New Executive Director named for MAPS
The McMaster Association of Part-time Students (MAPS) Executive Director's seat is occupied once again – but not by Sam Minniti. His replacement, Kyle Johansen, is a corporate crisis professional who has been brought in to pick up the pieces and get the organization back on its feet. His mandate is simple: to expedite the implementation of solid governance, operational transparency and financial accountability. It's the execution that's going to be complex.
“The current board – who are exceptionally dedicated individuals – were put in the difficult position of learning about a problem while simultaneously trying to solve it,” Johansen explained. “My objective is to look at what was missing that allowed the problems to occur, and using my experience and current best practice evidence, create a new approach that attends to the original issues, and proactively protects the organization going forward.”
In light of the allegations of financial mismanagement of MAPS, the mandate of financial accountability is perhaps the most pressing. Johansen addressed two major goals in terms of addressing this issue. He emphasized how important it is “that the reporting of quarterly and annual financial statements should be intuitive to a non-finance person and show how money was spent in relation to the organization’s mandate.”
He also identified the second element of financial accountability as “placing reasonable limits on any one person’s authority to spend money, as well as implementing changes that would require increasing support by the board – and in some cases the membership – for significant spending decisions.” This comes as no surprise following the allegations regarding personal spending of Association funds that MAPS came under fire for earlier this year.
One project that will directly affect student experience is Johansen's aim to connect the organization with the part-time students that feel alienated from it. “The Board and I are looking at ways to increase the level of engagement with part-time students. My work with local health integration networks showed me how necessary it is to understand the issues and concerns of those you serve,” Johansen said. “And as much as I will enjoy helping the Board make MAPS a leader in student government best practices, I will get the most satisfaction from knowing that MAPS will continue for another 35 years as a valuable, relevant, and responsive advocate.”
Johansen, a Mac alumnus, has been hired on to achieve these goals during a three-month temporary term. Any potential extension to Johansen's contract would be limited to getting the organization back on track, not leading it long-term.
It remains to be seen who the permanent face of MAPS will be. As Johansen explained, “My skills and experience are best suited to bringing organizations into alignment with members’ expectations, public policy requirements, and building the mechanisms that will ensure the organization maintains that alignment. Whoever assumes the permanent role of Executive Director will be responsible for using those mechanisms and being accountable based on them. To use an analogy… I am really good at building the ship, but not very interested in sailing it.”