Frequently Asked Questions
The ACNM Nominating Committee is responsible for selecting the individuals who they believe are good candidates to fill vacant positions. The committee's process, while confidential, is transparent. To remove the mystery and encourage members to consider running for national office, here are answers to some of the most frequent questions the Nominating Committee receives from members.
In a nutshell: communication, organization, and connections! Board members need to communicate well with their constituents, meet deadlines, and involve other accomplished people whether seeking input or accomplishing their vital tasks. In an attempt to look for these characteristic, the Nominating Committee looks for: candidates with a history of ACNM involvement in the local, state, or national arena, diversity among candidates, and responsiveness and accuracy during the nomination process. Diversity may be represented in many ways including academic and clinical background, hospital and out-of-hospital experience, geographic location (past and present), skill set, ethnicity, and gender. The candidate’s curriculum vita (CV) should be current, detailed, and without errors. Responsiveness and interest in running is a must. Other considerations include: 1. According to the ACNM Bylaws and Nominating Committee Standing Rules of Procedures, when a member nominates a candidate for consideration from their area for regional representative (versus self-nomination), more weight is given to that member as a potential candidate, 2. A candidate for nominating committee appears stronger if they have midwifery-related organizations and connections with other CNMs/CMs across the country, and 3. A candidate for the BOD is stronger if they have a skill set that is needed on the board.
The Nominating Committee cannot divulge the names of candidates until they are officially announced, except to acknowledge that an incumbent is or is not seeking reelection. The number of submissions for consideration varies each year and according to open positions (e.g. there is not usually a large number seeking the President-elect position!). At times there are multiple Consents to Serve and CVs for one position. In that case, the nominating committee attempts to “balance the ballot” (attempting to meet the diversity goal again!). If someone might be a strong candidate for another position, we will ask that person if they would consider running for the other position. The nominating committee attempts to select the top two candidates for each position. Given the voting pool, running more than two candidates could dilute the vote with a negative impact on the outcome. The NC has struggled with this; however, we have committed to making the difficult decision of selecting a maximum of two candidates for each position. Sometimes this means that members who have submitted their paperwork and have a desire to run are ultimately not selected for the ballot.
It depends on the number and qualifications of submissions that given year. At times, a member submits their paperwork and is not placed on the ballot. This does NOT mean that they would not be the top candidate another year based on potential candidates and identified needs; there are no hidden agendas or intentional slights in the Nominating Committee selection process.
Please contact any member of the Nominating Committee about your support of a candidate. A letter (short is fine), e-mail, or phone call works! Each year members are identified by other members as potential candidates for particular positions; however, it is ultimately the decision of the member being suggested to agree to run and submit the required documents. The nominating committee follows up with these suggestions; however, often the identified member does not desire to serve or does not have the qualifications for the position.
While we encourage everyone to consider running, there are a few things that are concerning to the Nominating Committee. When a potential candidate states they are interested and will submit their documents but fails to do so despite repeated requests, their commitment, a major qualification for any position, is raised. Comments such as “it is time for me to get involved” is not highly valued as a reason for running. These are significant national positions and ideal candidates possess prior ACNM involvement at some level. This does not mean the person must have numerous years of experience, but there should be some experience evident on the CV. Errors on the CV are also of concern. Examples include incorrect names of organizations, referring to an ambulatory job as a nurse practitioner (NP) position (when there is no educational preparation or certification as a NP), misspellings, and no professional service experience listed on the CV.
Diversity among candidates is highly desirable as previously discussed. The committee makes every effort to present a diverse, balanced ballot, but ultimately, the Nominating Committee depends on YOU to participate so that there will be a diverse ballot.
The potential pool of candidates and the needs of the organization changes year to year. Often multiple strong candidates submit their paperwork for consideration during the same election cycle. Perhaps you can strengthen your CV by involving yourself in ACNM activities. This will help the organization, allow you to network on a broader scale, and increase your potential for ballot consideration in the future. You may want to request someone you trust to give you professional feedback on your CV so that it reflects your work in the best possible light since this is what represents you to the Nominating Committee. If you already are active in ACNM, have a well-written CV, yet were not selected, it is most likely that you did not meet the Nominating Committee’s needs that particular year. You should consider indicating your interest again!
If you were selected to be placed on the ballot in the past, but did not win the election, you should not take it personally. You were a strong candidate or you would not have been selected to be placed on the ballot! The ideal ballot has two well-qualified candidates for each position. Someone will win and someone will lose. Don’t let that end your chance for service: consider running again for the same position or consider a different position. The qualifications of candidates change every year. Leave it to the Nominating Committee to determine whether you should be re-considered for a particular position. The Nominating Committee will not place you on the ballot if you are not a deserving candidate. If they do not place you on the ballot, no one has to know. The Nominating Committee must keep all deliberations confidential.
According to the Nominating Committee’s Standing Rules of Procedures, committee members may NOT disclose who else is running for a particular office with one exception: if an incumbent is running, that information can be shared with someone considering the position.
Often the Nominating Committee hears members suggest this. Our strongest answer: there have been several situations in which the incumbent has had to resign during their term, for unforeseeable reasons. We need a strong ballot, because according the ACNM By-Laws, the next in line to fill a vacancy is the alternate candidate. It is important that each candidate on the ballot have the qualifications to fulfill the position.
The committee is diligent about development of a sound ballot. It is difficult to hear criticisms of who is or is not on the ballot (names or qualifications). We make every effort to follow the Standing Rules of Procedures, contact and review potential candidates carefully, and maintain a non-biased attitude toward determining the final slate. Other frustrations include working with those who seem like they would be well-qualified, say they will turn in their paperwork, and then never follow-through or decide not to run days before the final deadline. The Nominating Committee can only develop a slate based on qualified candidates who are willing to run!
It is within the Nominating Committee Standing Rules of Procedures for the committee members to contact potential candidates. The primary way the nominating committee obtains potential candidates is through direct inquiries of interested members, but we can independently solicit candidates. You elected us because of our insight and contacts; we try to put them to good use.
We get to serve ACNM knowing our efforts directly impact maintaining a strong organization so that midwifery will continue in the national arena for health care. The Nominating Committee functions independently of the ACNM national office staff or board of directors. There are Nominating Committee Standing Rules of Procedures which we agree to follow. These procedures are available for any interested member to review. The committee members also sign a confidentiality agreement. Your discussions with Nominating Committee members, including questions about positions, submitting your paperwork for consideration, or candidates running, are held confidential. The diversity on the Nominating Committee and commitment to the ACNM organization, and to fair process decreases the chance of overt influence. We work hard to prepare a strong ballot. Our democratic process allows for you to select the candidate you most feel can represent you and the profession. From the Nominating Committee’s perspective, our satisfaction is achieved by presenting a complete, well-rounded ballot where every candidate on the ballot is highly qualified and well suited to meet the needs of the position in serving the membership. When members have a hard time choosing between candidates when casting their vote, the Nominating Committee knows they’ve hit their mark.
The official duties are described in the ACNM Bylaws. Any current member of the ACNM Board of Directors or committee will gladly talk to potential candidates. The following is provided as a general description of activities/responsibilities undertaken by members of the BOD and nominating committee.
The nominating committee has a very important responsibility. You must be willing to actively seek the names of qualified individuals who will run for office and fulfill his or her term in a responsible manner. The nominating committee meets at the ACNM Annual Meeting, where the Chair of the Committee reports on the election results, and meets several other times via conference call or email chat. Diverse representation is important to the future of this profession, so members from all geographic locations and family backgrounds are encouraged to participate in this important role. E-mail is a must!
Members of the Board of Directors serve a three-year term (except the President-Elect, who serves one year as President-Elect and three years as President), limited to two consecutive terms. If a member serves consecutive terms, he or she is eligible for nomination after one year has elapsed from the end of service. Members of the Board of Directors must be able to attend at least 4 two and half day meetings a year. Most, but not all, of the meetings are over the weekend. In addition, they attend the ACNM Annual Meeting. E-mail is a must!
- The President conducts Board and Executive Committee meetings, appoints chairpersons and other representatives, represents the organization at multiple meetings, works closely with the Executive Director to assure the presence of a strong national office, speaks on behalf of the organization during education sessions, testimony, editorials, etc. Writes 4 columns a year in Quickening.
- The President-Elect assists and advises the President and performs other duties as requested or directed by the President, serves as Acting President in the absence or disability of the President, succeeds to the office of President after one year as President-Elect, and succeeds to the office of President should the Presidency become vacant during an unfinished term.
- The Vice-President substitutes for the President as needed, communicates board charges to divisions and committees, serves on the Executive Committee and as a liaison to selected groups.
- The Secretary takes and distributes the minutes for every official meeting of the Board of Directors, serves on the Executive Committee and serves as a liaison to selected groups .
- The Treasurer conducts the Financial Advisory Committee meetings, works closely with ACNM staff and Board to develop the ACNM budget, guidelines for investment and annual audit, and serves on the Executive Committee.
- Regional Representatives are expected to maintain regular contact with their local members, to assess the needs of local members and to consider the good of the organization in all of their votes. Regional Reps also serve as liaisons to ACNM Divisions, Committees and collegial organizations. They conduct a regional meeting during the ACNM annual meeting and may attend/organize other meetings throughout their region. They write 4 columns a year for Quickening, present the Regional Award for Excellence, coordinate the "With women, for a lifetime" commendation and utilize eMidwife to communicate on a regular basis with members of their region.
- The Student Representative is an active voice for midwifery students who engages in work with the ACNM Student Committee as it develops. The Student Representative is an active participant in ACNM Board of Directors meetings.
Submit a completed Consent to Serve form by July 20, 2012. The Nominating Committee encourages all interested members to explore the possibility of running for office. The committee is also seeking suggestions regarding who might need to be encouraged to be a candidate. Click here to access the consent to serve form.