Friday, March 14, 2008

The bloguette of Mr BSA

The stuttering blogoshere has just undergone a phase transition: Norbert Liekfeldt, CEO of the British Stammering Association, has a blog where he talks about his activities: see here. (I have also put a link in my blog links.) The blog will be a good way for BSA members to see what's going on within the BSA on a day-to-day basis. But of course there will also be the delicate business that will not find its way onto the blog. Or can you imagine Norbert writing: "Today, I again had an annoying call from one of our BSA members. We need to do something about him." or "Today, we finally got rid of XY whom we recruited last year. He was a complete disaster and only cost us money. I need to find a way to exclude trustees from selecting staff in the future. And I still have to write a note for the website, and I am thinking of writing something like >XY has left the BSA to pursue his career at another charity. We thank X for his valuable contribution to the BSA.<" (No allusion intended to any real BSA event from the past year!)

In an email to TheStutteringBrain, Norbert Liekfeldt writes: "Just a bloguette.... Say something nice!" So here it is. Norbert is really Mr BSA, the glue of the BSA. He has been leading the day-to-day business for many years. Trustees (like myself) have come and gone, members have come and gone, financial crises have come and gone, staff members have come and gone, but Norbert is still there, a bit like the Cheops pyramid. So he certainly deserves credit for inducing stability to the BSA. Without Norbert, the BSA might not exist anymore. If there is one failure that I see, then it is the precarious financial situation of the BSA which has persisted for many years. The BSA is never far from the brick despite relatively conservative spending. Norbert but also the trustees (former and current) and especially the last and current BSA chairs have completely failed to recruit and keep wealthy and influential donors. If you could be one, call the BSA!


Anonymous said...

Tom - I'd be interested to read information on the NSA - the National Stuttering Association - over here in the other side of the Big Pond. Let us know if you have any inside information or insight into the operations or policies of that organization.

For my own part, I have a certain negative bias toward them because for many years they've been scheduling their June convention on the same weekend as Gay Pride, which is a major gay event/holiday throughout the country. This forces gay stutterers into an annoying choice (and doubly annoying because it shouldn't be necessary) between the two communities they care about.

This is like scheduling the a convention on Yom Kippur, or Easter. Do you think that that would ever be allowed to happen? Any organization that attempted it would quickly acknowledge it as an embarrassing oversight, and would immediately apologize and reschedule,

But for gays, no apology, and no . Ever. It is a permanent conflict.

If there is something special for NSA about that one weekend, then they ought at least to vary the date from year to year so that the gay members would be only partly excluded, not completely excluded.

But there have been many approaches to the NSA on this issue over the years, and they have never been willing to compromise.

The unhappy result is that majority of gay NSA members are forced out of this main annual NSA community support event, and the NSA is deprived of one of its most significant and enthusiastic constituencies.

The uncompromising, unyielding position of the NSA is unfortunate and offensive.

Adrian said...

Ora, you may want to post this to the NSA Conference discussion group.

Perhaps if more NSA members understand this is happening they will put more pressure on the leadership to change.