The CENTR Board of Directors met in Ljubljana on 11 and 12 May for a strategic offsite meeting. The focus of the meeting was to review the 2022 strategic and longer-term financial plan, and to consider various strategic questions such as CENTR’s external engagement, engagement within the membership and CENTR’s vision and mission statements. For part of the meeting, the Board was also joined by CENTR staff, who delved into some concrete questions with strategic implications in their areas of expertise.
The Chair of the Board, Barbara Povše, reflected on this first in-person Board off-site since 2019, adding that it demonstrated the efficiency and huge value of personal interaction.
During the course of the meeting, the Board discussed the following points.
After reviewing the 2022 strategic plan, the Board concluded that the execution of the plan is on track with the exception of encouraging registrar engagement. They also suggested adding clear KPIs to future strategic plans.
The Board undertook a PESTL analysis, doing a 360° environmental scan of factors that are likely to impact CENTR directly or indirectly. Some of the key issues that came up include:
- Geopolitical events having an impact on CENTR’s membership;
- The impact of inflation and indexation on CENTR’s budget;
- Employment market conditions, in particular for tech profiles;
- The increasing complexity of the DNS and consolidation in the services market;
- Compliance issues for both CENTR and its members.
- The secretariat has been tasked to develop mitigation strategies for these factors and include them in the 2023 strategic plan.
The Board reviewed CENTR’s current mission and vision, which were adopted in 2002, and drafted new statements that will be presented to the membership during a webinar this summer in order to get members’ input well in advance of the GA, when members will ask to vote on the statements.
The Board discussed CENTR’s engagement with external organisations, and namely the Secretariat’s broad participation. They assessed how meaningful participation requires focus in an ever-expanding number of environments and initiatives, and suggested that the Secretariat should draft a focused plan that would be presented to the GA. The plan will identify the organisations that the secretariat actively engages in and those that CENTR reports from. The Board also invites members who do attend external meetings to commit to sharing their observations on a regular basis with the CENTR community.
The CENTR staff offered some snapshots on the following topics:
- CENTR’s Policy advocacy strategy;
- The future of CENTR’s work environment;
- Working group engagement;
- CENTR EU Policy Factsheets.
The Board discussed CENTR members’ engagement, developing the following action plan to reinvigorate current projects:
- A minimum of two people will lead each project;
- CEOs of the project leads will meet regularly to discuss progress;
- In addition to CENTR’s financial commitment, members will be invited to help pay for external support and expertise;
- Timelines of projects should be reduced to a minimum (months instead of years);
- The Board will assign a Board Member to each project to help out and contribute.
- The Board also suggested reaching out to members who are less active in order to ensure they benefit optimally from their CENTR membership. They noted that working group engagement might have been affected by the two years of online meetings and encouraged members to actively contribute to the agenda and meetings of the working groups.
The Board will invite the working group Chairs and Vice-Chairs (CVCs) to their next meeting and ask them how CENTR can support the groups even better in order to increase members’ active participation.
In terms of financial planning, the Board reviewed the long-term plan and noted that due to the current exceptional financial circumstances - namely the war in Ukraine and inflation - it will be necessary to closely monitor the situation and potentially make adjustments.
The potential impacts include expense management, the evolution of the development fund, changes to membership fees, and the expected evolution of remuneration according to Belgian employment law. According to the information available at this point in time, a membership fee increase of 5% in 2023 might be needed to ensure CENTR’s financial long-term stability. The Board will organise a webinar in the summer to facilitate an exchange with interested members, after which they will reassess the situation prior to the GA and suggest mitigation measures.
The Board would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the CVCs for all their work, dedication and constant energy in leading the working groups, as well as all contributors and members who continue to share their knowledge and insights.
The Board would like to recognise the excellent work by the CENTR Secretariat. Despite being a small group, the team continues to provide a great deal of support in the areas of logistical, administrative and policy support.
Please note that the following webinars will be organised for members over the summer:
- Mission and vision: Tuesday, July 12th, 15.30 CEST
- Financial planning: Thursday, July 14th, 14.00 CEST
- External engagement: Tuesday, August 23, 14.00 CEST