Augsburg Fortress
One Mission Blog - reflections on the ministry of publishing

Who Do You Know? AF Board Nominees Search

August 11th, 2015 by Beth A. Lewis

Is Augsburg Fortress a ministry? Absolutely!

Is Augsburg Fortress a business? Absolutely!

In keeping with this duality, we need people to serve on the Augsburg Fortress Board of Trustees who have the backgrounds, skills and experience that will assist us in making strategic decisions for Augsburg Fortress, Fortress Press and sparkhouseWe need your help in identifying possible nominees for election to the Augsburg Fortress Board of Trustees at the ELCA’s August 2016 Churchwide Assembly.

As you might imagine, the world of publishing is changing rapidly, so we need board members who can help us think strategically and be nimble in this industry. Our Board Development committee has reviewed the skills and expertise of current board members and identified areas that we need going forward.

Please note that we don’t expect any one person to have all of these!

Expertise, Background & Skills we need:

  • Strategic financial management expertise
  • Strategic information technology expertise
  • Strategic Software as a Service/Web-based product expertise
  • Strategic for-profit business experience
  • For-profit corporate board experience

Characteristics of a good board member:

  • Faithfulness
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Commitment to AF’s mission
  • Sense of humor
  • Openness and honesty
  • Ability to ask constructive questions
  • Calmness
  • Passion
  • Advocacy
  • Self-assurance
  • Collaborative

What is required of an AF Board member? 

Terms on the AF Board of Trustees are for 3 years, but are renewable for up to a total of three, 3-year terms.  New members elected in August 2016 will serve from the October 2016 board meeting until the August 2019 Churchwide Assembly, with the possibility of re-election. Each member’s nomination for re-election is based upon both the member’s and the board’s discernment; all elections are made by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly.  When first elected, we ask that nominees be prepared to serve for a minimum of six years. We ask for this commitment to limit turnover so that the board has a mix of new and experienced members.

We have two in-person meetings per year in Minneapolis, plus we have one to three special webinar meetings per year. These are unpaid, volunteer positions, but we do pay board members’ travel expenses. Unlike most not-for-profit/church organizations, we do not have an expectation for AF Board members to donate money to our ministry/business.

AF Board Demographic Requirements:

To be on the AF Board, nominees must be a member of an ELCA congregation (with the exception of up to two people who may come from Full Communion Partner denominations) and we must follow certain demographic guidelines.

For the August 2016 nominees, the demographic requirements are:

  • A member of an ELCA congregation.
  • Two lay people with at least one or both being female.
  • Because these are contested elections, we need to have two “matched sets,” (e. two lay females running against one another for the same slot). Current members who are nominated for re-election will not be paired in subsequent elections, although it is always possible for additional candidates to be nominated from the floor of the Churchwide Assembly.
  • We also need to have a minimum of 10% of our 11-15 member board be people of color, or whose first language is not English. Ideally, one or two of these slate pairs (both nominees) will fit this category.
  • The Board is made up of people representing a range of geographic locations (determined by where the congregation to which they belong is located, not their home or business address). There is a requirement that we have no more than two Board members per any one synod. There is only one synod from which we already have two board members, SW California (2B). For now, we can have nominees from any of the other 64 ELCA synods.

In addition, we need two nominations for each category (i.e. two lay females, with expertise in strategic financial management, who would run against one another for election by the Churchwide Assembly).


While the elections won’t happen until August 2016, this is a long process.  The timeline is as follows:

  • Between now & December 1:  We need to identify as many nominees as possible that fit both the background/skills and demographic criteria noted above.
  • Early December:  The AF Board Development committee will review the names.  Each person to be considered will be contacted for a brief conversation to learn more about them, their level of interest in serving on the AF Board, and to answer any questions the prospective nominee might have about the role.
  • January 2016:  We will send two “slates” of names (2 names for each open position) to the ELCA Office of the Secretary.
  • February-April 2016:  The Office of the Secretary will convene the ELCA nominating committee to review our suggestions, and others they receive, and decide on the final nominations to be put forward to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly.
  • April-May 2016:  Nominees will be notified that their names are going forward to the Churchwide Assembly.
  • August 2016:  Voting members at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly will elect the next class to our Board (and other Boards, ELCA Church Council, etc.).
  • Late August 2016:  Nominees will be notified whether or not they were elected to the AF Board.

This is where we need your help. 

Who do you know that might fit into one or more of these categories, and that you think would be an effective AF Board of Trustees member? If you can think of anyone (or several people), please send your suggestions to me at the email address below even if you aren’t 100% sure that they would be an exact fit.

Remember, this is a lengthy process so the sooner you can send your suggestions to me, the better!  Tell me whatever you can about the person related to the criteria above.  And, please include the person’s email address and/or phone number.  If you’d like to contact them first to see if they are interested in exploring this opportunity to serve, that’s fine, but it isn’t a requirement.

Thanks for your help!



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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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