Volunteer Advised – Staff Managed Definition

What Is A Volunteer Advised ‐ Staff Managed (VA‐SM) Team?
A VA‐SM Team is a group of volunteers and staff working together toward a common goal and in an efficient manner, where the volunteers provide ideas, content, creativity, and touch‐points to the speaking industry and profession and where the staff use their expertise and talents to implement the suggestions of the volunteers (all of which, in turn, are used to shape key programming elements).

On a VA‐SM Team, volunteers and staff advise each other about how to manage strategic roadblocks and challenges that might stall the group’s initiatives or work. For example: In the creation of a curriculum for the National Speakers Academy, a group of volunteers comes together to provide their input and ideas from their knowledge and experience of the speaking profession and meetings industry. Through their connection to thought leaders, they work with the staff to create strong, curated content.

How Are The Volunteers and Staff Organized? Who Leads Them?
Volunteers and staff are assigned to an advisory committee based on their expertise, interests, and experiences.

Each advisory committee is led by an individual who is appointed by the President of NSA. This appointed individual serves as the Chair of his/her respective advisory committee. The Chair leads and also serves as part of the advisory committee but not of an event or publication itself.

For example: In the creation of an NSA event, an advisory committee (lead by its committee chair) comes together to identify the content goals for the event, identify presenters to meet those goals, and set the high‐level expectations for the overall event to provide relevance and value for the working professional speaker.

Who Can Serve On A VA‐SM Team?
All volunteers must be NSA members and must be in good standing. All staff must be employees or contract employees of NSA. Appointments are typically based on past involvement and participation in NSA.

What Is The Time Commitment?
Each advisory committee is encouraged to meet as often as necessary to achieve their goals. As such, each advisory committee typically meets three to four times throughout the year and most often via conference calls.

Volunteers can serve on an advisory committee for a two‐three year cycle, depending on the specific committee. Terms do not automatically renew and volunteers can serve on up to two (2) committees if not currently an appointed Presidential chair.

What Are Some Of The Other Responsibilities Of A VA‐SM Team?
Service on an advisory committee is strictly on a volunteer basis, with all incurred costs being the responsibility of each committee member.

  • Each volunteer must commit to attending conference calls/meetings of their respective committee. Failure to attend may result in loss of committee appointment.
  • Volunteers must complete tasks/projects for which they volunteered and/or were assigned.
  • Volunteers must show their support by participating in the programs that are part of their committee.