The Challenge

Managing an international association with board members spread across four continents poses clear logistical challenges. Everything from scheduling meetings to conducting virtual votes becomes more complicated with board members working on opposite sides of the globe.
 
As  Executive Director for the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM), Katie Keel was determined to find a better way. Implementing OnBoard came at an ideal time. The board recently undertook an in-depth review of its governance processes and policies and decided the time was right to make changes.
 
“Through all of this the board kept saying, ‘We need to find a way to communicate asynchronously. We’re all over the place. We need to have that tool,’” recalls Katiealso an Account Executive at Bostrom, an association management company.  “When I saw OnBoard, I thought this might be what the board had been asking for.”

The Challenge

AAAM is a multi-disciplinary, global association dedicated to the elimination of road traffic injuries. With about 400 members worldwide, the Association is focused on conducting research, offering educational programs, and providing public policy recommendations centered on saving lives and reducing preventable traffic injuries.
 
Prior to OnBoard, AAAM had inefficient, labor-intensive processes for compiling and distributing board materials. They relied primarily on email for board communications and to conduct virtual votes, which led to misplaced materials and long, often confusing email streams.

The Solution for Providing a Central Point of Truth for a Global Association

AAAM’s 14-member board — which includes directors in Spain, Japan, Australia, and North America — had been looking for the right tool to help coordinate board business around the world. Katie says they tried other solutions, such as different project management tools and even revamping the AAAM website with a dedicated board portal. Everything either proved dificult to use for their directors or too arduous to bother. Nothing offered the streamlined solution they sought.

 

At the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, Katie learned about OnBoard and advised the board to take advantage of a trial offer. AAAM now uses OnBoard as its primary tool for coordinating board materials and business.

Before implementing OnBoard, katie says she had to gather reports and manually compile them into massive PDF files to send to the board.

AAAM’s 14-member board — which includes directors in Spain, Japan, Australia, and North America — had been looking for the right tool to help coordinate board business around the world. Katie says they tried other solutions, such as different project management tools and even revamping the AAAM website with a dedicated board portal. Everything either proved dificult to use for their directors or too arduous to bother. Nothing offered the streamlined solution they sought.

At the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, Katie learned about OnBoard and advised the board to take advantage of a trial offer. AAAM now uses OnBoard as its primary tool for coordinating board materials and business.

Before implementing OnBoard, katie says she had to gather reports and manually compile them into massive PDF files to send to the board.

The Solution to Facilitating More Time for Strategic Discussions

With just four meetings a year, the AAAM board has precious little time together, and no time to waste. Before OnBoard, board materials sent weeks in advance were often misplaced or gathered dust in overflowing email inboxes. Their meetings involved too much recapping of mundane operational matters.

 

Now, board members can log into the portal and access meeting materials in a centralized location at their convenience. Making the materials review ensures that busy board members are better prepared when the meeting begins to discuss strategic measures and make long-term decisions. They also can make notes and ask questions with OnBoard’s sharable annotations function. 

 

“I have a lot of board members who will go through the board packet and submit questions in advance,” Katie says. “There is a lot of dialogue back and forth with those annotations. It is just amazing. We can focus on more meaningful discussions at our meetings. I have gotten some great feedback from board members who really appreciate that.”

OnBoard Coffee Chat Page Mockup@1.5x

The Solution to Ensuring Effective and Efficient Virtual Meetings

AAAM’s transition to OnBoard came at a critical time, as in-person meetings were canceled due to the pandemic. The software made for a smooth shift to all-virtual meetings. Katie uses OnBoard in administering meetings, which allows her to easily navigate the various agenda items and share documents as they are discussed. The high level of organization and ease-of-use alleviated the stress of manual creation and distribution, enabling her to focus more on the discussions and be more engaged during meetings.

“When we’re on a call, we have OnBoard open, and that is what I am sharing on my screen,” she says. “Rather than having to manage a 100-page PDF, I just click the agenda item that they want to see, and the documents pop up. Things feel more organized and it’s just easier to navigate that virtual meeting with this platform.”

AAAM also uses OnBoard’s built-in survey function to conduct board assessments, and the voting and approvals functions to conduct votes electronically if they run out of time during the meeting. It is a major improvement over the previous method of conducting such votes via email, and helps the Association stay on track with its strategic goals, Katie says.

“I see that as an important tool for any organization,” she says. “As executives, we try to work that agenda so we can get to everything in that two-hour timeframe, but we always have some follow-up questions or board members need more information. Having that ability to get those items passed before the next board meeting is crucial. I anticipate we are going to be using the voting function a lot more in the future.”

The Results

OnBoard enables AAAM to be more efficient and productive in pursuit of its critical, life-saving mission. AAAM members include professionals across a variety of fields. The board includes a trauma surgeon, a pediatrician, a pharmacist, an auto insurance expert, and a biomechanics professor, among others. They have all leveraged OnBoard without issue, despite their disparate locations, using the solution with minimal training. Katie says the benefits thus far have been invaluable:

  • Board materials can be uploaded easily promptly and are conveniently accessible in a central location to board members across the globe.
  • Board members can more easily review materials and ask questions in advance, so they can spend more of their limited meeting time together on important strategic priorities.
  • Virtual board meetings can be managed more effectively with easy sharing of materials for discussions, and built-in tools for conducting virtual assessments and post-meeting votes.
“It’s a powerful tool,” Katie says. “It’s been a smooth transition and really helpful for us. It just feels like everything is at hand and organized in a thoughtful way. It’s intuitive to use, both for administrators and for our board members.”

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