2019 Harmony Annual Report
Updated: Oct 23
The purpose of Harmony’s Annual Meeting is to keep our ownership informed about the fiscal and operational successes and setbacks the coop faced the previous fiscal year. As the Harmony Board chair, I have the incredible privilege of serving an organization that leads with its values and works strategically & compassionately hard to bring its vision into reality. I’ve come to learn that it’s a rare thing that an incorporated body of people achieves its intended outcomes year-after-year, exceeding its expectations for itself along the way. I'm beaming with gratitude to share with you that at the board level, we’ve been able to do that for Harmony again this year. Our goal for 2019 on the board was to increase our leadership capacity and institute systems of training and succession to ensure a steady continuity of Harmony’s leadership at the board level. We accomplished that on both a human and technical level this year. One of our key goals this year was to create a wider understanding among us of the roles and responsibilities of different officers on the Harmony board. We designed a job shadowing process to help directors understand the duties of different roles with the idea that we’d identify succession pathways for each of the officer positions by the end of year. I’m happy to report that over the course of the year through that job shadowing process we’ve identified the next succession of Harmony’s leadership. It’s been a rewarding experience sharing what I do with Harmony’s next chair, Rita Chamblin. As we set agendas together each month, and examine Harmony’s informational archive together pouring through policy and procedures, I’ve gained a new appreciation about the necessity of a relational transparency in leadership and how it grows the health of an organization as a whole. Over the course of the next 2 years, Rita and I will facilitate a transition to her position as chair while I continue to serve on the board in more of a director-with-institutional-history role. Additionally, we are in progress of developing a new role for the Harmony board, the Board Conscience. The idea is that there is always a designated board member in the room that helps us stay on track for making decisions based on our governing principles and values when decisions are complicated by a myriad of factors. Jan Guggenheimer is serving in that role right now, and she works with Rita and I each month reviewing the agenda to plan ahead about what conversations might need an extra conscience at the table. Furthermore, we redesigned our board fall recruitment and had our highest level of interest ever, with about 10 folks raising their hand as wanting to serve on the board either next year, or in subsequent years. Technically, early in 2019, we professionalized our board online information system by migrating over to Microsoft Teams from the free wiki site we’d been hosting ourselves on. While a minor change in some capacity, it has allowed us to ensure that our information systems are more accessible to each board member as a whole. Before the migration, it took the technical expertise of 1-2 people to make sure everyone had access to the right reports each month. Now, not only is the board information more widely shared amongst us, we are also able to more nimbly navigate our board business at a distance when needed. For example, about half of the Harmony board was already comfortable and ready to use Teams to host our first virtual meeting in March 2020 because we’d already been employing it in small board teams throughout the year. When forced to move online, we didn’t have an entirely new learning curve as an organization and we’re able to benefit from that foresight as a result to keep our focus on providing governance for Harmony. In all, 2019 was a year of substantial growth for the board.