA Board supports this amendment because the bylaws must be changed to allow for a representative board to be guaranteed in ILCA’s governance.

Ballot Vote No. 2: Why does the ILCA Board support changes to directors’ selection and term limits?

The old and new bylaws are the same on certain key elements: All Directors of ILCA must be IBCLC-certified. All directors have a legal duty to uphold the Purposes of ILCA: To provide leadership, advocacy, professional development and research for the IBCLC profession.

Under the revised bylaws, terms for Board members are clearly defined to end after two terms (whether originally appointed or elected). Any Director who is invited for a second term would require ratification by member vote to retain office. The President-designate would also need member vote ratification before taking office.

The ILCA Board supports this amendment because it infuses new leadership on a faster track. It requires members to periodically affirm their support of the leaders in office. This reduces the “disconnect” between the elected board and the members whose interests they are to uphold.

Ballot Vote No. 3: Why does the ILCA Board support giving voting powers to all dues-paying ILCA matters?

ILCA members have power to vote to (1) elect Directors, (2) ratify bylaws changes, and (3) make motions at the Annual General Meeting.

Since 1985, ILCA has invited open membership, to anyone who supports our mission (“ILCA Mission: To advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research”). From 1985-2007, any dues-paying ILCA member could vote.

In 2007 voting rights were confined to IBCLC-only members, to demonstrate strong ILCA advocacy for the IBCLC. Yet, in 2014, ILCA’s IBCLC-promoting mission faces increased threat from external economic, political and governmental influences. Our mission is not undermined by internal member-voters, who elect IBCLC-credentialed Directors who are legally-bound to uphold ILCA’s IBCLC-promoting purpose.

Undeniably, demographics of ILCA membership, and the pathways of entry into our profession as a whole, show significant race- income- and geographic-based barriers.  ILCA’s Strategic Plan seeks to increase diversity by creating meaningful, accessible entry into the profession, and our professional association. A 27 July 2014 Lactation Summit Addressing Inequities within the Lactation Consultant Profession (co-hosted by LEAARC, ILCA and IBLCE) will commence a top-to-bottom look at how to increase diversity, and enhance equity for IBCLCs.

Right now, those who are actively seeking IBCLC certification do not have a professional “home.” The burden falls to the individual to cobble together education and training that will be acceptable to meet pathway requirements of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. ILCA wants to attract, and keep, these members, who will otherwise turn to competing organizations for education and support. ILCA’s international role has always been: Serve current IBCLCs, and engage and help others who believe in our work, and want to become a part of our profession.

Inclusion will propel this profession into growth and sustainability. To address the challenges of current members, and generations of IBCLCs to come, there must be an invited and equitable voice by those in our association. Inclusion assumes full acceptance; in a membership organization, that includes voting rights.

The ILCA Board supports this amendment to giving voting rights to all dues-paying members as means to increase diversity and enhance equity.

Ballot Vote No. 4: Why does the ILCA Board support all these other little edits?

Any bylaw amendment, no matter how small and non-controversial, requires member vote in support. There are several such changes that we have “saved up” for the next bylaws vote, which is now, in 2014.

The ILCA Board supports changes that will correct typographical errors and provide consistency of language.

I have a question, and a few comments!

Excellent! Please use the comments section in this blog to tell us what you think, or to seek more information before you vote (if you are a current ILCA voting member).

Thank you for your membership, and for helping to build a better ILCA!

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12 Responses to ILCA Seeks New Vote on 2014 Bylaws Changes

  1. Pamela Morrison says:

    With regard to according full voting rights to all dues-paying members, why not go back to what we had once upon a time (eg when I was an IBCLC-wannabe in 1989) when IBLCE candidates could be members of ILCA, but were not permitted to vote – ie there were two categories of membership – full voting rights for those who were IBCLCs and non-voting membership to those who were not???

    • ECBrooks says:

      Thanks for your question, Pamela! We almost had different voting categories back-in-the-day, but it was stopped before it became effective.

      Here is the back story: Historically, ILCA has always allowed any dues-paying member to vote. In the early 2000′s there was a movement to create an “associate [non-voting] member” category. But the Board moved to scrap the plans … and that decision was ratified by ILCA voting members.

      The Board explanation, in November 2002, sounds very familiar! They wrote in the eGlobe then:

      “The board has considered at length the impending change of membership structure that was to begin December, 2002. In analyzing trends in other organizations, as well as recent external and internal evaluation, it was decided to rescind the previous by-laws change that would have established the Associate (non-voting) member category for those who were not IBCLCs. We have many very active members in ILCA who are not yet IBCLC, and we do not want to lose their enthusiasm. The requirement that board members be IBCLC will remain. Your affirmative vote on this change allows all persons to be full voting members of the association.”

      (A lot of great association institutional history can be gleaned from the ILCA eGlobe newsletters, and JHL Association News columns, which are archived for members’ access on the ILCA website: http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3326)

      In 2007, the ILCA bylaws were finally changed, and for the first time voting rights were restricted to IBCLC members.

      The 2014 ILCA Board is seeking to remove that restriction, and return voting rights to every member who joins ILCA. To quote the 2002 Board: “We have many very active members in ILCA who are not yet IBCLC, and we do not want to lose their enthusiasm. The requirement that board members be IBCLC will remain. Your affirmative vote on this change allows all persons to be full voting members of the association.”

      –Liz Brooks JD IBCLC FILCA
      ILCA President 2012-14

      • Alisa Sanders says:

        What was the impetus behind changing the voting rights in 2007? What other professional associations allow members, who are not certified in the profession, to vote?
        What is the advantage of allowing non-IBCLCs to vote? I do not understand how this would increase equity and diversity in the profession. I could not find one example of a professional membership association that allows non-professional members to vote.

        I appreciate your explanations,

        Alisa

      • Alice Farrow says:

        One day there may not need to be a non-IBCLC voting category. Students will get support from student advisors and career advisors at their universities, just as other health care students currenlty do. IBCLC students will have an identity and will be able to advocate for themselves as a united group. For now we are numerous isolated individuals – many of us already contributing to the field (as volunteers or advocates), but unable to sit the exam due to the changes in 2011 (in Europe the standard advice from IBLCE is “become a HCP first” – we effectively do not have a choice of pathways).

        ILCA has been listening to our concerns and has been encouraging us to continue. The proposed bylaws change would give us a professional “home” and certainly would encourage us to continue against the odds.

        Amongst other professional associations (that do not allow non-professionals to vote) are there any as young as ILCA? I feel that the IBCLC profession is so new and unknown in many parts of the world that we really need ‘all hands on deck’ (IBCLCs and non) in order to have the profession recognised by our local health care systems, education systems, families and governments, and to increase accessibility to the exam and the prerequisites (which is happening thanks to suggestions that candidates are making from our lived experience of seeking courses and having them verified by IBLCE – a long and slow process).

        Many of us know that finding the prerequisites, studying, and sitting the exam is only a very small part of what is required to then find paid work as an IBCLC. Some candidates around the world are sitting the exam in order to have ‘a voice’ to advocate for the profession in their country without there currently being any career opportunities for them.

        I do agree with ILCAs proposed bylaw changes (although I cannot vote for them). I believe that having voting rights would encourage non-IBCLCs to join the association, actively follow the discussion on the development of the profession, and encourage us to combine our forces with IBCLCs in order to work together towards building a better future for qualified IBCLCs and exam candidates.

        Alice Farrow, Italy
        Open University student
        http://www.cleftlipandpalatebreastfeeding.com
        http://www.languageofinclusion.com

  2. pauliegirl says:

    What a beautiful response to concerns, ILCA has provided here. I look forward to voting and am grateful for the clear information.
    Paula Santi IBCLC

  3. ECBrooks says:

    Hi! Alisa! I am glad the USLCA President has joined the conversation!

    Independent and autonomous governance by each of the organizations in our affiliate matrix, and the reconfigured ILCA representative board, are elements of the bylaws changes that we know enjoy the support of the Partner Affiliates. As such, the proposed 2014 bylaws reflect the ILCA Board’s autonomous consensus of what is important for the future growth and stability of the 5400 international individual ILCA members all over the world.

    We know, of course, that CLCA, LCANZ and USLCA have not announced any plans to review and revise their own bylaws. This 2014 bylaws revote impacts the governance of ILCA alone.

    To answer your specific questions:

    (1) Other professional associations use different membership models, restricting membership to those with a license, registration or certification … but ILCA has always been inclusive, and welcoming. It has been that way since ILCA started in 1985, the same year as the first IBLCE exam. ILCA needed to build the member association at the same time the profession itself was being built. There were only 185 members that first year! so ILCA has always recognized that, for those who “wanted in” and were working toward certification, we were the perfect professional home that would provide support, networking and unparalleled esteem in the rest of the healthcare community.

    Barriers of entry are as significant today as they were in 1985. We do not want to lose excellent candidates for our allied healthcare profession, to other professions or programs.

    (2) Increasing diversity, and reducing inequity, in the IBCLC profession requires that we take a good, long, hard look at how we are structured, now, to attract new members, get them the education and clinical training they need to sit the IBLCE exam, and then encourage their active and prolonged participation in our association. It is undeniable that we have significant race- geographic- and income-based barriers of entry into the IBCLC profession. This is true all over the world.

    It is presumptuous of those in leadership to “know” how to remedy this situation unless we are truly willing to listen to, and engage with, those who are struggling NOW to “get in.” The Lactation Summit Addressing Inequities within the Lactation Consultant Profession, co-hosted by LEAARC-ILCA-IBLCE on 27 July 2014, is an important first step. The agenda will allow those with “lived experience” tell us how we can help break down those barriers. Current leadership in LEAARC, ILCA and IBLCE are invited to listen. Together, after identifying shared goals, we can collaborate on the next best steps. http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4227

    (3) Voting rights changed in ILCA in 2007 in large part because of concern about the certifying organization’s plan to establish and test for a second credential. Those plans have since been withdrawn. Vesting voting rights in IBCLC-only ILCA members was seen as a way to ensure better advocacy for IBCLCs.
    And yet, we find ourselves in 2014 — all over the world — facing greater external threats to the IBCLC profession that ever before.

    Strong advocacy comes from commitment to purpose. A membership committed to the purpose of IBCLC advocacy, working with a strong ILCA Board that is committed in heart and required by law to IBCLC leadership, advocacy, professional development and research, is what is needed to help market the IBCLC profession and credential.

    Dues paying members willing to join ILCA, knowing as they do its singular focus, should be considered the allies that they are. Inclusion means we accord the same respect, equity and value to all members. We have student and retiree membership categories precisely to capture, and retain, committed professionals at both ends of the IBCLC pathway. Strength-in-numbers and wisdom-of-experience should guide our professional association’s mission. Strong leadership, bolstered by clear governance and active members who feel equitably valued, aid in that mission.

    – Liz Brooks JD IBCLC FILCA
    ILCA President 2012-14

  4. Teresa Bowman says:

    I do understand Alice Farrow’s point and it has made me reconsider my position. However, I do still hold firm that ILCA should maintain voting privileges to IBCLC’s. Perhaps in other countries, where it is hard to obtain the IBCLC credential, non IBCLC’s should form a professional organization specific to their concerns with the unattainable schooling requirements the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners have set and then partner with ILCA to further advance their specific situation and the IBCLC credential within their country. ILCA can then lobby on their behalf to further advance the IBCLC.

    I believe that here in the United States that allowing non IBCLC members to vote will have a negative impact on our credentials and licensure processes. ILCA is a professional organization for IBCLCs. ILCA does allow non IBCLC members to join and gain knowledge and understanding of the credential. Here in the United States I don’t see any added benefit to allowing non IBCLC’s to have voting privileges and only see issues as nicely outlined in the previous thread.

    Teresa Bowman IBCLC and ILCA member

    • ECBrooks says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Teresa. One thing to remember: USLCA has not announced any plans to change their bylaws, which require IBCLC-only voting. ILCA is having this revote to change *its* bylaws, to determine who may vote on *ILCA* matters. USLCA is a strong advocate for IBCLCs in the USA.

      If you see value in having non-USA non-IBCLCs band together in an association that can help them obtain the schooling and clinical hours to sit the IBLCE exam, and lobby for their objectives … I’d suggest that we already have one, and it is ILCA!
      –Liz Brooks JD IBCLC FILCA, ILCA President 2012014

  5. Sharon says:

    Is there any concern that Formula companys could become members and then have voting rights? What are the negative concerns regarding having all members be able to vote?

    • ECBrooks says:

      Hi Sharon! ILCA is made up of individual members … companies cannot join. ILCA has members who come from varied professional settings … including some who work at for-profit companies that market products falling under the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, or products and equipment used in lactation care.

      The ILCA Board thinks it is a positive step for the international member organization to give all dues-paying members voting rights (I wrote up above: “Dues paying members willing to join ILCA, knowing as they do its singular focus, should be considered the allies that they are. Inclusion means we accord the same respect, equity and value to all members.”)

      There are many safeguards built into ILCA governance to assure that it continues to operate according to its mission “To advance the IBCLC profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development and research.” Board members, Committee leadership and Liaison must all be IBCLC-certified. Board members must sign an annual statement against conflicts-of-interest, and swear to uphold the Purposes for the Organization, which are listed out in Article 2 of the bylaws. Article 2 requires ILCA and its Board members not to accept any funding from companies that do not meet their Code obligations; it requires the organization to operate to promote IBCLC education, professional development, research and advocacy. Committee members do this tri-annually (the customary term for a Committee member).

      –Liz Brooks JD IBCLC FILCA, ILCA President 2012-14

  6. ECBrooks says:

    Sent today (9 July 2014) to all ILCA members, via email:

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce the results of the 2014 ILCA Bylaws Revote. Each ballot measure required a 2/3 (66.6%) vote to ratify the proposed change.

    Ballot Q 1: Bylaw changes to create an ILCA representative Board — APPROVED with 89% in favor of the change.
    Ballot Q 2: Bylaw changes for term of office for Directors — APPROVED with 92% in favor of the change.
    Ballot Q 3: Bylaw changes for universal member voting rights — NOT APPROVED with 42% voting for the change; insufficient to pass.
    Ballot Q 4: Bylaw changes for all other changes — APPROVED with 94% in favor of the change.

    The bylaws changes that were ratified take effect as of 7 July 2014. The section on voting rights will NOT be changed, and will retain the same wording as the 2007 version of the bylaws (“3.4 VOTING RIGHTS. Individual members who are currently certified as International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and who have paid their membership dues shall be entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to vote of the members. All questions shall be decided by a majority of those voting, except as otherwise provided by the laws of the State of Virginia, USA, or in these Bylaws.”)

    The ILCA Board is pleased by the member participation reflected in the Bylaws change discussions. It is this level of member support and engagement that ILCA hopes to encourage in the coming years. The board thanks each of you for your continued support and encourages you to become involved in ILCA’s collaborative efforts, our committees and other volunteer opportunities. To find out more, please visit our website at http://www.ilca.org. And, please invite your colleagues to join us at the upcoming 2014 annual ILCA conference in Phoenix, Arizona USA, 23-26 July 2014.

    Sincerely,
    Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA
    ILCA President

  7. ECBrooks says:

    The results are in! Sent to ILCA members via email on 9 July 2014:

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce the results of the 2014 ILCA Bylaws Revote. Each ballot measure required a 2/3 (66.6%) vote to ratify the proposed change.

    Ballot Q 1: Bylaw changes to create an ILCA representative Board
    APPROVED with 89% in favor of the change.
    Ballot Q 2: Bylaw changes for term of office for Directors
    APPROVED with 92% in favor of the change.
    Ballot Q 3: Bylaw changes for universal member voting rights
    NOT APPROVED with 42% voting for the change; insufficient to pass.
    Ballot Q 4: Bylaw changes for all other changes
    APPROVED with 94% in favor of the change

    The bylaws changes that were ratified take effect as of 7 July 2014. The section on voting rights will NOT be changed, and will retain the same wording as the 2007 version of the bylaws (“3.4 VOTING RIGHTS. Individual members who are currently certified as International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and who have paid their membership dues shall be entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to vote of the members. All questions shall be decided by a majority of those voting, except as otherwise provided by the laws of the State of Virginia, USA, or in these Bylaws.”)

    The ILCA Board is pleased by the member participation reflected in the Bylaw change discussions. It is this level of member support and engagement that ILCA hopes to encourage in the coming years. The board thanks each of you for your continued support and encourages you to become involved in ILCA’s collaborative efforts, our committees and other volunteer opportunities. To find out more, please visit our website at http://www.ilca.org. And, please invite your colleagues to join us at the upcoming 2014 annual ILCA conference in Phoenix, Arizona USA, 23-26 July 2014.

    Sincerely,
    Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA
    ILCA President 2012-14

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