The Friendly Fifth

International Board Messages

International Board Director - District 5 Report

DISTRICT 5 Sons of Norway International Board

The past year has been quite unusual for most of us, trying to stay safe from Covid-19. Though it has been challenging, the International Board has been working as usual via email and video conferencing. The huge loss is not seeing our friends and colleagues during these past months. Currently, it is not practical to do a PowerPoint report, so here it is in letter form.

The last meeting of the Sons of Norway International Board of Directors was held via video conference on November 16-19, 2020, meeting for over three hours each day. The full board was present along with CEO Chris Pinkerton and Executive Assistant Lonna Hanson. Staff members who gave reports were; CFO Erica Oberg, CIO Dan Seyfried, Matt Roedel (Insurance Sales and Operations Director), Connie O’Brien (Fraternal Development & Marketing Director), Lizabeth Halva (Human Resources & Business Integration Director), Kevin Cassidy (General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer), and David Crabb (Fraternal Engagement Manager). Outside Legal Counsel Dave Ness from Fafinski Mark & Johnson, P.A. also attended parts of the meeting.

Outside professionals are involved with the meetings and all reports are reviewed: investment advisor portfolio reports, IT strategic planning, Anti-Fraud Statues from MN, 3rd Quarter financial statements, budgets, Viking Magazine, 10-year actuarial projections, updates from the American Fraternal Alliance, Human Resource and new building updates, Insurance recruiting and product updates, Code of Ethics review, governance structure, and life insurance logos. SONS Officers and Committees gave reports regarding; the Board Policy Book (ongoing reviews), lodge owned real estate, lodge liability insurance, Finance Committee Resolutions, Audit Committee, board member expenses, document signing authority by home office, 2022 Convention in MN.

Following the meeting there were several staffing changes at the home office. SONS has been operating many years in a regular pattern of business that has not kept up with the latest technology to operate efficiently and effectively. However, even during the past year of difficult times when lodges are unable to meet, membership has grown, and sales of insurance policies are moving upwards. Social media has kept many in touch with their SONS roots, we are optimistic about our future growth and sustainability.

Sons of Norway Foundation Board of Governors

The SONS Foundation Board of Governors has been meeting via video conferencing for the past year. The board last met on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, for a 4-hour meeting. The new board is: Merv Eriksson, chair; Jon Tehven, vice chair; Ernie Fosse, treasurer; and Christy Olsen Field, secretary.
Robin Fossum International Director, District 5 SONS Foundation, Board of Governors Dovre Lodge 5-353, president 630 28th St, Chetek WI 54728 715-642-2414 

I was appointed last year to a two-year term by International President Ron Stubbings. My committee appointment is chair of the Development Committee.

The board participated in a strategic plan workshop hosted by Jaime Rate, Keystone Group. Following the workshop, Committee reports were reviewed; Executive Governance Committee (Merv), District Foundation Directors (Jon), Development Committee “Together We Are the Future” update, (Jon & Robin), Finance Committee (Ernie), Disaster Relief/Extreme Illness (Allison). Ron Stubbings gave a brief International Report, and Connie O’Brien reported on the Foundation general updates. Goals were discussed.

The Development Committee designed the Together We Are the Future campaign for October Foundation month. Our goal was to share awareness of the SONS Foundation and involve members, lodges, Districts, the International Board and Board of Governors, and corporations. We started work with Anne Olson, Foundation Director (resigned) and continued with Connie O’Brien at the Home Office. Our goal was to raise $100,000 for SONS scholarships and Humanitarian funds. As of this week, over $210,164 was brought in from 113 lodges, 837 personal donations. These gifts came from the direct mailing envelope, Viking Magazine article, and personal giving to scholarship accounts.

I personally would like to thank former International President Jon Tehven, Connie O’Brien, and our District 5 Foundation Director Darlene Arneson for all their work and perseverance in completing this successful campaign. We have development a general template for the fund-raising effort, our future goal is to have the Futures campaign annually from October 1 - January 1, to raise awareness for the Foundation.