Board Minutes – 08/2003


Chicago Headline Club
Board of Directors Meeting

August 12, 2003

President Ben Bradley called the meeting to order at 8 a.m.

Present: Ben, Molly McDonough, Phil Kadner, Ameet Sachdev, Diane Carbonera, Michelle Stevens, Scott Keenan, Jodi Wilgoren, Lucio Guerrero, Melita Marie Garza, Jason Jedlinski, Chris Fusco and Susan S. Stevens.

Freedom of Information: Phil noted that AP reported Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he would sign the Verbatim Records Act. It’s a great victory for the Illinois Press Association which led the campaign and the Chicago Headline Club which supported IPA, Kadner said. (Note: the governor did sign the bill.)

Brownlee Series: Ben and Lucio reported on the retooling of the speed-pitch event, now known as Night of 1,000 ideas. As well as journalists and publicists, non-profits are being invited.

Foundation: Molly said it has been formed officially, filed with the state. The next step is to file with the Internal Revenue Service. Brownlee profits will go to the foundation for education and professional development.

Membership directory: Jason said volunteers are working on different sections.

Ben thanked Lucio and Scott for setting up an “outstanding” Brown Bag for the last Friday of August. Frank Main, John Drummond and others will discuss covering Chicago crime.

Lifetime Achievement Awards: John White, Bob Crawford, Georgie Ann Geyer, Coky Dishon and John O’Brien were selected from about 60 nominees. Scott motioned the committee’s selections be approved. Melita seconded it. Motion passed.
Minutes from July minutes were approved with two corrections. Meg Tebo was present. Brownlee Foundation contributed $500 this year.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens

Executive Director comments

Rob Hess:
Proposal to create a Headline Club Executive Director (REVISED 9/03)
This proposal is intended to immediately address urgent issues in the present and future operations of the Chicago Headline Club.

Resolved: that the Chicago Headline Club will hire a paid employee, to be called “executive director,” whose responsibilities will include:
In general, responsibly execute the wishes of the volunteer board, with effective followthru
Coordination of Club committee and programming efforts, including Brownlee Series
Building and maintaining our membership
Building and maintaining contacts in Chicago area newsrooms
Oversight of the Club’s publications and communications efforts, including marketing and promotion
Recruitment and oversight of volunteers
Consultation with SPJ National headquarters
Coordination with CHC Foundation
Assist, advise and consult with CHC Treasurer on management of Club assets, budget, income and spending
Reporting to CHC President, Officers and Board of Directors on all of the above

It is essential that our ideas and initiatives have effective follow-through. The person hired for this position will be responsible for making our ambitious goals reality.

Suggested salary: in the past I have suggested what I thought was a fair salary, including possible incentives. But previous boards have gotten bogged down on this point, so I am leaving the issue of compensation to the discretion of the board.

Suggest that the executive director be expected to report to the board monthly and have a review by officers every three months.

Respectfully submitted,
Rob Hess

Molly McDonough:
My brief description of the position: Programs/communications manager. The individual would be responsible for organizing events calendared by the CHC (the programs committee would still select programs and dates, the manager would then make sure all the details are attended to); ensuring flyers are ordered, printed and mailed to members; oversee club external communications (especially news releases); and make sure our newsletter is produced on time and distributed to members.

Christine Tatum:
Christie’s take on the position, with more details:
A. Taking direction from the VP of programs about upcoming events. The VP — or his or her programs committee — should provide program ideas. But it would be up to the new hire to confirm speakers’ appearances, nail down locations for those events, order food if it is going to be served, and send thank you notes for speakers’ participation (or round up and give “speakers gifts” at said event).

B. Once the details of an event are ironed out, it would be up to this new person to work with Billy to ensure that a promotional flier is produced and to work with James to ensure the details are posted at This person would stay on top of the Club’s online calendar to ensure the latest details are posted (and the old ones removed promptly). This person also would ensure that e-mails about events are distributed to the CHC membership and that fliers are distributed via e-mail to the full board. This person also would ensure that John Camden has fliers for CHC mailings.

C. This person would work with the VP of Membership to ensure that mailings to the CHC membership are sent on a regular basis. This person would work with printers when necessary and with mailhouses to ensure that deadlines for mailing are met.

D. This person would work with the Chicago Journalist Editor to ensure that the Club’s newsletter is distributed in a timely fashion.

E. This person would work with the Lisagor Chair to price venues, sign contracts and broker breaks on services rendered. This person also will work with the Brownlee Series chair to price venues, sign contracts and broker breaks on services rendered.

Bob Roberts:
IF we hire an executive director, and I think that’s a big IF, I still think the person should make adjustments to the mailing list, coordinate phone calls coming in and out of the office, take care of some of the small stuff we do now all the time with regard to e-mail alerts and the like, and should be prepped and ready to do some of the arm-twisting that we are doing increasingly.

Whether that means actual lobbying remains to be seen. But if we give someone the title “executive director,” if they don’t do it, I think we’re wasting someone’s time and our money.