The American Botanical Council’s annual Board of Trustees meeting was held September 11-13 at ABC’s Austin, Texas, headquarters. Attending were Michael J. Balick, PhD, Peggy Brevoort (president), James A. Duke, PhD, Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD, Steven Foster (vice president), Fredi Kronenberg, PhD (secretary), and Morris Shriftman (treasurer). The trustees participated with staff in an intense working weekend. They conducted an update and clarification of the underlying values of ABC in preparation of establishing long and short range strategic plans. Each year ABC staff provides the trustees with detailed goals for the coming year. Subsequent to the values and strategic planning process, the trustees evaluated these goals and provided guidance on clarifying and prioritizing them. Included in the outcome were five critical areas of focus for the next fiscal year: HerbalGram, Safety Assessment Program (formerly called the Safety Labeling Program), Internet educational content services, organizational development, and educational activities and marketing. Secondary focuses included HerbClip and media relations.
In addition, the trustees made a strong commitment to continue and expand their role in governing and determining the direction of ABC. The Board of Trustees plans to meet in person again later this year, in addition to participating in telephone meetings.
Trustees are significantly diverse in their experience and each of them is recognized as being accomplished in his or her field. The range of experience for board members includes two of the most internationally well-respected authors in economic botany and ethnobotany, an internationally respected leader in academic pharmacognosy, a leading researcher in complementary and alternative medicine practices in women’s health, a former Food and Drug Administration medical officer, a respected herbal author and photographer, and experienced natural product industry professionals.
ABC is fortunate to have a group of Trustees with this range of experience and level of participation in the governance of the organization. The past few years have been characterized by an annual onsite meeting at ABC, carefully planned teleconference meetings quarterly, and regular communications between meetings. As evidenced by the recent onsite meeting, ABC’s Board of Trustees have full knowledge about the inner workings of the organization and work closely with staff to ensure that ABC meets its mission, goals, and financial obligations.