Board of Directors elect their 2017-18 Chair and Vice-Chair

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Photo by Victoria Panacci

The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union has elected returning director, Tarique Plummer, as the chair of the Board of Directors for their 2017-18 term.

Running against director-elects Klaudia Wojtanowski and Emily Rezkalla, Plummer won the majority of the votes from his fellow board-elects last Wednesday night in the Students’ Union board room.

This will also be Plummer’s second year on the board and he will be responsible for leading the board meetings and for holding his fellow directors accountable.

Director-elect Michael Del Bono was also elected as vice-chair of the board, beating out fellow direc-tor-elect, Kevin Bonnell. As vice-chair, Del Bono will be holding the chair accountable and will act as the link between Plummer and the rest of the board.

Current chair, Nick DeSumma, and vice-chair, Nick Molkoski, will be transitioning Plummer and Del Bono until their term ends in late-April.

Before Plummer and Del Bono were officially elected as the 2017-18 chair and vice-chair, the direc-tor-elects, along with current directors of the board and guests in the gallery, had the opportunity to ask the candidates questions about what they hope to accomplish in the roles.

“I was very happy during the campaigning period. I met with each candidate and we spoke about what I was bringing to the table and I answered all of their questions, all of their concerns, and so at the board table we were just there for formality’s sake, asking all of those questions,” Plummer said. 

Since last Wednesday, Plummer and Del Bono have been communicating on how they plan on run-ning the board of directors, almost all of whom are entirely new to the board. According to Plummer, their mantra is overall focused on unity and teamwork.

“We both feel … it would be with unity and going in there as a team and tackling the training program and all of the bumps and growing pains as a team,” Del Bono explained.

Before being elected to the positions, Plummer and Del Bono explained how they decided to prepare for the roles before campaigning in January. Del Bono confirmed that he had his eyes on the vice-chair position since June 2016.

“I would say back in June would be when I decided I would make a run for the board of directors and specifically for the vice-chair position.”

Plummer also explained how he started preparing for the role of chair in Sept. 2016, when he began speaking to the current chair, Nick DeSumma, as well as other executive members of the Students’ Union.

“I’d spoken to each individual who were chair like way back in 2001, just so I could have a solid understanding of what the role entails and what I can bring to the role,” he said.

While campaigning to return as a director for the 2017-18 term, Plummer outlined three crucial things in his platform that he would accomplish: provide strong board leadership and good governance, align the interests of the management team with that of students and develop a cohesive and active board.

For strong board leadership and good governance, Plummer explained that how he conducts himself to each director-elect is crucial to how he can provide strong leadership to the board. As for his second aspect, Plummer explained how understanding the Students’ Union’s policy manual and constitution is imperative in how the board can fully grasp their overall vision and mandate for the upcoming year.

His final aspect, developing a cohesive and active board, speaks to ensuring that the interests of the management team aligns with that of Laurier students.

“I believe in involvement, being engaged and as board directors, we must be engaged with [the] stu-dent body and knowing what their concerns are and ensuring that we’re analyzing the plans being brought forward into/from the management team in that sense,” Plummer said.

“We can make the best calls based on the data we have available to us and so ensuring that my board directors are connected and aware are essential to ensuring that the alignment process is intact.”

While Plummer is the only returning member of the board of directors, he has missed various meetings due to his extra responsibilities in Senate and the Board of Governors, amongst others. Plum-mer, however, said that now he has been elected to chair, he will not be returning to his positions in these organizations.

“I made the decision early-on to cut things off before I got the role to demonstrate to the board that I’m committed and I’ve been informing them that they, I’ve had these conversations going so if I’m successful, there are a few more things I’ll be stepping away from to make myself available, which is essential,” he said.

“Tarique’s absences … it wasn’t like it was some big concern, but it was definitely something worrisome,” Del Bono said.

“But when I was able to sit down and talk with him and hear about his action plan and commitment to making sure that absence isn’t an issue I started to feel a lot of confidence in him.”

When asked about how he feels becoming the next vice-chair while also starting his role as a new director of the board, Del Bono explained that his roles as a peer mentor, a director for leadership development of residence councils, as well as his executive positions in the Students’ Union will guide him in his training over the next few months.

“What I’m most diligent on going into training is getting prepared for this role is keeping an open mind and just being very analytical of what I say and how I conduct myself and putting a lot of pres-sure on myself just to read over that policy manual a lot and study it,” he said.

As for their current plans, Plummer and Del Bono explained that working together, as well as with their fellow director-elects, will help establish a common vision for the upcoming year. Both hope they are put in the “hot seat” during their training period in order to fully understand how they can successfully operate the board of directors once they transition into their roles on May.

“Because we have a new board then you’re going to have a new approach …  so I’m looking forward to that and I think Michael is looking forward to that too and hopefully can bring a raw energy to the table and see that happens,” Plummer said.

“The vision we have is so cohesive and collaborative, as of right now I’m talking with the entirety of the board-elect individually, building those relationships me and Tarique agreed that we’re going to take ideas and suggestions I’m going to archive and I’m going to take notes … so we’re always atone to how other directors are feeling,” Del Bono said.

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