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Explaining NAVTA’s Nominating Process

There have been questions on social media regarding the process by which individuals get nominated for NAVTA’s Board of Directors. Before I explain the NAVTA nominating process, it is important to note that NAVTA takes responsibility for – and deeply and sincerely apologizes for – the confusion and lack of understanding among members about this process. We should have done a better job communicating to everyone how the process was going to work. For instance, one of the simplest things we could have done was call the candidate submission form a “Candidate Consideration Form,” rather than a “Candidate Nomination Form” so that we did not mistakenly create the assumption that everyone who submits a form would automatically be nominated. And that leads to the first point about the process.

It is not unusual, uncommon, or out of line for a Nominating Committee to screen and qualify candidates for board positions. It is, in fact, standard practice for Nominating Committees, even in the veterinary world, to whittle down the list of candidates. For example, the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science notes in part that their “Nominations Committee (NC) annually nominates two qualified candidates for vice president-elect and, every third year, secretary/treasurer.” NAVTA’s bylaws, which were recently revised with an overwhelming 91% approval, require the Nominating Committee only to select at least one candidate for each open seat. The NAVTA Nominating Committee may select more than one candidate, but it is clear that the committee has the ability and authority to eliminate candidates, as is common in other associations. That is why when we confirmed each person’s information with them, we told them very clearly, “The Nominating Committee is charged with considering all nominations and submitting at least one name for each open board seat, so there is a possibility that the Nominating Committee selects other candidates for placement on the ballot.”

Next, when considering a list of potential board candidates, the nominating committee must assess how well each candidate aligns with the organization’s mission and objectives. This is why it is preferred that the Nominating Committee be chaired by the Immediate Past President and have a current Board member participate as a committee member, since those individuals are most familiar with the Association’s mission, objectives, and current and future programs. See Guidelines for a Nonprofit Nominating Committee – BoardEffect.

In addition to those aspects, the NAVTA Nominating Committee also looked for specific requirements, such as leadership experience and work on other association boards. The committee also considered such important aspects as potential conflicts of interest and adherence to NAVTA’s code of conduct and ethical standards. In addition, the committee considered NAVTA’s current board makeup and considered DEI issues.

The committee’s process was straight-forward and honest. Each committee member suggested and spoke about their top candidates. When there was unanimous agreement on a candidate, the candidate was put in the “yes” category. When there was disagreement, the committee engaged in open, honest, and frank conversation. Only upon unanimous agreement of the committee members was someone excluded from consideration. The committee followed this process through three separate rounds of discussion until they all agreed upon all of the names on the ballot. Those not chosen to be on the ballot were invited to participate in several NAVTA committees, so that we can keep them involved and engaged. We have already heard from most of these individuals who are looking forward to helping NAVTA in ways other than being on the board.

I hope this explanation fills in any gaps you may have had in understanding the nominating process. If you have questions, please send me an email at

Phil Russo
Executive Director