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Highlights of the April 2020 Board of Directors Meeting

1 June 2020 No Comment
2020 Board of Directors
Wendy Martinez, President
Rob Santos, President-elect
Karen Kafadar, Past President
Katherine Monti, 3rd-Year Vice President
Richard De Veaux, 2nd-Year Vice President
Dionne Price, 1st-Year Vice President
Don Jang, 3rd-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Anamaria Kazanis, 2nd-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Ji-Hyun Lee, 1st-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Katherine Halvorsen, 3rd-Year Council of Sections Representative
Mark Glickman, 2nd-Year Council of Sections Representative
Rebecca Hubbard, 1st-Year Council of Sections Representative
Alexandra Schmidt, International Representative
Scott Evans, Publications Representative
Ruixiao Lu, Treasurer
Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director and Board Secretary

ASA President Wendy Martinez gaveled in the first ASA Board meeting of 2020. Not surprisingly, the board met via videoconference. The highlights of the board meeting follow.

Discussion Items

  • As it does annually, the board discussed the status of committees in the Membership Council. The committee councils serve as the connection between their committees and the board. The board expressed gratitude for the great work these committees do on behalf of the profession and association.
  • The board continued its ongoing discussion about ways to support the Census Bureau during the 2020 Decennial Census, especially as the pandemic has affected the data collection schedule.

Action Items

  • The board approved the appointment of Joshua Tebbs as editor of The American Statistician for the period 2021–2023.
  • The board unanimously accepted the 2019 audited financials, congratulating Associate Executive Director and Director of Operations Steve Porzio and his team for another successful audit.
  • The board, under the leadership of ASA Vice President Katherine Monti, will develop a manual for new committee chairs.
  • The board formed a task force consisting of board members and ASA staff to consider possible roles the ASA can play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A task force, to be chaired by Executive Director Ron Wasserstein, will review the ASA’s governance documents (constitution and bylaws) and make suggestions to the board for changes needed.
  • The board formed an ad hoc committee to make suggestions for improving the ability of website users to find materials on the site.

Reported Items

  • Porzio summarized the ASA’s financial activity for 2019. He noted the ASA ended the year in the black, largely due to income and realized gains from the ASA’s long-term investments portfolio. Porzio also updated the board on how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect our overall finances. There are still too many unanswered questions at this time to make a good prediction. However, Porzio said the ASA will take a significant financial hit in 2020. Fortunately, we have financial reserves to help us deal with this downturn.
  • ASA Treasurer Ruixiao Lu reported on the ASA’s investments. She noted the ASA’s portfolio gained about $3.7 million in value in 2019. However, Lu noted 2020 has already proven to be a wild ride for the markets and we are keeping a close watch on developments through our investment manager.
  • ASA President Wendy Martinez and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach Donna LaLonde reported on the status of the strategic initiatives for 2020. ASA Past President Karen Kafadar updated the board on the status of two of her strategic initiatives. Also, ASA President-elect Rob Santos introduced his ideas for potential strategic initiatives for next year. He briefly described his original set of ideas, but then noted the COVID-19 pandemic completely changed his approach to planning for 2021. The board will further discuss Santos’s ideas at its next meeting.
  • Council of Chapters Representative Don Jang updated the board on the meetings of the COCGB since November, plans for JSM 2020, chapter website navigation updates, chapter service awards, and activities of the chapter status committee.
  • Council of Sections Representative Katherine Halvorsen updated the board on section health issues, potential topics for 2020 COSGB discussion, goals of the COSGB chair, and initiatives of the council for the coming year.
  • Council of Sections Representative Mark Glickman and former ASA Vice President Kathy Ensor, co-chairs of the ad hoc Data Science Advisory Committee, presented the final report and recommendations of the committee. The board discussed and acted upon each of the five overarching recommendations (more on this in future issues of Amstat News). On a related note, Lu made recommendations for outreach to the data science community, which the board will also follow up on.
  • ASA Director of Development Amanda Malloy updated the board on the results of fundraising during 2019. She said $233,000 was raised in 2019, a 7% increase over 2018. The number of individual donors, first time donors, corporate donors, and $1,000+ donors also all increased. She noted a 59% retention rate—2018 donors who also gave in 2019—and said the industry benchmark on retention is 45%.

The board will meet next on June 5 via videoconference for its annual budget meeting.

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