New Northwest Dharma Association Board Takes Office, Takes Steps for Coming Year

Written by: Timothy O'Brien

BOARDSUM photo 1

From left to right: Board Member Joe Pearl, Executive Director Timothy O’Brien, Treasurer Elizabeth Sikes, Outgoing President Dick O’Connor, Board Member Jeff Miles, Secretary Paul Gehards, new President R.L. Miles, Board Member Jacqueline Mandell, Vice President Tim Tapping.
Photos by Kathy Miles and Jeff Miles.

The board of Northwest Dharma Association includes directors who live in various parts of the region, currently the Seattle area, Olympia, the Portland area, and Eastern Washington.

The board meets in person twice a year. In the summer the new board takes office and reviews the association’s work since the last Strategic Planning Meeting, which is the other in-person meeting, and which takes place in the fall.

The Executive Committee, which oversees operations between board meetings. Left to right, Treasurer Elizabeth Sikes, new President R.L. Miles, Vice President Tim Tapping and Paul Gerhards.

This year’s first meeting of the new board occurred on Sunday, June 10, at Open Gate Zendo in Olympia, the home of R.L. (“Miles”) Miles, the incoming board president, and his wife Kathy Miles. At the meeting the board elected new officers, set the 2012-2013 board calendar, reviewed the sub-committee/task force composition, and set goals for the coming four months until the next planning session in October.

President Miles is joined by Tim Tapping as vice president, Elizabeth Sikes as treasurer, and new board member Paul Gerhards as secretary. Officers serve one-year terms.

Jeff Miles, from Mountain Way Zendo, also joined the board.

Board members and Executive Director Timothy O’Brien discuss association business at the June 10 meeting, at the Open Gate Zendo in Olympia.

Retiring President Dick O’Connor will serve as past president on the board after having served two three-year terms. He will assist the organization in fundraising and outreach.

There are still three vacancies on the board, and those interested in serving are encouraged to apply for the openings.

Last year, the Northwest Dharma Association board set up a system of committees and task forces, a structure that was updated at the meeting.

The committees include:

  • The Executive Committee, which consists of the four officers and acts for the board between board meetings.
  • The Fundraising, Development, and Budget Committee, which oversees the association’s finances.
  • The Events Committee, which oversees the planning and execution of the annual gathering, teachers’ meeting, and other events sponsored or co-sponsored by the association.
  • The Outreach Committee, which assists Outreach Coordinator Jeff Kerr to develop ways for member groups and other regional Buddhists to interact and network.
  • The Website and News Development Task Force, which is assisting Steve Wilhelm, editor of the Northwest Dharma News, and Stephen Schildbach, the webmaster, in upgrading both the News and the website.

In a light moment, outgoing President Dick O’Connor hands the gavel to new President R.L. Miles.

There are also non-board members serving on the committees and task force.

Serving on the Fundraising, Development, and Budget Committee are Ven. Chonyi, Dick O’Connor, and Tim Tapping; on the Events Committee, Miles, George Draffan, and Jeff Miles; on the Outreach Committee, Jeff Kerr, Jacqueline Mandell, Paul Gerhards, Kozen Sampson, and Bill Hirsch; and on the Website and News Development Task Force, Joe Pearl, Elizabeth Sikes, David Forsythe, Steve Wilhelm, and Stephen Schildbach.

Major goals for the coming four months include reaching the fund-raising goals of the 2012 budget, including the additional expenses of re-hiring Executive Director Timothy O’Brien and re-designing the NWDA website. In addition the board will fill the three vacancies on the board, and settle on dates and places for the next 12 months’ events.

The meeting ended with a dedication of merit and with Dick thanking the board for the opportunity to work with such a great group of Buddhists, all of whom have enriched his life.

About the Author: Timothy O'Brien
Timothy O’Brien is administrator of Northwest Dharma Association, and has served the organization in many capacities in the past.