SOSBIS president issues wake-up call

James Palanio expresses disappointment with the dysfunction of board at South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society

Putting it bluntly, the president of the South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society said he has been “disappointed” and has never experienced “such a dysfunctional group.”

James Palanio hopes the message he wrote in the Fall 2012 quarterly Brain Waves newsletter hit some nerves with the board members and serves as a call to action. In the president’s message, Palanio noted aspects of SOSBIS that he said gave him concern. In particular, he said there was an inability to work amicably together, a lack of trust among board members, deficiency of respect among board members, no common understanding of how the board should work and an insufficient focus on the goals on the society.

“I needed people to think. It’s worded the way it is and I got a couple of calls on it and I have chatted to people about it. Ultimately that is what I wanted,” said Palanio, president of board of directors for the non-profit organization. “I tried to shock people into thinking about if we are not looking at the broader picture we are not being as helpful as we can be to members and to the clients.”

SOSBIS promotes prevention, as well as provides education and support for individuals with acquired brain injuries. They also provide a housing and homeless program. Palanio said his concerns stem from the narrow focus of board members.

“I understand that everyone on the board is passionate about why they came there. Unfortunately we have a broad range of brain injury from stroke to addiction problems to car accidents. Some are thinking about only working towards the area that they are most concerned about without looking at the broad picture of the entire society,” said Palanio.

With an impending annual general meeting on Thursday, Palanio said the board will be decreasing the amount of elected spots from nine to seven, which he believes will bring more cohesion.

He said the society has stayed the course this past year, and in his opinion has not seen a lot of “progression.” Although, he said the past few meetings board members have come to the table with more understanding of one another.

The president said from his knowledge the society has received more positive than negative feedback from members and clients about the services provided. Palanio said this is where the idea of progression comes in — having a strategic plan set out at the beginning of the year with set goals to accomplish while adding services to their portfolio. All solutions Palanio hopes will help move SOSBIS forward that will be implemented in the new year.

The public annual general meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. in Salon C of the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Anyone interested in learning more about SOSBIS and the services they provide to those with acquired brain injury can visit