Issue 283: Sustainability In Action

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President’s Report

Catherine Ouellet-Martin, BCMA President

The term sustainability is ever present in our lives. Whether we refer to economic, social or environmental sustainability, the concept is crucial to our success and at a very basic level, our survival as a society. It allows us to meet our current needs without compromising our future capacity to do so.  In my previous update, I promised to use this forum to open a window on the activities of BCMA’s Council and committees, so in the keeping with the theme of this issue, let’s take a look at how our work centers around sustainability.

It is not a coincidence that the committee responsible for overseeing the financial health of the organization is named “Financial Sustainability & Governance Committee”. To ensure the long-term viability of the BCMA and fulfill its mandate to our members now and into the future, our operations need to be financially sustainable, our governance practices need to be sound and our focus needs to be on further improving on the good work that is already being done. The committee reviews and regularly updates internal policies, works with staff, bookkeepers and accountants on the annual review engagement and revenue development plans, and provides valuable financial and legal expertise. After a much-needed refresh of the BCMA bylaws last year, our focus this year is on updating and formalizing internal HR policy documents and creating a comprehensive honorarium policy for speakers, presenters, and contributors that are the foundation of BCMA’s programming. The decisions made and the oversight provided by this committee strive to support our Executive Director and his team in providing the best services to the membership.

From the smallest museum to the largest cultural institutions in British Columbia, sustainability in our sector largely depends on strong leadership and internal mechanisms, such as committees. They sustain and support our activities so we have the capacity to realize the mission and vision of our organizations.  It does take time, energy and perseverance to establish these mechanisms and keep them running smoothly, but it is well worth the effort as they are the building blocks of a successful organization.

Ultimately, the BCMA is here to promote and support the sustainability of our sector. By advocating for our membership, providing professional development activities, supporting decolonization, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, and offering networking opportunities, the BCMA is dedicated to making our sector the best it can be. This work ensures that we have the capacity to maintain a strong, healthy cultural heritage community that contributes to the well-being of society overall. Our sector is one of collaboration, partnership and by consequence, capacity building. The BCMA facilitates this process and provides a rallying point, but sustainability of the sector is assured by the passion, dedication and innovation of our membership and the work performed in museums, galleries and cultural institutions across the province.  In this issue, I invite you to discover how your colleagues are showing sustainability in their programs, exhibits, operations, and governance.