Re: Questions about the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP)


A few note that hopefully help here. 

Professional organizations — (and I believe this is meant to be a professional organization) — are usually formed to serve the members of the organization.

All organizations need officers and those need to be elected - by vote.    So that is one place where all (voting) members vote.    
In professional organizations , all members usually also have to vote to approve the bylaws or changes to bylaws. 

Corporate memberships are usually separate from professional memberships (individuals).  

The purpose of a corporate membership is to provide funding support to the organization.   
They usually include a small number of complementary memberships so that the organization officials can be members.   
They are not meant to be mass membership purchases.  (I have never seen this) 

If corporations want to pay for the individual member fees for their employees - that is fine and they usually do that by paying for the individual memberships as their employees join the organization.

The complementary memberships that come with a corporate membership - - are often named at the time the corporate membership is granted.   They are not 'pocket memberships’.   Large blocks of voting memberships owned by a company would not be healthy for a professional organization — and I know of no professional organizations where this is done. 

In fact, in a professional organization - much care is taken that the organization remains in the control of the professionals (individuals in that profession ) and that it cannot be taken over or unduly influenced by any company or by companies as a group.    

Professional organizations are organizations by, of, and for professionals.    And if so, the by-laws etc should reflect that — and ensure that it is starts and stays like that.

My suggestion is that, if you are creating bylaws for a professional organization - you look at the statutes and bylaws of other professional organizations, and model yours after those.   Bylaws are tricky things.   They are primarily for two purposes
to enable
to restrict - but only in those places where there is danger of things going wrong if restrictions are not there
(general procedures should not be in bylaws)   

Good luck.  I have been part of quite a few organizations - including professional organizations - as they were formed,  and it is real work to figure out the role of — and proper form for the bylaws and the governance they define. 


PS  If this is a non-profit organization, then the governance and who has voting rights etc has to be (legally has to be) defined in the statutes and/or bylaws. 

Gregg Vanderheiden Ph.D.
Director Trace R&D Center
Professor Industrial & Systems Engineering
and Biomedical Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
Co-Director, Raising the Floor - International -
and the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure Project -

On May 10, 2014, at 4:08 PM, Léonie Watson <> wrote:

> John Foliot wrote:
> "... do we have any indication that there is a need for such a mechanism?
> Has anyone stepped forward and suggested "we should form a committee or task
> force about X,Y,Z, if only there were a place to do so"?  Within the very
> limited scope of the IAAP Mission Statement (or even looking beyond), has
> anyone proposed *any* ideas in this area? It is well and good to suggest
> that a framework for doing this will be created within the IAAP, but without
> a clear need, what will stop this from being yet another empty box? (I hate
> that this even sounds negative, but it is also a pragmatic and realistic
> question)"
> One possibility is to foster local accessibility groups. There has been some
> success in the US with this, but it's something that has far greater
> potential than is being realised at the moment. The IAAP won't suddenly
> change that, but it's quite possible that people will think a good place to
> start a group for local accessibility professionals, is under the auspices
> of an international association of accessibility professionals, rather than
> trying something on their own.
> That's perhaps something else worth thinking about. It's relatively easy for
> those of us who are engaged with the accessibility community to start
> something, draw people together and work on some initiative. For the people
> less engaged, less plugged into the community if you like, it probably isn't
> that easy. If someone like that has an idea, doing it as an IAAP group could
> seem like a good way to get started, and to reach a lot more potential
> participants than their own networks might permit.
> "I think as well that there already exists today numerous forums independent
> of IAAP where like minded professionals in our space already gather. One
> such place, that you and I are very familiar with, is the W3C."
> Very true, and I can't think of a better place for those kinds of groups to
> be based. But what what about communities outside of the web or without a
> purely technical focus?
> Project managers who want to identify the best way to embed accessibility
> into agile methodologies, graphic designers who think it would be useful to
> develop guidelines for maintaining accessibility in the switch between
> digital and physical media, UX practitioners who want to draw up a manifesto
> for usability testing with disabled people, web managers who want to look at
> practical steps for creating and implementing organisational accessibility
> strategies. Just a few ideas, possibly some of them already being done
> someplace I don't know about, but getting into the weeds of specific
> examples isn't the point.
> "The reality is simply this: the "idea" of groups is far stronger than the
> outcome of that idea. There are plenty of 'committees and task-forces' today
> that exist on paper, but produce little more. How and what will the IAAP do
> differently to overcome that problem?"
> True, but there are also groups that accomplish a great deal. As to what the
> IAAP will do to overcome the "paper group" problem, I don't know. That said,
> in my experience the success of a group rarely has much to do with the board
> of the organisation, and far more to do with the people who are active
> participants in those groups.
> I'm glad you're asking these questions John. The steps our industry takes
> should be a matter for discussion by the industry at large,and the more
> people that get involved in these conversations the better. Keep it up my
> friend.
> Léonie. 

Received on Saturday, 10 May 2014 23:08:53 UTC