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Heather Buzila

The NEC in Detail: Secretary and Director of Branches and Twigs

A woman is on a conference call using her laptop. Above her are a speech bubble and three screens. Each screen shows one of the other people on the call.
A woman is on a conference call using her laptop. Above her are a speech bubble and three screens. Each screen shows one of the other people on the call.
Copyright: tveitan

This is the third in a series of posts describing the roles of the Editors Canada national executive council by Heather Buzila. This series is also available in French (cette série est également disponible en français).

Following on my post about the roles of the vice president and treasurer, each month, I’ll give an overview of two national executive council (NEC) directors’ duties and responsibilities. 

This post will focus on the roles of secretary and director of branches and twigs.


The NEC secretary is responsible for keeping records for Editors Canada. However, they do not take minutes during NEC meetings or the annual general meeting (AGM); this is done by the volunteer recording secretary. The volunteer who fills the secretary position should have excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.

Because many of the NEC’s motions are conducted via email, one of the secretary’s duties is to keep a running list of all motions made online (i.e., outside of an NEC meeting); these online motions are appended to each set of NEC meeting minutes. After an online motion has been made and seconded, the secretary sets up the vote using SurveyMonkey, keeping it open for a set amount of time, and then emails the NEC with the results. 

The NEC typically meets monthly. Once per quarter, the secretary requests and then compiles reports from NEC directors and chairs of national committees, task forces and branches and twigs. These compiled reports are then shared with directors for review prior to the meetings, and the director reports are posted online

During an NEC meeting, the secretary leads discussions about action items from previous meetings in order to keep track of tasks that are outstanding, in progress and completed. After the recording secretary has completed the draft minutes from a meeting, the secretary copy edits the minutes, sends them to the NEC for review, and then sends them to the senior communications manager to post online for members.

The secretary also has duties related to the AGM, including organizing advance motions, proxy votes and other related documents.

Director of branches and twigs

The volunteer who serves as the director of branches and twigs acts as the liaison between the NEC and all Editors Canada’s branches and twigs. Their main duty is to represent the interests of the branches and twigs.

In the words of the current director of branches and twigs, filling this position primarily means being an information gopher: you must ask questions, dig for information and unearth the answers. A volunteer who is interested in filling this position should be helpful, approachable and systematic.

The director of branches and twigs facilitates meetings among the branch and twig chairs to discuss local programming strategies and to conduct brainstorming sessions. They also take meeting notes and then distribute them to the branch and twig chairs. Quite often, these meetings are also a space for chairs to raise questions and concerns so the director can get answers and/or more information from the NEC. 

This director liaises with the national office and other directors as needed to facilitate branch and twig initiatives, and they share national and committee-level initiatives with the branches and twigs. 

Upcoming role descriptions

In my next post, I’ll focus on the roles of director of marketing and communications and director of member recruitment and retention. 

If you have any questions about the director positions or would like more information, please email me at


Previous post from Heather Buzila: The NEC in Detail: Vice President and Treasurer

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