NSDA Update Fall 2018

President's Message

As I began my term as President of NSDA's board of directors, I was trying to determine the content of this and future messages. I concluded that this is a perfect opportunity to describe the functions of the Board.  I believe it is important for the roles and responsibilities of the Board to be understood. I am hoping that this is of interest to you. 

First and foremost, the overall function of the Board is governance and oversight. To understand this function, it is important to understand governance responsibilities. Key governance responsibilities of the Board as defined by our Board Charter include:

Accountability and Strategic Planning
-Establish and evaluate NSDA’s strategic plan
-Report on progress of the plan to stakeholders
-Set the mission, vision and values of the organization
-Ensure decisions are consistent with the mission, vision and values
-Ensure the organization functions as it should

Risk Oversight and Quality Assurance
-Public Safety
-Management Information Systems and Internal Controls
-Financial Oversight
-Board Effectiveness and Efficiency
-Establishing goals and evaluate the performance of the Board, its Chair and Committees
-Determine the range of skills and experience to be represented on the Board
-Develop a process to recruit high quality, diverse and competent leadership for the Board
-Ensure that Board members have a thorough initial orientation and ongoing opportunities to improve their knowledge, skills and competency as a Board member
-Review bylaws, governance policies and Board practices to ensure best governance practices are being incorporated

Stakeholder Relations
-Protect and enhance the NSDA brand and reputation
-Maintain strong and effective relations with all stakeholders
-Represent the organization externally to stakeholders

Over the past year we have shared the development of our current strategic plan, seeking and incorporating input from stakeholders in its development. I am going to move on from there to share how the Board is making decisions consistent with the strategic plan and in accordance with our Charter. The mission of NSDA is - In the public interest, NSDA regulates dietitians and nutritionists to practice in a safe, ethical and competent manner. Thus, working within the guidance of the mission and the Charter, one function of the Board is to ensure that dietitians and nutritionists in Nova Scotia, are regulated, in the interest of public protection. While this may sound a simple enough task, it requires a depth of knowledge, competencies and commitment to good governance and oversight, that is not always easily understood or realized. As such, education sessions are provided to board members to help strengthen their roles on the Board.

Annually, in September, a professional development session is held for all Board members. This session provides new members with a good general beginning of understanding governance and oversight, as well as strengthening the knowledge and abilities of the other members. This annual training assists the Board to assure that its governing processes reflect best practices in board governance and reinforces the board's oversight role. It also helps the board to identify areas for further development and improvement.

This September, our annual professional development session was held with a governance consultant, providing knowledge on the different modes of governance, the foundations for effective governance, the respective roles and responsibilities of governance versus management, as well as session on Board succession planning. This focus was in line with the Board's strategic direction, Governance Excellence: To develop a strategy to recruit and maintain leaders who enhance and contribute to NSDA's mission, vision, values and strategic directions.

The results of the Board’s self-assessment, conducted this year, clearly identified and confirmed the Board’s priority for establishing a succession plan and recruitment strategy for members of the Board. Based on the learnings from the September education session, the Strategic Plan and the Board Charter, the work of the Board this fiscal year will be to establish a recruitment and nominations strategy, that can allow for the right mix of education, knowledge, and experience to provide direction and stewardship for NSDA. It is anticipated that this new process will be in place for recruitment and nominations for next year.  Stay tuned for the next dialogue on the functions of NSDA! (I’m sure you can hardly wait…. smile).

In closing, I want to recognize some amazing people: A sincere thank you to Melissa Campbell outgoing President, for all her hard work and dedication in setting the course for the Board over the next few years. All this and becoming a new Mom too! Thank you to returning Board members: Sarah MacDonald (President-Elect), Janice Terry (Treasurer), Megan Austen, Amy MacDonald, Valerie MacPherson, and a wholehearted welcome to our new Board members, Jennifer Josey and Laura Bokus-Thorne. And lastly, a sincere goodbye and thank you to Kelly Poirier for her work on the NSDA Board of Directors. We wish you all the best life has to offer!

Until next time,
Judy Lowe, PDt
NSDA President 2018-2020


2018-19 Board of Directors (from left to right): Megan Austen, Melissa Campbell, Janice Terry,
Judy Lowe, Sarah MacDonald, Jennifer Garus, Laura Bockus-Thorne, Jennifer Josey, Amy MacDonald.
Missing: Valerie MacPherson.