Welcoming Three New Board Members to streets.mn

streetsmn logoThanks for reading streets.mn. Over the last year, the board has made a series of changes to our process and procedures aimed at improving transparency and capacity of our volunteers, both on and off the board. The efforts are aimed at helping achieve our mission — expanding the conversation about transportation and land use in Minnesota —  and in helping our existing writers and reaching new voices.

One part of this was a strategic planning session we had in December, where we identified some of the hopes, priorities, and challenges facing the organization. And a big step we’ve been working toward is expanding the capacity of the board, first through recruiting more volunteer help, and second through expanding the board itself.

So I’m delighted to announce that, as of our most recent board meeting this past Saturday, we have three new board members. They are:

Paula Pentel, who is the coordinator of the Urban Studies program at the University of Minnesota, and brings with her a rich experience as a former City Council member and Planning Commissioner in Golden Valley, as well as a board member at the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition.

Hannah Pritchard, a transportation engineer for Toole Design Group and a streets.mn author, who has served as a board member for WTS Minnesota, a processional group aimed at increasing the involvement of women in engineering and transportation professions.

And Dana DeMaster, a human services policy wonk, formerly a board member for the Bike Alliance of Minnesota and co-chair of the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition, and a contributor at both streets.mn and Grease Rag, a local WTF-oriented bicycling group.

The board is thrilled to have these three join our team and together we hope to work toward making progress on achieving organizational goals over the next year. Thank you for reading, writing, and participating in the conversation. And thanks for supporting streets.mn!

3 thoughts on “Welcoming Three New Board Members to streets.mn

  1. Matt SteeleMatt

    I’m glad to see Streets.mn growing its capacity with new and evolving leadership. And these are three excellent choices for the board.

    That said, as a writer and financial contributor, I’m curious what the procedures are for recruiting, vetting, and choosing board members for the organization. I hope you can shine some light on that, Bill.

    Paula, Hannah, and Dana – thanks for stepping up and taking on this added leadership.

    1. Janne

      Matt, I’ll sketch out the process as I experienced it, noting that other board members may have a different description.

      We started by identifying the skills and perspectives that are lacking on the existing board. (That includes geographic, gender, and racial diversity, and a number of organizational skills like fundraising and project management.)

      We looked at streets.mn’s existing supporters (writers, commenters, volunteers, champions) for people who matched what the board needs more of, and then also brainstormed who outside of our current supporters might be aligned enough with our mission to step up. As an all-volunteer organization, the board members put in a lot of time behind the scenes, so what we’re asking is quite a bit.

      We hosted a meet-and-greet event with prospective board members (which got somewhat rained out in one of our torrential rain events this summer). We invited everyone on our brainstormed list; it wasn’t a closed event, but we didn’t push it hard to a broad audience. We used that to assess interest, let people know what being a board member is like, and let prospective board members get to know us and ask us questions.

      Then, the board used a process to identify candidates we invited to join the board.

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