• Board Corner
  • 02.16.21

Shape the Future of AIR by Voting for Tomorrow’s Leadership

  • by Martin Fortner, AIR Immediate Past President & Nominations and Elections Chair

Voting for AIR volunteer leadership is a membership privilege guaranteed by our constitution and bylaws. This privilege is grounded in the principle that member voices help to shape the future direction of AIR and is exercised annually through the election of leaders who possess both capacity and passion for representing the diverse voices of AIR members.

Now is the time to exercise your right to vote as an AIR member! I encourage you to carefully consider the slate of well-qualified candidates selected by this year’s Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) and vote for your chosen candidates. Your voice and your vote matter!

On behalf of the NEC, I extend our gratitude to all the nominees who participated in this year’s selection process and who were willing to step up and serve our association. I also recognize and thank my fellow members of the NEC—Craig W. Abbey, Karen Froslid Jones, Kristin McKinley, Bethany L. Miller, Mike Urmeneta, and Meridith Wentz—for their commitment to AIR and its future through their time, discernment, and insight.

Election 2021: Cast Your Vote

The voting period for AIR leadership candidates ends on February 26, 2021.


For Further Discussion & Action

The selection of diverse candidates from a variety of backgrounds and experiences is essential for AIR to continue to grow and prosper. While working to select qualified candidates for this year’s slate, the NEC highlighted an increased need for inclusiveness and equity within the nominations and elections process. This sentiment is grounded in the following passage as stated in the AIR Statement on Racial Injustice:

… “AIR believes that all of us are called to bring an equity lens to our work, regardless of our roles and responsibilities. The AIR community plays an important role in identifying inequities and working to provide solutions …”

The committee believes this statement compels the association to examine its own practices and processes for possible inequities that affect adherence to our espoused value of membership engagement, including the selection process for elected leaders. AIR’s current membership profile is 75 percent white with the remaining 25 percent identified as individuals of color, and this year’s candidate pool was generally representative of the membership. Nonetheless, participation by colleagues of color in the AIR nominations and election process is less than what we would hope and aspire it to be.

As a first step in addressing equity concerns more directly, the NEC revised the candidate vetting questionnaires to learn more about the candidates’ commitments to membership diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Candidate responses were heartfelt regarding the value of member inclusivity and fairness and the importance of diverse voices, experiences, and perspectives to AIR’s future success.

While a commitment to equity and inclusion by current and future AIR leaders is essential; it is insufficient without a deeper understanding of the current situation and underlying issues that can inform targeted and meaningful actions. The NEC will share their observations and recommendations with the AIR Board and staff during the March Board meeting to increase our collective understanding of the challenges and issues. The ultimate objective is to find workable solutions so that AIR’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is better reflected in its leadership, membership, policies, and practices.

The AIR Board and staff welcome your input and ideas on topics for further exploration and we will provide updates on these crucial conversations as they unfold. With the assistance of the AIR community, I am confident we can make a difference.