Week 10: The Board of Directors and Advisors

        I got pulled away from my Salesforce proposal this week to work on two new documents for IBJ’s Board of Directors and Board of Advisors.  We needed two separate documents for each of the Boards that laid out the responsibilities and activities that would be handed out to new members.  While each document was similar with its basic approach, they had to have two very different tones.  The Board of Directors has a much more involved responsibility that includes actively fundraising, donating their own money, giving advice, and participating in all of IBJ’s meetings while the Board of Advisors mainly act as ambassadors for IBJ and give advice whenever IBJ reaches out to them.  The Board of Advisors is also made up individuals with much larger name recognition such as Cornel West.  As a result, the tone for the Board of Directors was much more straightforward while the document for the Advisory Board took a much lighter tone that spent a lot of time making sure that the board members feel appreciated and respected.

        Both of the documents, although they were relatively short, took quite a while to complete because of the very specific language that was required. The goal was to make sure that each board member felt powerful but also make clear that IBJ’s offices had the final say over all matters.  We had to strike the right balance between a forceful tone and something short of pandering.  Our main priority was to prevent the members of the board from thinking that they had complete power over IBJ and that IBJ is just a group of nice individuals who won’t stand up for themselves.  With this in mind, I went about writing my first draft and submitted it to Karen.  The good news was that the board would not be patting us on the head anymore, the bad news was that they would probably be running away from us screaming.  My tone was a bit too harsh apparently so I had to do some heaving editing to soften the approach.  After several drafts, I finally got the correct balance and we could submit it to the Board later that day.

        In the end, all of the edits and re-drafting paid off and we received a lot of compliments from the members of the Board of Directors and hopefully, we will receive the same result from the Board of Advisors when we hand them their document later next week.  Karen was very pleased with the result and so was I.  One of the best things about this internship is that I know that everything I work on will have an immediate impact.  Proposals can fund a program in Cambodia that allows lawyers to represent men, women, and children in prison and help to prevent torture.  Editing IBJ’s online training materials provide countless lawyers and individuals all across the world with instant access to the laws and codes of their country.  And preparing an official document for IBJ’s Board will create a guideline that will continue to be used at IBJ well after I leave.

        At the end of this week, I only have two weeks left at IBJ which is an amazing thought.  This entire experience has flown by so fast that I am now left with a sense of panic to try and finish all of my remaining projects as fast as I can.  These next two weeks will involve me trying to wrap up my work and passing along all of my information and documents to the new interns in the office.  I am strangely looking forward to this hectic situation, not because I am excited to leave Geneva and return back home, but because I am looking forward to spending another two weeks with all of the amazing people at the office and taking advantage of the little time that I have left in Switzerland.