SCAA Moving Forward

In light of the recent discoveries at the SCAA, I think we need to start thinking about the future of the organization more seriously.

It seems as if the current issues are being addressed by the SCAA.

But getting through this current crisis is only the beginning. For the organization to survive long-term, a plan needs to be developed and actions taken to both restructure the organization and address the concerns of the membership.

First - I would strongly suggest that the SCAA bring in an external consultant to help restructure the organization and put in place best practices governance policies, procedures and structures. The organization truly needs this right now. Not only given the recent events -but also given the severe PR and trust hit the organization and the leadership of the organization have taken and will continue to take. The damage is far more likely to be significant at this level than at any (long-term) financial problems. This damage, if not carefully managed, could actually destroy the organization. Bringing in external assistance to help with this, and announcing not only that this person has been retained, but what they've been retained to do is going to go a long way towards easing tensions and preventing further damage.

At the risk of jumping the gun on this person's advice, I would tend to also suggest some changes in the organization.

First - move to a two board structure. The actual board would have to be not only free of any real conflict of interests but free even of the perception of conflict of interest. The advisory board could have people who were industry insiders on it, who would thus have a perceived conflict of interest. The advisory board would primarily function as a funnel for lobbying efforts, but would not have any vote. The true board would provide oversight and governance.

Second - The new executive director (or CEO) should not come from within the SCAA and should not come from within coffee, but instead should be brought in from a large, stable and successful industry non-profit. I would suggest looking for someone who had managed the stabilization of a large non-profit that had been experiencing significant membership churn and which had been traditionally weak in the areas of PR and Marketing.

Third - Move the SCAA from Long Beach to somewhere more likely to encourage on-site board and member involvement.

Fourth - Need to focus on building a long-term endowment for the organization.

Fifth - Obviously, need to rework the financial oversight. Suggest the obvious (yearly audits, total financial transparency to both the board and to members).

I truly believe that this can turn out to be a long-term positive event for the organization. I think many people have had problems with the organization. In particular, there has been terrible membership churn, there is a perceived sense of stagnation in the organization and there has been a noticable lack of transparency in the operations of the organization.

With luck, this could turn out to be the catalyst needed to move the SCAA into the 21st century.

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