[ARIN-consult] Community Consultation on Increasing the Size of the ARIN Board of Trustees

Alyssa Moore alyssa at alyssamoore.ca
Fri May 12 13:58:13 EDT 2017

My $0.03: The problem

Our “white dude problem” is not unique. It is rooted in the historical lack
of non-white dudes being encouraged, supported, and brought up through the
ranks. This is not an accusation, simply an observation of an issue that
plagues the STEM world at large. This is in part due to a lack of diverse
candidates entering the field in the first place, but is *is* changing
organically in some arenas.

I, for example, am grateful to the folks who encouraged my own
participation in the community. I am both qualified, and fill some
diversity criteria that have been historically scarce on the AC
(woman/young/non-Ontario Canadian/non-profit background). I would not be
here if it weren't for measures such as the Fellowship Program and ample
support from various community members.

In other areas, achieving diversity goals requires pouring a little more
gas on the fire. There is no shame in that, and it is often applauded in
the governance world. To those who say, "Merit and qualifications should be
the only consideration" - yes.

Yes, AND I offer that diversity is also a noble goal. The majority of women
directors, for example, were elected to their first board position
because someone
actively championed them. This is true in my own life, and research
supports this. Research
also shows that women directors report that gender played some role in the
early nominations, but after being exposed to the position and constituent
communities, merit and qualifications played a larger role going forward.
Research further shows
<https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2412634> that diverse
boards mitigate risk by decreasing blind spots and increasing


The election of a Caribbean candidate does not mean the size of the Board
needs to be increased, just that one of the existing seats is designated
for Caribbean region.


I sympathize with Bill W’s comments on large boards being less effective (I
sit on one with -40 people…), but I’m not sure that adding 1-2 seats pushes
the Board over the threshold from small and mighty to large and unwieldy.
The Board will know better than I do what the current working dynamic is,
and whether adding 1-2 seats will be crippling.

re: JC’s comments on size:

>Does it provide increased opportunity for candidates with more diverse
backgrounds to be elected? I believe that is definitely the case


>but will also be the first t admit that we could go through the process
and end up with a larger Board no more diverse than at present.

Unless the two seats are reserved for ‘diverse’ candidates.

Term Limits

I disagree with the folks who have chimed in that the pool of expertise is
too small to warrant term limits. It is this very attitude that precludes
the embrace of new people in positions of leadership. Internet numbers
policy is niche, yes, but it’s not impossible to grasp. While a complete
understanding of the complexities and history of numbers is an asset, it’s
certainly not a requirement to carry out the high-level duties of a Board
member. Terms can be staggered and limits may be generous to preserve a
healthy level of institutional memory. After a prescribed period of time
off, a candidate may have the opportunity to run again. This won’t happen
overnight. Institutional change is a marathon, not a sprint.


I’d like to see an elected seat reserved for the historically
under-represented Caribbean region, and the nom-com given a directive to
identify at least two candidates from that region. Whether this involves
adding another seat or using a current one doesn’t matter to me.

I’d also like to see an appointed seat reserved for other diversity
criteria, at the discretion of the Board. This can be a seat designated for
fostering and and building on the expertise of up and coming leaders. I
think Merike’s appointment fit both of these criteria. Cheers, Alyssa

On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 10:30 AM John Curran <jcurran at arin.net> wrote:

> On 12 May 2017, at 12:13 PM, Adam Brenner <adam at solidnetwork.org> wrote:
> In general:
> If you are NOT qualified to do the work you are either NOT hired for the
> position or you are fired from it. This is what happens around the world in
> every business. ARIN's board is and should not be any different.
> Is it up to the community (everyone) to decide which candidate should
> represent them via the current ARIN voting process. Any person could choose
> vote on a candidate based on what ever factors they believe in:
> qualification, diversity, background, random guess, etc. ARIN simply needs
> to administer this process. This process is already fair -- we the
> community nominate/volunteer to run for the board AND elect the board --
> and that process is setup today and has been for the past years.
> Nothing needs to change and no additional board seats should be added.
> Very clearly expressed - thank you.
> What am I missing here? Is John and the board secretly tossing votes /
> candidates at the green monster in Fenway park?
> Adam -
> The conversation we’re presently having is not unique to ARIN; many
> organizations
> are facing circumstances where the similarity of background of their board
> members
> (for example, ones that are composed predominately of north american white
> males)
> is raising a valid question about why this outcome occurs.   If it is
> truly because their
> members choose the best candidates to represent them, then that’s
> reasonable, but
> it is still worth examining closely the entire
> recruitment/nomination/election process
> to make sure that we have not embedded factors that cause this result.
> We have heard from the membership at multiple meetings that we should be
> carefully
> considering diversity factors in our elections, and we take that very
> seriously.  The ARIN
> Board went so far as to provide this guidance to the Nomination Committee
> for the last
> several years -
> “The ARIN Board of Trustees notes that diversity in the composition of the
> Board and the Advisory Council (including but not limited to gender,
> industry, and geographic diversity) is encouraged, and provides this
> guidance to the 2017 NomCom for its consideration in the development of the
> candidate slates.”
> <https://www.arin.net/about_us/committeecharters.html#fellowship>
> This was done to make sure that the Nomination Committee specifically be
> alert and
> avoid actions that might reduce the diversity of the slates put before the
> membership.
> We also specifically changed the bylaws to allow appointment of an
> additional Board
> member to help improve diversity of background of the Board, and have used
> this
> option to good effect for this year’s Board.
> It is unclear if ARIN needs to take additional steps with regard to
> diversity of background
> among its Board members – I do know that having a wide range of
> backgrounds present
> helps with good decision making, but it ultimately is up to the membership
> to determine
> the right balance.
> Thanks!
> /John
> John Curran
> President and CEO
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Alyssa Moore
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