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October 2020 | Across the Board: The Role of a Board Member (Policy Governance Training)

For San Francisco, it has been six months since the first Shelter-in-Place Order was issued by Mayor London Breed. As we all adjust to this new way of life, many are drawing a parallel between shelter-in-place to hibernation.

Animals that hibernate enter a sleep-like state through the winter months and re-awaken in the spring, just in time when food and resources are plentiful again. During this time and under the leadership of our Board President and Chief Governance Officer, the board members have been undertaking a course in Policy Governance® or the Carver Policy Governance, which is the governing process that PMI-SFBAC follows. We are discussing how the board, as a whole, defines “owners”, “stakeholders”, “beneficiaries” and other important terms, which would help us better serve our members. Just as Project Managers (PMs) need to know what results the projects are intended to deliver, the board members need to know what changes you, the members or the member-owners, would like PMI-SFBAC to make in the world. Like PMs, the board members do not define “what” the changes are, but we are responsible to find out what they are from our members, infuse our wisdom to the process, and define policies that would allow our CEO and the PMI-SFBAC organization to execute the members’ wishes through such policies.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is one way (a major event) where we gather comments and understand what changes our members wish to make in the world and to define who should benefit from such changes. This year, we were privileged to have over 50 people attend our first virtual AGM event and we have been reviewing the input received from the meeting in our ongoing efforts.

I feel very privileged to serve on this board, as we strive to better serve our members. As the Shelter-in-Place (or hibernation) continues, we are readying ourselves for the eventual “Spring” to come again, and we would have completed our Policy Goverance® training and ready to take advantage of the plentiful season of Spring to help further our members’ wishes.



Bessie Tam serves as a Board Director at PMI SF Bay Area Chapter. Bessie is a PMP who has been delivering projects for the City and County of San Francisco for over 20 years and is currently a Project Manager with the San Francisco Water Sewer and Power, services of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.


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