YAA Board of Governors: Values & Expectations

About the Board

The YAA Board of Governors is the volunteer leadership of the alumni association, made up of five officers, 24 members, and eight ex-officio members. This page defines the values and the mutual expectations to which the board aspires.

YAA Mission & Core Values

The YAA organizational mission and values were adopted in December 2018.

Our mission is to enhance and renew the lifelong Yale experience for all alumni, whoever they are and wherever they may be. We strive to inspire new ideas, affiliations, friendships, professional fulfillment, and acts of service, around the world.

Our core values are: openness, relevance, inclusion, impact, and collaboration.

Board Values

Info Accordions

  • We seek to serve the best interests of all alumni and Yale rather than representing any one constituency or network.
  • We strive to collaborate with other volunteers and YAA staff to define and achieve shared objectives.
  • We make time to get to know our fellow board members, using the time between sessions to network and engage on a personal level.
  • We develop and maintain relationships with YAA partners and especially the YAA staff. We consider our YAA staff liaisons to be valuable resources. An important part of our role as board members includes supporting staff and helping them succeed in their areas of responsibility just as they support board members.
  • We often work through a board process of reaching a common understanding of issues, dealing with options, and then choosing one. Once decisions are made, it is important that board members support the decision of the body even if an individual initially voted against it. This type of unity and consensus on a final decision is imperative.

  • We are committed to incorporating the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do as a board and support fully Belonging at Yale.
  • We work to challenge the biases we encounter, promote a diverse body of leaders from among our alumni, and operate consistent with the YAA values and mission.

  • We are considerate and flexible in our interactions with board members, YAA staff, and Yale administrators.
  • We encourage diversity of ideas. We will acknowledge and expand on ideas without talking over others or interrupting.
  • We recognize that there may be difficult issues to be discussed from time to time and we commit to maintaining respectful behavior. When we provide feedback or opinions, we do so in a manner that is constructive and respectful of the lived experiences of our fellow members.
  • We value openness in board and committee discussions.
  • We serve as models for the alumni community in our own Yale-related social media engagement by being courteous and positive. We respect the social media preferences of other board members in terms of privacy and participation.
  • We manage our technology when in meetings to maximize our own participation and minimize activities that could distract from board business and our interactions.

  • We honor the confidentiality of sensitive or private information that is part of our work on the board.
  • We recognize that this sensitive information may concern each other, other alumni, and university matters. We do not share this information outside the relevant group or seek to learn information to which we should not have access.
  • We will be particularly attuned to what information is shared in writing. This is especially true of emails since these are essentially public information and are easily forwarded. Such a breach in confidentiality could damage YAA’s or Yale’s reputation.

  • We welcome new ideas from all corners of the alumni community.
  • We commit to create open dialogue about how to incorporate new initiatives in the context of current priorities and resource restraints and promote use of the Guidelines for Volunteer-Led Events, Initiatives & Programs.
  • We agree to not let past constraints confine our creativity.

  • We strive to be transparent regarding board and committee operations, decision making, and communications in order to build trust among board members and Yale alumni at large.
  • We commit to avoid hidden agendas and not to undermine YAA and university leadership via whisper campaigns or negative communications.

  • We represent the highest standards of alumni engagement in our service as members of this board and strive for leadership behavior that reflects positively on all elements of the YAA and the university.
  • We plan for future committee leadership roles and possible board officer positions while contributing our time and energy to the ongoing work of the board.
  • We are active in the leadership pipeline process for alumni university leadership and recognition programs. We connect, engage, and nominate candidates for at-large delegates, YAA board, alumni fellow, board excellence awards, Yale Medal, and other programs as requested.

Board Expectations

Info Accordions

  • Be active. This is a working board and the three-year term will go quickly! Attend all scheduled in-person activities and stay until the meetings conclude. This includes online meetings, dinners, relevant committee meetings, board plenary sessions, and ceremonial occasions such as the Yale Medal dinner and Lamar Awards luncheon. We recognize for the 2020-2021 year many of our meetings will be conducted via Zoom.
  • Be present. Use technology in support of board or committee work and attend to personal and business matters outside of the meeting space.
  • Be an engaged and enthusiastic participant in board committee work, including video or conference calls between in-person meetings. Volunteer for committee tasks and homework.
  • Be service-oriented. Participate in action requests from all committees, regardless of our individual committee assignments.

  • Be aware that the Board of Governors is an advisory rather than fiduciary body and work within that understanding. Read board governing documents to understand the scope, direction, and goals of the board.
  • Be prepared. Complete relevant homework before meetings. Read minutes, reports, and agendas in advance. Agenda, reports and items for information are regularly uploaded into Box and should be reviewed on a regular basis.
  • Be responsive. Respond promptly to invitations and actionable emails. Review and understand travel and hotel reimbursement and gift recognition policies.
  • Committee chairs: provide agendas and minutes well ahead of meetings so they can be posted on the board shared site and read by committee members. Develop tangible action items and measurable ways to determine successful completion of goals.

  • Be exemplary as an active role model and Yale ambassador in your local community and relevant Yale networks. Join your regional Yale club/association; participate in your Yale College class or graduation or professional school alumni association; join a shared interest/identity group – or initiate one.
  • Be a promoter and participate actively in Yale events and programs on campus and virtually, including use of social media.
  • Be aware that you should not use your role as board members to advance a professional or personal agenda.
  • Be a superior volunteer seeking ways to lead and serve Yale alumni. Provide leadership at the annual YAA Assembly in the fall by attending the full program and participating actively. Commit to be a mentor to new delegates at the YAA Assembly.
  • Be a participant in service programming. Join YAA signature volunteer service programs – Careers, Life, and Yale; Yale Day of Service; Yale alumni service programs, and others.

Last revised: July 2020