Being a Director: What it Means to me
What does it mean to me to be a Director of the IDTA? We will very soon be setting off to Southport and I will have completed two years as a Director of the International Dance Teacher’s Association (IDTA). There will be a new vote and some people will be successful and others will not. Being a Director of an organization I have known in some form or other for so many years is probably one of the things of which I am most proud. I first took medals with the then IDMA when I was nine years old and starting out in competitions dancing with my brother Keith Clifton. Being a Director for me is about being at the heart of the action, influencing change and using a lifetime of acquired skills in the best way I can.
Being a Director
It is not always an easy role. In fact it is a very serious role and it is important to know what is required before you are nominated. Directors are fiscally responsible for the Association. Sometimes this requires them to ask hard questions and these may not be the sort of questions that make you the most popular. You must always do and say what you believe to be right with integrity and you have to be strong enough to be able to “do your job”. It sometimes reminds me in an odd parallel of the twenty years I spent as a magistrate. Sometimes you had to do the right thing and send someone to prison even though you would have liked to be more compassionate. Some decisions at the Board are very difficult but just like my role as magistrate and my role as an IDTA Examiner, I just have to do my job to the best of my ability, however difficult that can be at times. You need skills of integrity, communication, passion, vision and commitment.
The IDTA is an enormous organization with many areas all over the world supporting dance schools with awards, grades and providing professional examinations. In some ways dance is a huge family with people helping each other and making friends very close to home and very far away from home. However the IDTA is primarily a business and it supports a collection of businesses, the businesses of our members. The way we approach the business of dance is complex and each member provides his or her dance services in a slightly different way. As dance teachers we are all influenced by our own culture, history, values and views on the way things should be done. I have found dance teachers to be passionate, generous, and creative people. But where business is involved there will always be the rule breakers, selfishness, self interest and of course financial and legal obligations to satisfy.
I am proud of the work I have done so far on the Board of Directors. Some of the work is visible and some not, as a lot goes on behind the scenes and due to the confidentiality of some of the work, which relates to members. No one person can claim responsibility for the decisions. We are a Board of Directors, and all the Members of the Board make decisions following deep discussion and according to their own values and experience. The discussions should be confidential. I believe we have all done a good job this year though especially in updating the Articles of Association, which will be presented at Congress.
There are other things I would like to propose in the future as a Director, such as putting a limit on how long Directors can serve, as the Institute of directors recommends about nine years for a non-executive Board like ours. I would also like to have Directors voted on for three year periods as I believe it means that they could have some tenure and time to get their ideas heard. However, these are just a twinkle in my eye at the moment. If you have any ideas that you think should go to the Board do come and talk to me or to one of the existing members of the Board. Or think about becoming a Board member. After all the members of the Board are there to serve the members.
Very exciting times ahead!