Who:  NSN Members – present, past, and future.

What:  A meeting invitation to ask questions and make comments about the NSN Board Restructuring Proposal as presented to the Board in 2022 by Trudy Hanson, NSN Board member. The Proposal requires changes to the NSN Bylaws.

When: Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 7:00 pm Central (UTC -6) (Note: the meeting will be recorded if you have a schedule conflict)

Where: Zoom, NSN Admin is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Free. Register at:


Why: To strengthen and invigorate the NSN Board and the organization as it moves into the storytelling future and to give voice to the membership in all their storytelling endeavors through Board representation of SIGS.

How:  The following summarizes the major changes proposed in restructuring the NSN Board:

  • Regional directors would be released from the board and replaced by SIG representatives as chosen by each SIG.
  • A rotation would be established whereby the Vice President Elect would serve in that capacity one year, become Vice President the next year, and President for the third year of the term.
  • The positions of Digital Director, Publications Manager, Volunteer Coordinator would be added as Board Members.
  • Committees to be appointed immediately would be the Nominating Committee, the Awards Committees, the Bylaws committee.
  • More details? For additional details please read below…

In November 2022, Board Chair, Kory May, appointed an ad hoc committee to recommend an implementation plan. Trudy Hanson, as spokesperson of the committee, outlines the following process for the Board to approve the proposal:

First, the procedure to amend the Bylaws requires that amendments be prepared in writing and provided to the Board 30 days prior to a Board Meeting.

Second, to deal with some of the questions raised about how we implement changes—should those changes receive a passing vote— here’s the recommended path:

  • The Board can vote on the amendments to the Bylaws at the January Board meeting if that meeting occurs on January 10 or later. (Note: The next Board meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 14 at Noon CST and is an open meeting.)
  • If the amendments pass, then those serving as Regional Directors are released from their service and representatives from the existing SIGS, as selected by each SIG, would take their place on the Board. (Note: NSN remains a national organization. The representation would come from existing SIGS and the formation of new SIGS rather than regional representation.)
  • The newly formed board would need to approve a Nominating Committee to prepare a list of candidates for the Board to be elected by the general membership.
  • Ballots can be accepted electronically.
  • Following the election, the new board chair would appoint the standing committees for 2023 (Nominating Committee, Oracle Awards Committee, JJ Reneaux Grant Committee, Bylaws Committee and any ad hoc committees deemed feasible.)  
  • The Board which is empowered to do so by Article 4.4 of the Bylaws can set the amount for membership dues. It is recommended that the dues include membership in at least one SIG without additional cost. 

Third, in voting on the Bylaws changes, the process is to take one article, one section at a time. Allow 2 to 3 minutes of discussion, then vote on that article or section. All additions or deletions to the amendment should be given through the CHAT function of Zoom so that the secretary can record all changes.

Restructuring Proposal – August 2 2022

Since we have the opportunity to go back to the drawing board in re-creating NSN, I think it would be beneficial for us to consider re-structuring the board. My suggestion comes from being president of both a regional (Southern States Communication Association) and a state organization (Texas Speech Communication Association). I think it’s appropriate to consider the fact that we could serve our members more efficiently if board members represented the major storytelling interest groups rather than geographical regions. We are living in a digital world now and state or regional boundaries don’t actually represent WHO we are. With that said, here is my proposal for restructuring:

1. Have an Executive Committee comprised of the following officers:
a. President—who presides at all board meetings and member meetings and is the chief spokesperson for the organization
b. Vice-President –who serves as the program planner (for conferences or whatever form programming takes)
c. Vice-President- Elect—who coordinates committee work by the various standing committees. In theory, the person who is elected as Vice-President Elect is taking on a 3 year term. The first year, that person would coordinate committees; the second year, that person would coordinate program planning and the third year, that person presides as president. If adopted, this would give the organization the benefit of experienced leadership
d. Financial Officer
e. Secretary
f. Digital/Technical Specialist
g. Editor of whatever storytelling publication the committee decides to produce
h. Ex Officio—Paid or volunteer Staff member

2. Have an Executive Council composed of one representative from each special interest group:
a. Storytelling and Healing
b. Kamishibai Storytelling
c. Producers and Organizers
d. Storytelling in Organizations
e. Youth and Educators in Storytelling
f. Traditional Storytelling
g. Digital Storytelling
h. Environmental Storytelling

Each interest group would be represented in the Executive Council and would be charged with helping plan programming each year. The NSN Vice President would be the overall program planner and would determine how many program slots are available for workshops, concerts, slams and then would allocate those slots to the storytelling interest groups. The interest groups would then submit their proposed programs/performances. To form a new interest group beyond those I have listed, members would need to submit a signed petition having at least 50 current members’ signatures indicating they would support the formation of the additional interest group.

3. Paid membership would automatically include membership in ONE of the special interest groups with the option to join other interest groups for an additional fee. Regarding an NSN publication, if the Executive Committee approved a digital publication, they could also provide an option for a print publication—for an additional fee to cover costs for publication and mailing. The digital publication would be free to all members.

So, what about the state organizations? As a new board member, I don’t really have a clear picture of how NSN has coordinated things with the state organizations. What might work is creating a special interest group for state organization presidents. That way, this group has representation and programming opportunities.

I realize that this proposal is quite a departure from what we currently have, but I also think this kind of structure would provide better networking and representation of storytellers. We call ourselves a “national” organization and yet we have only 600+ members and as listed in our Connected program, there are 14 vacancies in state liaisons. So maybe we should reconsider how best to serve a nation-wide membership.

Thanks for reading this!

Trudy Hanson
South Central Director

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