When leaders with a vision and committed members work together, they have the ability to do exciting, innovative things. This is especially true in the case of the American Aberdeen Association (AAA).
The AAA’s new governance structure – launched after the association’s 2019 annual meeting – focuses on active participation and effective communication.
Under the structure, the association is made up of three levels – regions, committees and a board of directors (Figure 1).
The five regional associations form the structure’s foundation. Each region is tasked with: 1) creating a vehicle for local member voices to funnel to the board; 2) developing a consensus among regional members on important issues and concerns; and 3) sending a voting representative to each committee meeting.
Committees comprise the middle layer of the association. AAA currently has 12 committees: Breeder Services; Bylaws, Rules and Resolution; Finance; International; Juniors; Ledger; National Sale; National Show; Nomination; Promotion; Regional Presidents; and Strategic Planning.
The role of the committees is to: 1) divide up the work of the organization; 2) expedite work by removing routine tasks from monthly board consideration; 3) utilize members’ specific talents and knowledge; 4) permit broader participation by all members; and 5) create a place where all member voices can be heard.
Each committee plays a pivotal role in the success of the organization’s structure. When the committees function as intended, they ensure that the board can focus on the bigger picture, while giving members a pathway to voice their ideas.
The board of directors sits at the top of the structure and is tasked with: 1) organizational oversight; 2) effective governance; 3) developing the vision and outlining strategic organizational goals; 4) designing systems for effective execution and involvement; and 5) empowering committees to solve problems and develop new ideas.
The board’s primary focus is developing the association’s vision and strategic goals, which allows the association to capitalize on future opportunities.
While the structure isn’t groundbreaking, it’s a change for the association that encourages members to get involved.
Under the new structure, effective communication is critical to the success of the association and its members. AAA’s structure enables information to flow from members all the way up to the board and vice versa.
While the structure prioritizes effective communication, and the board encourages members to share their opinions, it’s up to each member to be a vocal participant and unite with other members to drive the association forward.
Since the association was formed, the number of members has steadily increased. American Aberdeen can adapt and thrive in a variety of environments; consequently, they are raised across the United States. Today, AAA members can be found in 48 states, Canada, Australia and England.
In 2018, the top AAA membership states were Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Washington and Missouri. These states consistently represent some of the top states for membership in the association.
Beyond being located across the country, AAA members also represent a variety of operation sizes. AAA is proud of its diverse membership that is comprised of both large-scale ranchers and small-acreage farmers. Since American Aberdeen cattle can answer the challenges both these groups face, we value their opinions and points of view.
With the new governance structure, members are better equipped with opportunities to share ideas, and AAA has the ability to take advantage of those ideas for the benefit of the members and association.
If you’re not currently a member, we hope you’ll consider how an AAA membership can benefit you. The industry is taking note of American Aberdeen, and now is the time to get involved and recognize how American Aberdeen genetics can create value for your operation.
Keep an eye on the AAA – it’s poised to capitalize on various opportunities to meet growing consumer demand for more efficient, environmentally friendly products.
Visit www.AmericanAberdeen.com for information about becoming a member, regional associations, committees, registering American Aberdeen cattle, finding association events and shows, and The Ledger magazine archives.
By Jessie Topp-Becker, Managing Editor