IVSA Governance Manual
ExCo Positions are decided flexibly according to the need of IVSA. Positions and work can be combined in accordance to workload and situation of activities.
The current Executive Committee of IVSA is formed as follows. The essential structural positions are President, Secretary General and Treasurer, to ensure the sustainability of IVSA. Positions to ensure the projects of IVSA are implemented are the Membership Organization Director and Development Aid Director. Additional positions to lubricate the communication and management of IVSA are Public Relations Coordinator, External Relations Officer and Committee Coordinator.
The positions of President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Membership Organization Director and Development Aid Director are specified in the Bylaws. The remaining three positions are more flexible, and it is up to the ExCo whether to specify the same (or different) positions for the elections at the Congress at the end of their term, or to leave positions “open” as Member of ExCo positions, which gives the nominee a chance to define their own position.
Work of the ExCo
The ExCo will often be in a position to represent IVSA. This will most likely be the President, but can be any member of the ExCo, Secretariat or Trust, depending on the occasion, location or other circumstances. The Representative is highly recommended to maintain a respective, considerate attitude. Any discussion or votes should be made for the benefit of the whole IVSA, rather than the individual present.
To ensure to represent the opinion of IVSA as best as possible, major decisions during meetings should only be taken after consulting the whole ExCo or member base through the EOs and Local Presidents.
At ExCo meetings, each ExCo member is recommended to participate in person as much as possible, as 1 year is a relatively short time frame to achieve much without close cooperation with other ExCo members. Socializing and building trust with each other are essential tasks that should not be neglected. During ExCo meetings, each ExCo officer must be active in discussion and feel free to express any opinions that may affect the actions of the ExCo. Maintaining a considerate attitude to each other can encourage more lively discussion and improve the outcome of ExCo meetings.
ExCo meetings are public meetings and especially the place and time of the live meetings are to be published together with an agenda. Secretariat, Trust and Committee Chairs should be invited. Guests, such as EOs, Local Presidents and IVSA members can attend the meeting without the right to speak unless granted by the ExCo. When discussing matters of a sensitive or personal nature, the ExCo can move to hold a closed session. Secretaries, Trustees, Committee Chairs and guests have to leave the meeting for the time of discussion unless otherwise decided by the ExCo.
A summary of the meeting and its outcomes has to be published afterwards to inform members about the outcome of the meeting (the minutes of ExCo meetings are public and must be made available from the IVSA website within 10 days of the meeting)..
The official language of English can be a point of difficulty at the beginning of the term. This is another reason it is highly recommended to participate meetings in person, as more physical contact will facilitate communication. Usually by the end of the Symposium, the language barrier is significantly lowered.
One informal ExCo-Trust meeting should be held between Congress and Symposium and one between Symposium and Congress, for the ExCo and Trust to discuss the work of the ExCo and of the Trust, the relationship between the two bodies and any issues which may have arisen which someone does not feel comfortable discussing in an ExCo meeting.
More focused individual meetings can be held between ExCo or Secretariat members and the Trust or one member of the Trust to address issues or problems that may arise. It is also recommended that members of the Trust with expertise in certain areas of ExCo governance have more targeted meetings (for example, a Trust member who has previously been the MOD could have meetings with the MOD and the Secretary/ies assigned to the MOD.
IVSA Events, General Assemblies
At IVSA events, including bi-annual meetings where the IVSA General Assemblies are gathered, ExCo officers are expected to set examples of what is expected from members. Although not designated to the ExCo, socializing with newly participating members and continuously communicating can set lively atmospheres and help build successful events. Keeping respectful attitudes to different cultures is also to be encouraged by ExCo members in cooperation with the Organizing Committee. The ExCo is recommended to discourage any activities by IVSA members that may cause a problem for the Organizing Committee. This is important for sustainability of IVSA activity in the corresponding community, such as additional events or exchanges.
The ExCo will frequently confront irregular tasks as unexpected situations may occur. These tasks should not be ignored but dealt with by the corresponding ExCo member. When there is no corresponding ExCo position, this is to be assigned by volunteering among the ExCo, Secretariat and/or Trust. In the occasion where there is no volunteer, the President or Vice-President is to assign the task depending on personal judgment.
In the past, there have been requests from partnering associations and companies. Disputes between local Member Organizations and copyright issues can also occur and it is the ExCo’s responsibility to resolve issues or reply with opinions.
Communication is one of the most important issues throughout the year for a group of people from different countries and cultures around the world elected to represent an international organization. It is important that everyone should feel able to and make an effort to talk to others, ask questions and clarify misunderstandings. If there are any problems, they should be discussed as soon as possible.
Each ExCo, Secretariat and Trust member should save at least 15 minutes every day to check their IVSA email account, Podio, Facebook group(s), etc. Most communication can take place via Podio. A WhatsApp group is especially useful for emergencies and during Symposium and Congress, a Facebook group is useful for personal matters or reminders, and email is best used for certain official emails, external communication and sometimes for one-on-one or small group discussions (but it is important to keep everyone informed of what is going on when appropriate).
Tasks of the Current IVSA ExCo Positions
- President – Lead and inspire the ExCo and IVSA members, representing all vet students of the world. The Vice-President is to be selected by the newly elected ExCo at the start of their term and assist the President.
- Secretary General – Create the technical assembly/meeting agenda and minutes, manage Secretariat affairs, handle much of the administrative work of the ExCo.
- Treasurer – Take control of all IVSA finances and maintain a balanced budget throughout the ExCo office year, and carry on as the Post-Treasurer to complete the financial report for their year as Treasurer.
IVSA project positions
- Membership Organization Director – Manage IVSA local activities including events and exchanges, constantly communicating and motivating members.
- Development Aid Director – Manage and distribute IVSA financial funds, including the Development Fund and Scholarship Fund. Development Fund auctions at each IVSA meeting and SAVMA symposium are also to be carried out by the DAD.
- Public Relations Coordinator – Creating IVSA publications, including the design of printing materials and creating electronic publications. Electronic communications such as official emails, and the IVSA Facebook page and website is also the responsibility of the PRC.
- External Relations Coordinator – Fundraising and searching for new sponsorship opportunities, ensuring good relationships with potential sponsors, assisting the President by representing IVSA to certain organizations or at certain events, keeping track of all the duties linked to the various sponsorship and partnership agreements of IVSA.
- Committee Coordinator – Coordinating the work of the Committees of IVSA and being the primary link between the ExCo and the Committees, filling in for Committee Chairs in the case that they are unable to perform their duties.
For more detailed job descriptions, see separate ExCo Position Manuals.
With each sponsoring/partnering contract there may be additional jobs to be carried out. The President, Vice President or External Relations Coordinator must check that all contract conditions are assigned to one or more ExCo member(s).
Training their assigned Secretary/ies to develop ExCo competencies is also an important task for ExCo members.
More detailed information on reimbursements can be found in the Treasurer Manual.
Reimbursement of travel expenses before events have taken place can be considered in certain special circumstances, but is not the usual procedure.
Reimbursement of “travel expenses” for an event at which an IVSA official is representing IVSA can, according to our Bylaws, include any expenses related to the event, including visas, necessary accommodation, and food (including formal dinners etc. at which IVSA’s presence could be beneficial).
Some members may wish to travel before or after an event for which travel expenses are covered by IVSA. In this case, the amount to be reimbursed should be limited to the amount that would be paid for a reasonable return flight to and from the location of the event using the same search engine that was used to book the flight(s) on the equivalent dates and booked on the same day. The recipient should provide the documentation of this to the Treasurer.
Work of the Secretariat
The Secretariat is included in ExCo activities as stated above but Secretaries are not obligated to participate in ExCo meetings and are not granted a vote.
The Secretariat is recommended to keep in close personal contact and proactively share opinions and suggestions with assigned ExCo member(s). Keeping track of ExCo’s work and discussions will be training for Secretaries to develop skills needed as ExCo members.
The Secretariat may also hold separate meetings from ExCo meetings and share opinions about the current ExCo’s actions and discuss any points for improvement. These meetings will be chaired by the Secretary General.
Work of the Trust
The Trust is only subsidiary to the General Assembly and all members of the Trust have equal rights and share the responsibility equally.
So far the Trust has no regular tasks besides supervision of the work of the ExCo and the Secretariat, and is recommended to join in discussions and provide ExCo with advice and opinions. The Trust can create and implement projects that are related to IVSA, such as creating an IVSA Alumni network. Trust projects are to be respectful to and approved by the current ExCo, restraining from overtaking any decisions made by ExCo. Trustees have to stay informed about the work of the ExCo and Secretariat and should send an official representative to each ExCo meeting to speak on behalf of the Trust.
At the end of their term, the Trust has to present a report for approval by the General Assembly.
How to apply for the IVSA governing positions
ExCo and Secretariat positions are open to all members and applicants may be nominated for a position by any valid delegate of the General Assembly.
In order to be considered suitable for nomination for a position on the ExCo or Secretariat, the member should have sufficient English language skills to communicate effectively with the other members of the IVSA governing entities. This is because English is the official language of IVSA and it is the language in which all official ExCo and Secretariat communication is in. English language skills should therefore be considered necessary for all nominees. Other language skills, while they may be useful, are optional. Other skills that are to be considered important are comprehensive communication, cooperation and flexibility, and of course dedication and interest in IVSA.
The Trust positions are open only to former ExCo/Secretariat members. This is to ensure that future ExCos and Secretariats have experienced guidance.
Members who consider themselves suitable for a governing position may follow the steps below. These steps are recommended but not mandatory.
- Discuss ambitions within your local Member Organization. This is to avoid any confusion and gain support, especially if not able to attend the event at which the elections are to be held in person.
- Discuss ambitions with current members of the governing board. This step will help understanding the work and benefits.
- Communicate with fellow members. Fellow members are the ones with votes and opinions. Talking to them is your chance to prove your competency to be a governing member.
- Follow the Election Committee’s instructions. The Election Committee is formed at relevant meetings and usually asks nominees to make a presentation and motivation letter.
Long-Term Strategy of IVSA
IVSA has documents on Strategic Planning which outline its long-term goals, which are approved by the GA. No member of IVSA’s governing bodies is responsible for any particular aspect of this, but these documents are approved by the GA, which is the highest governing authority of IVSA, so the ExCo is expected to work towards these goals. These documents were initially created by an ad-hoc committee on Strategic Planning and should be updated periodically, possibly by a similar committee.
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