Leader Orientation Guide

NSPE Leader Orientation Guide (PDF)
Prepared by the NSPE Leadership Development Task Force

Leader Orientation Presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint file: 4 MB)


The outline follows the sequence of events for such training, from registration through wrap-up. The following topics are covered:

One of the three NSPE goals is to provide Value to Members, with the further objective of providing Leadership, Outreach, and Management Training Opportunities. The NSPE Leader Development Task Force has created this NSPE Leader Orientation Guide in response to this commitment.

The NSPE Leader Orientation Guide is to be used as a template for constructing either a full-day or a half-day orientation and skills training for leaders of a state society, any of its chapters or one or interest groups.

A description of each of these topics is provided, and success tips are provided along the way. Every effort has been made to make this template as generic as possible, because each state society has different needs, calendars, and levels of leadership development. As such, the contents of the template and sequence of topics can be adapted as required.


The following supplemental material, which leaders will find useful in running their societies, is provided in appendices.

  • Parliamentary Procedure
  • Responsibilities of a Governing Body
  • Liability Insurance

Being a Leader in the PE Society

Whether at the national, state, or local level, a PE Society is an association of its members that exists to serve the needs of the members and the engineering profession. To be a leader at any level in this organization is a key role. This reference is intended to assist elected and appointed leaders become better equipped to discharge their responsibilities while enhancing the value to each member for belonging to the organization.

Experts in the field of association management tell us that the changes in today’s society and life styles have made it more challenging for a leader to be successful in conducting the affairs of the organization.

As a leader, your colleagues expect you to perform these fundamental functions:

  • Provide direction for the organization;
  • Instill confidence that you have the best interests of the members in mind and that the activities of the organization will benefit them;
  • Secure alignment for the goals to be pursued;
  • Motivate action to get involved and to achieve targeted results;
  • Lead meetings effectively and politely; and
  • Conduct yourself in the highest ethical manner .

Your specific challenges—especially as the presiding officer—involve these factors:

  • Less available time for volunteers to participate
  • Increasing expectations by your members
  • Demand to use association resources more strategically
  • Greater reliance on committees, task forces, etc. to get things done

The association leadership experts suggest there are new rules for working with members:

  • Value their time
  • Value their contribution
  • Understand the new loyalty equation, i.e., value received…not tradition

NSPE, for many years, has conducted an orientation program for new national and state leaders. However, the number of attendees was always limited by budgetary and scheduling considerations. An obvious need has been to package that material in an effective way to make it available to all PE Society leaders. This Leader Orientation Guide is the means to accomplish this objective. Much of the material is based on that NSPE course and includes a video reference provided by Jack Schlegel, CAE, a former consultant to NSPE for that training, who has given permission for its use.  

There is no single, right way to be a society leader. Each individual has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. You need to find out—as quickly as possible in your new role—what works for you in dealing with your constituents. Learn from your successes…and, equally important, your failures.

Stephen Covey, a recognized expert in this field has promulgated seven principles of leadership. One, in particular, should guide your interactions with your members: Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. More simply stated, open your ears before you open your mouth.

Do the right things…then do things right!

This simple principle differentiates a pair of basic terms relating to organizations: leadership and management. There is a clear difference between the two!

  • Leadership can be defined as one’s vision of what needs to be done accompanied by a capability to communicate that vision to those who can make it happen and inspire them to do so.
  • Management relates to a collection of important skills to effect the results defined in the vision of the leader.

An individual may be both a capable leader and a skilled manager. However, the training to be a capable manager does not guarantee one’s ability to be an effective leader.

Effective leadership means

  • Development of vision and strategies
  • Alignment of people with the strategies
  • Empower individuals to make it happen

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It is highly recommended that the State Society’s vision, mission and goals be aligned with those in NSPE’s strategic plan for, which is as follows:  


NSPE is the recognized voice and advocate of licensed Professional Engineers.  


NSPE, in partnership with State Societies, is the organization of licensed Professional Engineers (PEs) and Engineering Interns (EIs). Through education, licensure advocacy, leadership training, multi-disciplinary networking, and outreach, NSPE enhances the image of its members and their ability to ethically and professionally practice engineering.


NSPE values:

  1. Protection of the public welfare above all other considerations
  2. Ethical and competent practice of engineering
  3. Innovation through the creative application of math, science and engineering
  4. The P.E. license as the highest standard of professionalism in engineering.
  5. Continuous learning for professional growth
  6. Growth in the number of licensed Professional Engineers
  7. Teamwork, unity and fellowship of all PEs across all disciplines
  8. Commitment to the future of the licensed Professional Engineer


NSPE will:

  1. Foster Chapter-State-National partnerships to seamlessly deliver a core level of service to every member.
  2. Deliver value to our members that enhance their competence and ability to practice as a Professional Engineer.
  3. Increase membership to serve and represent the collective interests of all licensed Professional Engineers and Engineering Interns.
  4. Advocate U.S. public policy pertaining to engineering matters in the interest of enhancing public health, safety, and welfare.

Strategies and Objectives  

State-National Partnerships (Goal 1)  

  1. Foster professional staff and volunteer State-National relations. Strengthen the ability of the organization at each Chapter, State and the National level to deliver member benefits.
  2. Share association management knowledge, resources, staff and best practices.
  3. Share resources, expertise and experience concerning legislative and regulatory affairs affecting the licensed practice of Professional Engineering.
  4. Format products and services for delivery at all levels of NSPE (Chapter, State and National) to meet member needs.

Value to Members (Goal 2)  

  1. Promote and protect the licensed practice of Professional Engineering in partnership with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and each State Licensing Board.
  2. Provide training and opportunities for mentoring, leadership, public outreach, and management.
  3. Provide networking opportunities for PEs/EIs across disciplines and within interest areas.
  4. Provide a variety of engineering education opportunities, for growth in both professional and technical competency.
  5. Provide assistance to EI members to acquire the PE license.
  6. Serve as the information resource for members on all PE issues.
  7. Promote ethical practice and provide ethics training to our members.
  8. Increase public awareness of the important contributions made by Professional Engineers to strengthen the profession and standing of PEs.
  9. Provide new and better products and services that directly benefit the individual member as well as the profession.
  10. Constantly improve the quality of service delivered at each Chapter-State-National level of NSPE.

Membership Growth (Goal 3)  

  1. Market and promote membership through a Chapter-State-National partnership.
  2. Improve the visibility and promote the importance of membership in each level of the Chapter-State-National organization.
  3. Expand and improve the Enterprise Membership Program.
  4. Promote the creation and growth of virtual chapters and virtual interest groups.
  5. Effectively communicate and promote member benefits.
  6. Develop strategies to attract young engineers and improve outreach to engineering colleges and universities.
  7. Create an alliance with NCEES to leverage our common interests and objectives. Expand to other organizations with common goals.

 Expected Outcomes (Metrics)

  1. Membership growth in every State Society and NSPE.
  2. Improved membership retention.
  3. Growth in the Enterprise membership program.
  4. Growth in the membership of young engineers.
  5. Effective Chapter-State-National partnerships in every State.
  6. Strong and active Chapter-State-National organizations.
  7. Increased member value with expanded contact at the Chapter-State-National levels.

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National Society Governance and Leadership

The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) is an incorporated, not-for-profit professional association dedicated to the promotion and protection of the licensed professional practice of engineering as a vital social and economic influence to the country. In partnership with its affiliated State Societies and Chapters, the purpose of NSPE shall be the advancement and protection of the public health and welfare and the promotion of the professional, ethical, social, and economic interests of its members.

House of Delegates

The House of Delegates is the primary governing body of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Members of the House of Delegates include voting members of NSPE’s Board of Directors; representative(s) of one or more of the Interest Groups (i. e., Practice Divisions) and one member representative from each of NSPE’s 53 State Societies whose votes are weighted based upon the number of NSPE members within each State Society. The House of Delegates convenes annually each summer at NSPE’s annual convention. It has the ongoing responsibility to control the Professional Policies and strategic plan under which NSPE operates. The House of Delegates also has the sole authority to amend the bylaws and elect the NSPE officers and Board of Directors.

NSPE Officers and Directors

The President-Elect designee of NSPE is elected annually and the Treasurer biannually by the House of Delegates. There are four officers of the Society: President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and Immediate Past President. In addition to the four elected officers, the Board of Directors annually appoints the Secretary.

A Board of Directors, elected by the House of Delegates, determines all questions about established policy and administers the affairs of the Society. The Board of Directors consists of the NSPE Officers, the President of the State Society Executives Council, 10 directors, and the secretary (ex officio). The Board of Directors annually appoints the secretary.

NSPE Committees, Advisory Groups, and Task Forces

Committees, advisory groups and task forces execute the vast majority of NSPE actions. The number of these bodies fluctuates depending upon the strategic direction of the Society. Committees are bodies formed to address a critical need that is so vital to the mission and function of NSPE that it requires continuing existence throughout the foreseeable future. Task Forces are bodies formed to address specific needs of the programs and projects necessary to support the Strategic Plan and meet member needs, which sunset each year, subject to renewal by the incoming President. Advisory Groups are bodies that are expected to operate in an ongoing fashion to provide advice to the professional staff about particular areas of activities, e.g. communications, continuing education, public relations.

NSPE’s President may appoint an officer or other member to direct and supervise the efforts among various committees, advisory groups, and task forces. The members of these bodies shall take their positions upon the completion of the Annual Convention, or on July 1 st if an annual convention is not held.

A current list as of September 2006 is provided in Table 4.1. and 4.2. An up-to-date listing is available on the NSPE site.

Table 4.1 NSPE Committees and Task Forces Aligned with Goals

Supporting Goal 1: State-National Partnerships

Implementation Task Force

Metrics Task Force

Supporting Goal 2: Value to Members

Alliance Task Force

Board of Ethical Revue

Council of NSPE Fellows Executive Committee
( These groups also support Goal 3. )

Communications Task Force

Continuing Education Task Force

Convention & Meetings Development Task Force

Critical Infrastructure/Homeland Security Task Force

Diversity Task Force

Honors Award Task Force 1

Interest Group Task Force

Leadership Development Task Force

Legislative Education Fund Board

Legislative & Government Affairs Committee

Legislative & Government Affairs PAC
(PAC = Political Action Committee )

Licensure & Qualifications for Practice Committee

Mentoring Task Force

National Academy Task Force

Overruling Engineering Judgment Task Force

Products & Services Task Force

Public Relations Advisory Group

Supporting Goal 3: Membership Growth

Membership Committee

Student Programs Evaluation Task Force

Virtual Chapters Task Force

Young Engineers Advisory Council

Table 4.2 NSPE Operating Boards, Standing Committees, and Task Forces not Aligned with Specific Goals

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Audit Review Task Force

Budget Committee

Candidate Screening Committee

Constitution & Bylaws Committee

Educational Foundation Board of Trustees

Finance Committee

Implementation Task Force

Metrics Task Force

MATHCOUNTS Foundation Board of Directors

National Engineers Week Foundation Board of Directors

NICET Board of Governors
(NICET is the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies)

Policy Review Task Force

Sponsorship Development Task Force

Technology Resource Advisory Group

Interest Groups

The current NSPE Bylaws that were officially adopted by the House of Delegates at its first Assembly in July 2006 provides for Interest Groups. A task force had been created to help define and provide guidelines for the creation and maintenance of Interest Groups.

The Definition of an Interest Group as promulgated by the task force is as follows:

“An Interest Group is a sustainable group of NSPE members with common professional interests that enhances the common mission, vision, and goals of NSPE. Interest Groups will enhance the communication among members in ways not already available. Interest Groups will be based on professional interests, not technical issues.”

NSPE Bylaw 21 stipulates that the five Practice Divisions that existed at the time of the adoption of the Bylaws “shall become Interest Groups.” That Bylaw further states, “No member shall be automatically assigned to an Interest Group.”

The current NSPE Interest Groups, as of July 2006, are:

  • Professional Engineers in Construction
  • Professional Engineers in Higher Education
  • Professional Engineers in Government
  • Professional Engineers in Industry
  • Professional Engineers in Private Practice

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State Society Governance, Officers and Directors Duties

NSPE's state societies are separately incorporated with full autonomy in all state and local matters. They become member state societies of NSPE upon their application for such status and upon their expressed willingness in writing to accept the provisions of the NSPE constitution. NSPE member state societies adopt their own constitution and/or bylaws; however, those are not to conflict with the bylaws of NSPE.

As part of the introduction to the state society, its guiding standards, such as vision, mission, and strategic plan, should be discussed.

State Society Governance

State societies are normally organized with a governing body comprised of its officers, chapter representatives (as appropriate) or representatives at large; representative(s) of one or more practice divisions; and possibly administrative and program committees. The number of committees and practice divisions may vary according to the scope of activity and resources available as may the number of officers.

State Society Officers & Directors

State society officers normally consist of a president, president-elect, vice presidents to assist in program management, secretary, treasurer, past president(s).


State society officers (and chairmen) should be selected on the basis of:

  • Leadership—Dependability; objectivity; understanding NSPE objectives, programs and policies; ability to organize, inspire, and act.
  • Diversity —While competence and interest are of prime importance in state offices, attempts should be made to secure a slate of officers that is representative geographically; varied in age, discipline, and area of practice; experienced in small and large chapters; and nonpolitical in character.
  • Continuity—To assure continuity, elected officers (as well as chairs) should be divided so that approximately half change at a given time.
  • Availability—A state officer must be fully aware of the demands that the position will make on his/her time and energy for chapter visits, conferences, correspondence, etc. A state officer position that is well executed demands a great deal of time, work, and dedication!

Specific job descriptions for each of these positions are found in the NSPE’s State and Chapter Leadership Handbook.

State Society Committees

Committees are the action arm of the state organization. The number and the responsibilities depend on the size of the state society and the scope of its program activities. Committees fall into two categories: administrative and program. Those with long term responsibilities are normally prescribed as standing committees in the bylaws. It is often desirable to appoint a task force to accomplish a specific goal or project beyond the normal scope of the standing committees. Typical state-level committees are listed below. Each state society should have committees to meet its needs.

Administrative Committees

  • Budget
  • Constitution and Bylaws
  • Council of Past Presidents
  • Nominating
  • Planning & Evaluation
  • Strategic Planning

Program Committees

  • Awards
  • Education
  • Ethical Practices
  • Legislative and Governmental Affairs
  • Licensing and Qualification to Practice
  • Membership
  • Member Services
  • Public Relations
  • Scholarships

The purpose for each of these committees, as well as, committee appointments, committee responsibilities and funding, chairman and member responsibilities are found in the NSPE’s State and Chapter Leadership Handbook

Organization leaders should be attentive to recruitment of member volunteers to serve in these various capacities, including succession planning for the officer ranks.

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Chapter Governance, Officers & Directors Duties

The chapter is the local unit and heart of NSPE that carries out many of the purposes and programs of its parent state and national society and facilitates member participation in issues and activities of special interest to engineers in the local chapter area. In some state societies that are relatively compact geographically or have limited membership, there may be no chapter level organization.

Chapters are sub-groups of state societies, which are separately incorporated entities affiliated with NSPE. Membership in NSPE automatically includes concurrent membership at the chapter, state and national levels.

Chapters have great freedom in determining their own programs and priorities. They participate in setting the goals and priorities for their state societies and carry out activities within the framework of state or national programs.

Chapter Governance

Chapters are usually organized with a governing body comprised of chapter officers, one or more past-presidents, chairpersons of active committees, and one or more directors/trustees. The board will typically also include one or more “State Directors/Trustees” who will represent the chapter’s interests as a member of the state society’s governing body. The size of the board and the number and size of committees are determined by the scope of chapter activity and by available resources.

A Chapter should have a governing document, usually subject to approval by the State Society. Model Chapter Bylaws are available on the NSPE website.

Chapter Officers & Directors

Chapter officers and directors/trustees are elected annually from the chapter membership and usually consist of these officers.

  • President
  • President-elect *
  • Vice President *
  • Secretary *
  • Treasurer *
  • State Director
  • Chapter Director(s)/Trustee(s)
  • Past President(s)

*NOTE: In a small chapter, the offices of Vice President and President-elect may be combined, as may the offices of Secretary and Treasurer.

When nominating officers, the following qualities should be taken into consideration:

  • Leadership – Dependability, objectivity, a willingness to learn and understand NSPE programs and policies, ability to organize, inspire and act.
  • Availability – A clear understanding of the demands that a particular position will make on his/her time and energy, and the availability to meet those demands.
  • Commitment – Willingness to devote personal time and energy to accomplish chapter goals.

Specific job descriptions for each of these officers and for directors are found in the NSPE State and Chapter Leadership Handbook.

Chapter Committees

Most of the chapter’s accomplishments are the work of its committees. A chapter should have administrative and program committees according to the size of its membership, geographic area, and resources. Not every chapter will have an active, standing committee in each of the areas described below. Moreover, many chapters find it desirable to appoint a task force to accomplish a specific goal or project beyond the normal scope of the standing committees.

Typical chapter-level committees are listed below. Small chapters may find it convenient to combine the functions of two or more committees into a single committee.

Chapter leaders should be aware of basic administrative functions such as budgeting and nominations of future leaders and should work to accomplish these functions in a way that works for their chapter. These administrative duties can be done by chapter leaders or delegated to chapter committees, if desired.

Administrative Committees

  • Audit*
  • Budget*
  • Constitution and Bylaws*
  • Nominating
  • Resolutions*

*Note: These functions can be performed by the chapter board or executive committee in small chapter.

Program Committees

  • Awards/Recognition
  • Community Action
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Education
  • Employment Practices
  • Engineers’ Week
  • Legislative and Governmental Affairs
  • Membership
  • Mentoring
  • Pre-college Guidance
  • Programs and Meetings
  • Public Relations
  • Licensing and Qualification to Practice
  • Scholarships

The purpose for each of these committee, as well as, committee organizations, committee membership, chairman and exchange programs are found in the NSPE’s State and Chapter Leadership Handbook.

Chapter Meetings

The chapter meeting is one of the most fundamental activities of our Society. The key to a growing state society is an active and responsive chapter organization where chapters are a part of the state society structuring. The pivotal point of an effective chapter is the success and enthusiasm generated by the chapter meeting program. Here, plans of the chapter are approved, reports of individual and committee accomplishments are received and members enjoy a degree of fellowship that is not elsewhere available to them on a profession-wide scale.

Chapter meetings fall into three categories (which are often combined): business, program and social. The business meeting is intended to address various operations of the chapter; the program meeting is designed to interest and educate members; and the social meeting involves members, families and friends in a dinner, dance, picnic, party or other social activity.

Discussion relating to:

  • Meeting site and Facilities
  • Organizing and Conducting Meetings
  • Parliamentary Information
  • Example Agenda
  • Meeting Ideas

Details are in the NSPE’s State and Chapter Leadership Handbook.

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Planning and Executing an Effective meeting

Planning the Meeting  

Review agenda(s) and minutes of previous meeting(s). Identify items that were not brought to closure and/or were committed to be covered in the meeting under consideration. This includes matters that had been tabled at prior meeting(s).

Draft the agenda for the upcoming meeting with sufficient time to be able to set it aside and come back to it for finalization. If the governance document(s) of the organization prescribe the order of business, ensure that you follow it. All matters – to the extent possible – should relate to the organization’s Strategic Plan. Other matters should be identified accordingly. [HINT: If there is to be discussion of a topic for which you anticipate significant angst, try to put such matter(s) in the middle of the agenda. This allows participants to ‘warm up’ before that discussion and to have a chance to relax somewhat before adjournment and part company in a positive frame of mind after the tough issue(s) have been handled.]

Finalize the agenda with sufficient time to distribute it to all anticipated participants for the meeting including known alternate attendees. Ensure that supporting documents, e.g. copy of the reports referenced, etc. are also available for distribution with the agenda. [ HINT: indicate which agenda items will have a separate document to which participants should refer. If not being sent with the agenda, indicate its former or planned delivery time – prior to the meeting.]

Ensure that other members of the body, who have responsibility for a particular agenda item, are aware of each other’s role and are prepared to handle each other’s responsibility. [HINT: List the names on the agenda of those who are expected to handle an agenda item.]

If the meeting is to be conducted ‘face-to-face’, ensure that the site of the meeting is arranged. This includes seating, audio-visual, refreshments, and other creature comforts as appropriate. [ HINT: If there is a reasonable chance that all expected attendees do not know each other, either tent cards and or name badges should be arranged in advance.]

If the meeting is to be conducted by phone—or some of the participants will be at one or more remote locations, ensure that appropriate facilities are arranged and that this information is conveyed to all affected participants in advance of the meeting – preferably with the agenda. [HINT: It is helpful to include a list of all expected participants. This can be done at the bottom of the agenda or on a separate attachment sent with the agenda and accompanying material.]

Executing a Face-to-face Meeting  

The presiding officer should ensure that all attendees have received the agenda and supporting documents. Extra copies should be available for those who may not have received the material or not brought it with them. [HINT: The presiding officer should make every attempt to greet the attendees as they arrive for the meeting. It has been shown that a personal greeting, especially a handshake, establishes a bond between the presiding officer and each participant and lessens stress during the meeting.]

Start and end the meeting on time. [HINT: If you must delay the start, explain the reason to those already in attendance, and, if it is apparent that the adjournment must be delayed, ask permission to extend the time.]

As the presiding officer, you are expected to keep the meeting moving and to make every attempt to stay on schedule. However, one must judge the mood of the body and not be overbearing in leading the meeting. [HINT: Facilitate…do not hold court.]

Some of the items on the agenda will not require a decision by the body. However, those that do should be handled in an orderly fashion. The most widely used approach is to follow parliamentary procedure and have each action item decided by having a motion, discussion, and orderly voting. [HINT: See Appendix A that explains about parliamentary procedure.]

While dealing with agenda items that require action by the body, make every attempt to engage all members of the body in the discussion – if time permits and especially if the topic is controversial. By so doing you have a better sense of the direction the body wishes to take and the ultimate decision when a vote is taken. Conversely, do NOT permit a small number of the body to monopolize the discussion. [HINT: It is perfectly permissible for you to suggest a time limit on the total discussion for a motion as well as limit the time each speaker may take. This is always subject to the body appealing the decision of the chair.]

Before you call for a vote on an action item, restate the motion and ensure that the ones who made and seconded the motion concur with your recapitulation. The presiding officer chooses how to conduct the vote, but the body can ask for a more format more formal than the one you employ. [HINT: The discussion by the body should have provided an indication of how divided it is on the issue and, therefore, guide you in the type of vote to be used.]

Most people, no matter how motivated to complete the business on the agenda, become restless after one to two hours. It is always good practice to plan for one or more brief intermissions to allow people to stretch, use the toilet, and handle other creature comfort items. [HINT: Taking a break during a heated debate may even prompt some ‘sidebar’ discussions that might aid in reaching consensus and decisions.]

During discussion of issues that prompt many to want to speak, record the order in which they wish to speak and acknowledge that order so members know that you will call upon them. [HINT: If there is a staff member present—or someone else not likely to be involved in the discussions—have that person seated next to you and have her/him record the names of those who seek to be recognized. This enables you to fully concentrate on the responsibilities of ensuring orderly discussion.]

Before adjournment, summarize the decisions that have been made and ensure alignment by the attendees with the outcomes. Also review the follow-up action that is required and by whom with due date(s), and thank the attendees for participating.

Executing a Meeting With Remote Participants

The most common type of this meeting is a conference call among all participants. Roll call should be done at the start of the meeting, and those who join the call late should be asked to identify themselves. Although some participants may either know each other or are familiar with others’ voices, it is always appropriate for the presiding officer to ask each speaker to identify oneself before addressing the group. [HINT: After a period of time with the same conferees participating, this step can be dropped.]

For most meetings conducted by a conference call, it is highly recommended that the meeting be limited to one hour.

For a meeting at which some of the participants are at the same venue while others are remote, it is useful for the presiding officer to periodically check that the remote participants are able to hear the discussion and feel each has equal opportunity to participate in that discussion.

When the business being transacted requires access to documents that may not have been available when the agenda was distributed, every effort should be made to transmit them to the remotely located participants during the meeting – by fax, or e-mail, or some other means.

Unless an issue has elicited considerable discussion with differing viewpoints, it is usually easier – at the time of a vote – for the presiding officer to ask only for those opposed to the proposed action.

Before the meeting is adjourned the decisions made, the follow-up action, and any other ‘loose ends’ should be reviewed by the presiding officer. [HINT: Always thank the participants.]

Documenting the Meeting  

As soon as possible after adjournment of a meeting, a brief list of the action items – including due dates and responsible party(ies) should be sent to all members of the body. [HINT: Including all members of the body (whether each attended or not) gives everyone the feeling of inclusion and ensures that all members know what needs to be done.]

Meeting minutes should also be distributed to the members of the body at the earliest reasonable opportunity. [HINT: The presiding officer should not be responsible for preparing the minutes. However, it is useful for the presiding officer to review a draft of the minutes before they are circulated to ensure that they accurately reflect what the presiding officer understands occurred during the meeting and what is expected going forward.]

For bodies that are responsible for governance, the amount of follow-up may be minimal. However, for committees, task forces, and other ‘working’ bodies the presiding officer may find it useful to have contact with members of the body who have assignments to complete before the next meeting. [HINT: The basis for such contact should not appear to be ‘checking up’ but, rather, to ensure that members understand the task and has the resources to complete the assignment.]

If the meeting incurred any expenditure, the presiding officer should ensure that all invoices and attendees’ out-of-pocket expenses are paid expeditiously. [HINT: It is prudent to ensure in advance that meeting attendees know what each can expect regarding reimbursement and how to seek it.]

Using Guest Speakers

Consider asking someone to speak to your society/chapter that you consider a good leader. Consider engineers and non-engineers to be your speaker. This person may be a(n) industry/businessman, athlete, coach, politician, or non-profit business person. They could be anyone who you consider a leader. Ask them to address leadership, what makes a leader, how they lead their company, team, or organization, and what they think is important in leading people. Encourage them to share examples and tips that they have found successful.

By hearing different perspectives from different people, you will begin to see common threads that all good leaders have and begin working on your own leadership skills. Take those insights you think might work in your society/chapter and begin to apply them.

An added benefit of a guest speaker who is a recognized and respected figure by those in the audience is that their presence at your seminar may encourage additional attendance. There are many leadership programs available for consideration; having a well known person addressing leadership at your seminar may result in someone attending who might otherwise attend another program.

Videos and Webcasts

There are many videos that have been produced, by NSPE and many other organizations, that highlight leadership and its’ importance. An example would be Lead a Top-Flight Meeting: Facilitation and Chairmanship Tools To Advance Your Organization and Your Career available in the NSPE Lending Library.

A Webcast uses the internet to broadcast live or delayed audio and/or video transmissions, much like traditional television and radio broadcasts. Users typically must have the appropriate multimedia application in order to view a Webcast.


A Webinar is short for a Web-based seminar; a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the web. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements -- the ability to give, receive and discuss information. Contrast this with a Webcast, in which the data transmission is one way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience. Webinars use the internet as a tool to cut the monetary and time costs of the travel involved with attending a presentation. As they become more prevalent, opportunities to discuss leadership on a large scale basis (Nationally or Internationally) will become more common. As a meeting organizer, there are a few key items to be aware of when organizing a Webinar.

  • Make sure the topic being presented is of interest to your audience;
  • Make sure you have the proper technology;
  • Make sure you have someone who knows how to operate the technology available prior to and during the presentation;
  • Encourage participation from the audience during the Webinar; and
  • Discuss the Webinar after it is completed to strengthen what you learned.

Webinars not only provide opportunities for leadership training but all other forms of training as well. They will be an important tool that can be used as a benefit to general membership.

Webinars are becoming more readily available as time goes on. It is imperative that all participants in a Webinar have the proper computer hardware and software at the time of the Webinar broadcast in order for the Webinar to be successful. Because technology in this field is changing rapidly it is not feasible to present the hardware and software requirements as these could change in a very short period of time. What is important is that the originator of the Webinar provides a 'minimum requirements' section ahead of time, with the Webinar announcement, for those who plan to participate.

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National and state resources

This section discusses the leadership resources from NSPE that are available to your state society or chapter. Many state societies have developed their own leadership materials for their specific needs, but many of these materials contain common topics that may be useful to other state societies and chapters.

Leadership materials are available from NSPE under the “ Society Leadership Orientation Program”.

In addition to these materials, several state societies have developed leadership materials that may help your state or chapter. The following is a list of some of the leadership materials that state societies have developed. If your state society has developed leadership materials, please contact NSPE to include your materials in the NSPE resource database.

  • Georgia Society of Professional Engineers―Leaders Handbook - www.gspe.org
  • Texas Society of Professional Engineers―Leadership Handbook
  • New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers―Leadership Handbook for Chapter & Practice Divisions

As other leadership resources are developed they will be placed on this Web site.

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Calendar of Events and Activities

This section identifies upcoming activities and events that are scheduled for your State Society or Chapter. Only with adequate notice and planning can a State Society or Chapter activity be successful. With advance notice of activities and events, attendance at these activities and events will be enhanced.

Encourage Chapters to share their activities with the State Society so that they may be put on the State Society calendar. Sharing of Chapter activities and events with different Chapters may encourage other Chapters to consider similar events or activities, once again demonstrating leadership by example.

Calendars should be posted on the state society and chapter Web sites, and kept up to date.

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This section contains a bibliography of recommended resources on leadership and meeting management.


  • Axelrod, Alan. “Eisenhower on Leadership”, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. – A profile of the leadership discipline of Dwight David Eisenhower, with poignant leadership lessons.
  • Blanchard, Kenneth; Carlos, John & Randolf, Alan. “Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute”, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001. – Short book about empowerment especially as it relates to building a leadership culture.
  • Blanchard, Kenneth, & Johnson, Spencer. “The One Minute Manager”, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1982. – Short book acknowledged as a classic about motivating and leading people.
  • Boosidy, Larry & Charan, Ram. “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done”, New York: Crown Business, 2002. – Offers and overview of leadership behaviors and describes the core processes of executing strategy.
  • Carrison, Dan & Walsh, Rod. “Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way”, New York: AMACOM, 1999.
  • Cottrell, David. “Listen Up Leader”, Dallas: CornerStone Leadership Institute, 2000. A booklet that is written from a subordinate’s perspective about showing integrity as a leader.
  • Gardner, Howard & Laskin, Emma.”Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership”, New York: Basic Books, 1995. – Profiles the 20 th century leaders who helped change the behavior of large numbers of people.
  • Goldsmith, Marshall; Govindarajan, Vijay; Kaye, Beverly & Vicere, Albert (Ed.). “ The Many Facets of Leadership”, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2003. – A compendium of papers by renown authors on various aspects of leadership.
  • Goleman, Daniel. “ Emotional Intelligence”, London: Bloomsbury, 1996. – Explains this concept as applicable to leaders and their leadership skills.
  • Gorden, Thomas. “Leader Effectiveness Training”, New York: Perigee, 2001. - A classic management training guide since first published in 1977.
  • Johnson, Spencer. “Who Moved my Cheese”, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1998. - A short book dealing with and anticipating change in yourself and in other people.
  • Katzenbach, Jon, “Real Change Leaders”, London: Nicholas Brealey, 1996. - Describes the attributes of those leaders who make things happen.
  • Koestenbaum, Peter. “Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness”, 2 nd ed., San Francisco: Josse-Bass, 2002. – The second edition of this classic book with a focus to delivering quality .
  • Kotter, John. “Leading Change”, Boston: Harvard Business School Press: 1996. - Provides an eight step process for leading and managing organizational change.
  • Kouzes, James & Posner, Barry. “The Leadership Challenge”, 3 rd Ed., San Francisco: Josse-Bass, 2002. - A classical reference on leadership, this text draws form many stories to illustrate what works.
  • Lundin, Stephen; Paul, Henry & Christensen, John. “Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Moral and Improve Results”, New York: Hyperion, 2000. – Very short book focused on bringing fun to the workplace as a motivational tool.
  • Maister, David. “Managing the Professional Services Firm”, New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1997. A comprehensive treatment on managing a professional services firm, including leadership and coaching skills.
  • Maister, David. “True Professionalism: The courage to Care About Your People, Your Clients, and Your Career, New York: Touchstone, 2000. For those in professional services, this book advocates the power of using principals to inspire excellence in individual performance.
  • Maxwell, John. “The 12 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998. – A summary of leadership qualities and suggestions on how to develop them.
  • McGinnis, Alan Loy. “Bringing Out the Best In People”, Minneapolis, Augsburg Publishing House, 1985. – A short book identifying twelve leadership and motivational rules for bringing out the best in people.
  • Nanus, Burt. “Visionary Leadership”, San Francisco: Josse-Bass, 1992. - Offers practical advise on developing vision and mission statements.
  • Phillips, Donald. “ Lincoln on Leadership”, New York: Warner Books, 1992, The record of Abraham Lincoln’s leadership qualities are interwoven with modern thoughts on the subject.
  • Tobias, Cynthia. “You Can’t Make Me, But I can be Persuaded: Strategies for Bringing out the Best in Your span class=mainheader Willed Child”, Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 1999. – Related to span class=mainheader-willed children, this book can help string-willed adults control that tendency.
  • Townsend, Patrick & Gebhardt, Joan. “Five-star Leadership: The Art and Strategy of Creating Leaders at Every Level”, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997. – Highlights aspects of military leadership that are central to success.
  • Watts, Robert. “People are Never the Problem: A New Paradigm for Relating to Others”, Colorado Springs: Honor Books, 1999. – Avoid the blame game by understanding that the way we deal with others is the real problem.
  • Ziglar, Zig. “Top Performance”, Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell, 1986. Details of how to get the most out of yourself and others through leadership and people management skills.

Conducting Meetings

Parker, Glenn & Hoffman, Robert, “Meeting Excellence”, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. – Contains a set of tools to lead more effective meetings.

  • Bowman, Daria Price. “Presentations: Proven Techniques for Creating Presentations and Getting Great Results”, Holbrook, Massachusetts: Adams Media, 1998. - Helps in the preparation and delivery of presentations to diverse audiences.
  • Robert McDowell Productions, “Roberts Rules of Order”, Danvers, Massachusetts: Sweetwater Press, 2001. – Understanding and applying the accepted rules for more effective meetings.
  • Young Engineers Advisor Council, “How-To Manual for Seminars, Socials and Ceremonies”, Alexandria, Virginia: NSPE, 2004. A practical, step-by-step guide to organizing and hosting events for local and state chapters. Available free to NSPE members.  


This guide was prepared by the NSPE Leader Development Task Force, Sub-group 1

  • William J. Harper, P.E., F. NSPE
  • Rick D. Ensz, P.E.
  • Jerry D. Kahn, P.E.
  • Mark Davy, P.E.

under the direction of the NSPE LDTF Chair, Gene R. O’Brien, P.E., F. NSPE .


A. Parliamentary Procedure
B. Responsibilities of a Governing Body
C. Liability Insurance

Appendix A – Parliamentary Procedure

Some meetings are sufficiently informal that little structure and few rules are required. However, most effective business meetings are conducted using these relatively simple guidelines.

Very simply, Parliamentary Procedure is an orderly process by which to conduct the business at a meeting of an organization. It became uniform when Henry M. Robert published in 1876 a manual on the subject. Subsequent editions of this handbook have been issued under the name of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Although Robert’s handbook is an exhaustive set of rules, the fundamentals of using Parliamentary Procedure are basic enough that they can be understood by the average person who must lead a meeting and those who participate at those meetings. Although the person presiding at a meeting (usually called the Chair) administers the process of Parliamentary Procedure, the members of the body actually have the ultimate control of the proceedings

The Agenda

For most meetings, there are multiple subjects or issues to be addressed. The order in which the business will be conducted and these subjects are to be considered is the agenda. For some organizations, the order of business is pre-defined in the organization’s governance document, e.g. the Bylaws. In many cases, the Chair establishes the agenda for the meeting; frequently, the Chair seeks concurrence by the body for the content and order of the agenda.

The Quorum

For most organizations, business may be conducted during a meeting only if a quorum is available, i.e. a specified minimum number of the members of the body. Many organizations stipulate in their governance document what constitutes a quorum. When there is no specified quorum defined, it usually is interpreted to mean at least half of the body rounded up to the next whole number. For example, if a body has 21 members, the quorum would be 11 persons unless otherwise defined; if the body has 22 members, the quorum would be 12.

Once a quorum has been declared, the agenda may be addressed by the Chair and the attendees at the meeting.

Conducting Business

Some of the matters to be brought before a body require a decision to be made by the body. However, various other matters do not require a decision. These are on the agenda primarily to bring information to the body. For a body with governance authority and responsibility, e.g. a board of directors, one such typical item is a financial report, usually presented by the organization’s Treasurer (if such a position exists). The Chair will call for the report, entertain questions from the members of the body, and then conclude the discussion by declaring the report to be “accepted.”

For a governing body there are usually committees that handle the detailed work of the organization. As appropriate, the Chair may call for reports from committees. Usually standing (permanent) committees are heard first and then special (temporary or ad hoc) committees.

When the body is itself a committee, there may still be sub-committees to be heard; otherwise there will not be a need for the Chair to call for reports.

Proposing Action

For those items of business of a body that require a decision, the means of doing this is for a member of the body to make a motion. A motion is a proposal that the body decide an issue in a certain way, e.g. “I move that we approve the proposed budget as submitted.” In order to avoid frivolous proposals by one member of a body, Parliamentary Procedure requires that at least one other member of the body agree to address the proposal represented by the motion. To do so, a second member of the body seconds the motion.

Once a proposal has been put before the body via a motion made and seconded, it becomes the property of the body and is no longer ‘owned’ by either the member who moved the motion or the member who seconded the motion. At this juncture, the Chair usually invites discussion about the motion. It is customary that the one who moved the motion is given the first opportunity to address the body at which time s/he explains the motion and gives the reason(s) why the body should approve the motion. Then the Chair will entertain commentary by the other members…one at a time. Usually the Chair becomes aware of a member’s desire to be heard when the member raises a hand or stands to be recognized by the Chair.

The type of motion that addresses an item of business for a body is called a main motion. There are other types of motions that may supersede making a decision on the main motion that is before the body. These are discussed in more detail below. Only one main motion may be considered at one time. The Chair rules whether any other motion made while a main motion is being considered is appropriate to be entertained.

Modifying Proposals

A member of the body – including the one who moved or seconded the main motion – may attempt to modify the original motion by offering an amendment to the main motion. Using the sample main motion above, the member might say, “I move to amend the approval of the budget as submitted by revising expense item #4 from the suggested amount to….”

Once the motion to amend has been seconded, the body defers further discussion of the main motion until the body makes a decision on the amendment.

During the discussion of the amendment, it is permissible for a subordinate amendment to be presented by a member of the body. Building on the budget motion example, a member might say, “I move to amend the amendment such that the revised amount for expense item #4 – if approved - may be spent only on….” As with the main motion and the amendment, this subordinate amendment requires a second and is subject to discussion before any decision is made on the other motions before the body.

Multiple subordinate amendments are permissible on a single amendment; and multiple amendments are permitted on a single main motion.

The Chair decides whether a proposed subordinate amendment is actually a second amendment of equivalent impact on the main motion as the amendment currently on the floor. In such a case, the Chair will ask the member to defer presentation of the other amendment until the one on the floor is decided.

Making a Decision

There are five voting techniques available to the Chair by which the body makes its decisions. There are two basic means by which the Chair will call for a vote. In the more ordinary case, the Chair senses that no other member of the body wishes to speak, and calls for a vote. The second means is for a member to be recognized by the Chair and say, “I move the previous question” or “I move to close discussion.” If the Chair receives a second, a vote must be taken on this motion – without debate being permitted. Two-thirds of the full body must approve the cessation of discussion. If such is obtained, the Chair must call for a vote.

Of the five voting techniques, the least formal is general consent. In this case the Chair might say, “If no one objects….” By their silence the members show their agreement with the matter on which the vote is called. However, a single member of the body may call for a more formal vote, e.g. by saying, “I call for a division of the body.” In the situation where an amendment or subordinate amendment has been offered and the body gives its consent, the action is frequently called a ‘friendly amendment’.

When it is necessary to poll the body, the least structured method is to take a voice vote. The Chair will ask for those in favor to say “Aye” and then those opposed to say “Nay.” The volume of the two answers usually provides a clear decision on which the Chair will rule the outcome of the vote. However, any member may call for an exact count by saying, “I call for a division.” For meetings when members of the body are in different physical locations, e.g. a teleconference meeting, the Chair – sensing support for the motion – may call first for the ‘nay’ votes. If there are few or none, the question is approved without the need to hear the ‘aye’ votes.

When a division of the body is necessary, the Chair will call for a show of hands. This may be done because a member has challenged a voice vote or the Chair senses – based upon the ‘pro’ and ‘con’ speakers during the discussion period – a split in the members’ positions.

In some cases, a record of the vote by each member is required. For these situations a roll call of the members is conducted. This is used more frequently in public bodies, but it may be used in volunteer organizations on occasion, e.g. a division of the body on a teleconference.

In those cases when the position of the members of the body should be kept confidential, the Chair will use the fifth technique and call for a ballot.

In making decisions concerning amendments and subordinate decisions, the latter must be resolved prior to voting on the former.

Privileged and Incidental Motions

During a meeting, motions other than main motions, motions for amendments, and motions for subordinate amendments may be introduced. Some of these may be made while a main motion is on the floor. Some require a second; others do not. Some are debatable; others are not. Some are decided by a simple majority of the body; others require a larger majority; and some do not even get voted.

Appealing the Chair’s Decision

This is the motion that ensures that the overall decision-making of a body is in the hands of the majority of the members and not necessarily the Chair . This is one of the most powerful motions available to the members of the body for these reasons:

  • A member may interrupt whoever has the floor to make such a motion;
  • Such a motion cannot be amended;
  • To be approved such a motion requires only a simple majority.

For such a motion to be considered, however, it does require a second. Also, such a motion is debatable. So, whenever a member of a body feels the Chair has erred in pronouncing a decision or in any other decision, s/he may rise and say, “I appeal the Chair’s decision.” If seconded, the motion must be addressed immediately.

Raising a Point of Order

A member may interrupt a speaker to rise and say, “I rise to a point of order.” Reasons for such action include a member’s viewpoint that the body has not followed a requirement of its governance document; the Chair has misstated something said previously by another member of the body, e.g. the language in a motion; or another procedural matter. This action is not debatable, does not require a second, and is not voted upon by the body unless the Chair submits the issue to the full body for a decision.

Postponing Action

There are three such motions that may be made during the discussion of a motion concerning the business of the body.

After a matter of business has been put on the floor through a main motion, in order of precedence a member of the body may be recognized by the Chair and introduce:

  • “I move to refer the matter to committee.”
  • “I move to postpone the discussion until_____.”
  • “I move to table the motion.”

According to the guidelines for Parliamentary Procedure, the third motion – which is the language frequently used by a member to defer action on a matter by a body – is intended only to delay discussion on the matter for some period in the same meeting or the next meeting if it will occur in a reasonably close timeframe. Its use anticipates that a member later in the meeting will move to “take from the table” the matter that had been deferred.

The first two motions are intended to postpone discussion for a longer period with the first making specific referral of the matter and the second being more vague on the duration of the postponement.

Reconsidering Prior Action

When no business is pending before a body, a member may rise – without interrupting a speaker – and say, “I move to reconsider the vote on….” Such a motion requires a second and is debatable – unless the motion being called for reconsideration had not been debatable. In addition, this motion to reconsider must be made by a member of the body who voted in the affirmative when the action was originally approved.

Motions to reconsider are used when it appears the original decision was made too hastily, was not clearly understood by a majority of the body when voting, or a similar reason.

Appendix B – Responsibilities of a Governing Body

Governing bodies of professional associations such as the NSPE Board of Directors and the NSPE House of Delegates – are often comprised of individuals who represent a particular constituency. These individuals are selected by their constituency to serve the entire organization but also – as deemed necessary – to represent the interests and needs of those respective constituencies.

These various governing bodies are charged with setting policy for the whole organization. NSPE’s House of Delegates and the Board of Directors – as well as the governing bodies of the state societies - are charged with making decisions that guide the operation of the respective organizations.

The members of the governing body of an NSPE state society affiliate – most frequently known as a Board of Directors or Board of Trustees – are usually representatives of a constituency that is a part of the whole organization. These may include chapters, state regions, practice divisions, and even the Young Engineer segment of the society.

Governing bodies deal with matters of an informational nature, e.g. a report of the current fiscal status of the organization, and proposals that need to be decided as to whether they will become a policy. This requires a majority vote by the members of the governing body. In most cases a simple majority would suffice; but in certain circumstances a “super” majority may be required (e.g., amending the NSPE Bylaws).

Such a proposal may be instigated by either a committee of the organization or its staff. In addition, a board member - representing a particular constituency - may be asked to bring before the whole governing body a proposal on behalf of her/his constituency. In making the proposal, the individual member of the governing body would likely promote favorable action by it and defend against any criticism or contrary viewpoint of other member(s) of the body.

The key responsibility of each member of a governing body is to consider the pros and cons of a proposal – no matter the source – and to vote on the proposal as it affects the well being of the organization as a whole. If one who has introduced a proposal still believes it to be in the best interest of the whole organization after adequate discussion, s/he may vote to support her/his proposal. However, if after hearing the discussion, the proponent understands sufficient rationale why the proposal is not in the best interest of the whole organization, s/he has both a legal and an ethical responsibility to vote against her/his own proposal.

In situations where a proposal introduced by the representative of a particular constituency has not been approved, that representative is well advised to explain to her/his constituency why the proposal was rejected – including a negative vote cast by that representative. The well being of the whole organization is served best when all the parties align with the outcome of a vote. As applicable, all members of the governing body should move forward to implement any newly adopted policy or to set aside a rejected proposal.

The fundamental guideline for members of a governing body who represents a constituency is to speak for the constituency’s proposal but to vote for a result that is in the best interest of the whole organization. This is consistent with both the ethical responsibility of an individual agreeing to serve as a member of the governing body of the organization as a whole and the legal fiduciary duty to act for the benefit of the organization as a whole in matters connected to that organization, such as duties of care and loyalty.

Appendix C – Liability Insurance 

TO: NSPE State Society Presidents, President-elects and Executive Directors

FROM: Arthur E. Schwartz, CAE

NSPE Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel

DATE: January 28, 2005

SUBJECT: Commercial General Liability Insurance and Not-For-Profit Liability Insurance

Over the years, I have received several phone calls from state society executive directors requesting clarification on the differences between the insurance coverage provided under the NSPE Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy and the separate Not-For-Profit Organization Liability Insurance Policy currently offered to state societies. This memo is intended to provide you with a clearer understanding of the fundamental differences between the two types of policies so that you can make an informed decision about selecting and maintaining appropriate insurance for your state society.


NSPE currently has Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy (CGL) with a $1 million limit. There is also a $5 million umbrella policy in place over the basic CGL policy. Among others, the “named insured” under the CGL policy include NSPE, state societies and local chapters, any member of NSPE while serving on a committee or acting on behalf of any named insured, NSPE’s Education Foundation and the Education Foundations of state societies and local chapters, MATHCOUNTS, and national, state and local auxiliaries. Please Be Advised: Individuals who are not members of NSPE are not covered under this CGL policy.

This insurance covers (1) general liability for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or advertising injury claims brought against any named insured and (2) property damage to the NSPE headquarters building in Alexandria and warehouses where NSPE property is located.

For the state societies, the key coverage is the general liability provision referred to above. One common example of how this coverage is utilized is when a state society or local chapter conducts a tour, National Engineers Week Program at a local shopping center, or other similar special event. This policy would protect any of the “named insureds” in the event that a third party is injured in connection with the event and makes a claim against any of the named insureds. In this connection, frequently state societies and local chapters request “Certificates of Insurance” as required by a property owner as a condition of conducting the special event on the owner’s premises. NSPE routinely arranges the issuance of these certificates as a service to the state societies to facilitate the special event. Note however, that regardless of whether a Certificate of Insurance is actually requested by the state society or local chapter, coverage still exists for the state society or local chapter. Also, please note that this coverage is secondary to any Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance coverage your state society presently has in place.  


Largely out of requests for a policy that meets the unique needs of NSPE state societies, several years ago, NSPE coordinated the development of a Not-For-Profit Organization Liability Insurance through CNA Insurance and Victor O. Schinnerer. Coverage is now provided under individual policies for each state society. States may chose limits of $200,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000. Higher limits are also available. Each policy has a deductible of $5,000. The policy is best described as a broad Directors and Officers Insurance Policy. Rates have been very stable over the past few years. Nine NSPE state societies currently participate in the program.

The policy includes coverage for libel and slander, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, false arrest, defamation, wrongful entry, infringement of copyright and plagiarism, publisher’s liability, parallel coverage for state Education/MATHCOUNTS Foundations, limited antitrust coverage and no deductibles for individual insureds (e.g., officers, directors, members, staff). The Employment Practices Liability coverage is generally considered to be among the most valuable policy features. The insurance company also has a duty to provide legal counsel and to defend all claims against the state society.

Some degree of overlap exists between the CGL policy and the Not-For-Profit policy, particularly in the area of defamation. However, as you can see, the Not-For-Profit policy has other features that go beyond the CGL policy’s coverage of “bodily injury”, etc.


Obviously the decision to maintain insurance is one that each state society must make based upon its individual needs, risk exposures, financial considerations and other factors. If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (703) 684-2845 -Phone, (703) 519-3763 -Fax, or aschwartz@nspe.org -E-mail.

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