Candidate Questionnaire: Matthew Naylor

Posted by: | January 10, 2008 | Comments Off on Candidate Questionnaire: Matthew Naylor

Why do you want to be the president of the AMS?
I want to be president because I think that this organization has massive potential, and I think that I can be a part of unleashing that potential. This next year is going to bring some pretty significant changes to the organization, and I think that I can make a contribution in not only settling into the change, but making sure that this next year is a productive one. The executive has such an incredibly short time to make an impact on the organization – that’s why I am running, because I want to make an impact on an institution I really do care about, and I have the skills and knowledge to do it well.

What personal skills and experiences could you bring to the portfolio?
The most pertinent experience I have is the VP External Affairs portfolio this past year. This has given me tremendous insight into the internal workings of the AMS, and how to make them realize their full potential. As President, I would be responsible for management, which I have done this past year as the chair of the External Commission, and in past as one of the people responsible for the organization of the Dion Leadership Campaign in Alberta. I would be responsible for advocacy and policy. I have been described as a policy wonk, and as someone who is “hard working, dedicated student leader who has made a significant contribution to the student movement in BC and across Canada”*. My role model is Louis St. Laurent, who put a premium on hard work. That is how I will succeed as president – continually working for you, doing my research and being prepared for meetings.

*Mike Burton, President of the UofR Student Union

If there was one thing you could change about the AMS what would it be?
I would make council a more effective body. We have a team of fifty or so people who are committed enough to this student society to sit on its board of directors, but are little more than a rubber stamp on the decisions of the executive. These reps were elected by the people as well, and should have some sort of a say in the direction of the society. I want to move the chairmanship of committees out of the hands of the executive and give that to compensated councillors. We have a team of people who want to do something – who want to make a difference within the AMS. I think that its about time that we let them.

How would you be a good leader of the Executive team?
I view the role of the President as a sounding board. I think, therefore, that one of the most important things that I could be doing is to encourage debate and discussion amongst the executive. Creating this culture where debate and disagreement is acceptable is going to make our ideas better, as they will be tested more, and make us a stronger team, because we will have created a situation where nobody is going to be insulted by someone speaking their mind. I, as President, would not have a mandate to order people around, or direct their actions, but I think that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Provided that we continue to share our ideas and our progress, (things I hope to facilitate at exec meetings), we will remain informed as to what the others are doing, and, more importantly, be given the opportunity to comment and contribute to plans where there is an interest in the topic.

How will you manage the organization internally given the transition of the GM and many permanent staff this year?
Transition is a vulnerable time for any organization, but it is also one that carries with it significant opportunities. I would like to take this chance to, in conjunction with reviewing the strategic framework, evaluate the long term goals of the organization, and, how, as ‘permanent’ staff members, they can be stewards of that long term plan. I also would like to ensure that there is a good transition between the outgoing and incoming staff, and will work to ensure a smooth transition where no balls get dropped and the projects of the society continue uninterrupted. I will also lean on the three most senior continuing AMS staff – Jane, Henry and Nancy are all incredibly capable and dedicated people who are going to be an unparalleled asset in this coming year.

What structural changes do you think would make council and committees more effective and cohesive in the organization?
As mentioned earlier, I think a decentralization of power from the executive is the best way to start. We should also be enshrining some of the useful new committees, like Lobbying Review or Academic Quality, and doing away with, or rolling together some of the others, as we did last year with U-Pass Subsidy Review. Let’s make the chairs of these committees more active and let councillors, and not just the executive, drive this organization for a change.

How will you make the AMS known, relevant, and an attractive place for involvement for all students?
The AMS itself, meaning the council, the commissions, and the general student government structure, will never be the place for broad ranging involvement that will appeal to all students, but it is for some, and we should make sure that we, as a government, do not shut doors on people who want to help out. Beyond that, the AMS must be the place where people can come to engage with their community, and that does include our clubs. I would like to provide more club support, and making AMS Link more relevant is going to be a key part of that. AMS Connect must be expanded, and give people the chance to really engage with their community, and as mentioned above, the AMS governance structure. We need volunteers for any number of things, and, through AMS Connect, we can connect with the student body simultaneously.

Jeff’s role as a governor on the BoG and President seemed effective in giving students a voice. How would manage your relationship with UBC decision makers?
I personally will commit to attending the BoG and BoG committee meetings. I also would like to build on the current set of relationships I have already created this year. I think that, in a number of areas, the university and students can work together for advocacy and providing services, and in those places where we do indeed disagree, our disagreements will be softened by a professional and familiar relationship, aided along by frequent meetings. I will continue to be frank but not insulting, direct but not brash, and in doing so, will get things done for students.

How would you implement the AMS strategic framework?
The AMS Strategic Framework is coming up for renewal this year, so, in addition to implementing it, we also have to decide what changes we wish to make to the document – how to update it for it’s next three year term. Within the greater framework of council empowerment, I would like to do more training on the strategic framework, so that the committee chairs who are going to have increased responsibilities in setting council priorities are also able to frame their decisions in the context of a long term strategic plan. I would also like to get the Code and Policies committee to review the document, perhaps including some guidelines for setting measurables. One of the downsides to the Strategic Framework is that it is a very broad document, and I would like it retooled, not to constrain the society for the next three years, but to provide an improved lens through which we can view our decisions.


Comments are closed.

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind

Spam prevention powered by Akismet