Current Promotion

Current Promotion

Current Promotion

Current Promotion

Current Promotion

Creating a New Mission Statement

Oak Bluffs

WHAT'S NEW: Mission statement adopted

At its November 19, 2019 meeting, the Authority Board voted unanimously to adopt a new mission statement for the Steamship Authority. The mission statement will serve as the backbone for the Steamship Authority's strategic planning, employee performance evaluations and overall operations in the future. Creating a mission statement was one of 10 recommendations contained in the comprehensive review of the SSA's operations conducted in 2018 by HMS Consulting, Rigor Analytics and Glosten Associates.

The adopted mission statement reads as follows: 

Our mission is to operate a safe, efficient, and reliable transportation system for the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket with a commitment to sustainability, accessibility, our port communities, and public engagement. 

The members of the project team and the entire Authority wish to thank everyone who provided feedback during the five-month development process. 

Supplemental materials

Staff Summary - Board Meeting 

Board meeting presentation


About the project

The Steamship Authority is in the process of creating a new mission statement that will serve as the backbone for its strategic planning, employee performance evaluations and overall operations in the future. Creating a mission statement was one of 10 recommendations contained in the comprehensive review of the SSA's operations conducted in 2018 by HMS Consulting, Rigor Analytics and Glosten Associates.

The Steamship Authority last created a mission statement in 1997, but it was rarely referenced and is need of updating. This is the mission statement that was written at that time: 

The vision of the Steamship Authority is to provide excellent customer services through a safe, convenient and efficient transportation system while responding to changing needs and market demands as well as community concerns within a work environment that promotes quality performance and recognition of our employees.

We are using this as the basis for our work, but we are not looking to merely revise this mission statement but to seek community input on what a new mission statement should be.

The mission statement project team is led by Communications Director Sean F. Driscoll and includes Marketing Director Kimberlee McHugh, General Counsel Terence Kenneally, Treasurer/Comptroller Mark Rozum and Director of Shoreside Operations Alison Fletcher. 

About mission statements

Mission vs. vision

First, it is important to define what a mission statement is, and how it differs from a vision statement. According to the Community Tool Box, a service of the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansasvision statements "are short phrases or sentences that convey your community's hopes for the future. By developing a vision statement or statements, your organization clarifies the beliefs and governing principles of your organization, first for yourselves, and then for the greater community."

Mission statements, on the other hand, are "more concrete, and they are definitely more 'action-oriented' than vision statements. Your vision statement should inspire people to dream; your mission statement should inspire them to action." In other words, mission statements should be concise, outcome-oriented and inclusive of the SSA's various constituencies

Examples of mission statements 

Here is a sampling of mission statements from other ferry companies across the country: 

Washington State Ferries: "Our mission is to make a positive contribution to the livability and economic vitality of our region by providing a safe, reliable, and efficient ferry transportation system."

North Carolina Department of Transportation (runs state's ferry division): "Connecting people, products and places safely and efficiently with customer focus, accountability and environmental sensitivity to enhance the economy and vitality of North Carolina."

Casco Bay Lines: "The Maine Legislature created the Casco Bay Island Transit District to furnish waterborne transportation to the islands of Casco Bay for public purposes, in the interest of public health, safety, comfort and convenience of the inhabitants of the islands comprising the District. Our Mission is, then, to provide sufficient dependable, reliable service in a safe and secure manner, as affordably as possible, so as to preserve our year-­‐round island communities. CBITD shall also provide incidental tour and charter services to residents of and visitors to the Casco Bay region to enhance the quality and security of the District's regular service to the islands."

About the first round of our process 

Rather than simply ask members of our constituent communities to write a mission statement for us (although if you're up for it, feel free), the team is, instead, soliciting feedback on what elements should be included in a mission statement. From there, team members will craft a draft mission statement(s) based on that input. 

The public, therefore, is asked to provide input on one or both of the following questions, as well as provide any other input they feel is relevant. 

Question No. 1

The project team has identified six core principles from the SSA's 1997 mission statement:

  • Community concerns
  • Convenience
  • Customer service
  • Efficiency
  • Safety
  • Quality

Our question: From the above list, what is missing? What, if any, should come out?

Question No. 2 

Tell us – what aspects of the Steamship Authority are important to you?

As part of our process, we invited the public to attend one of several open houses to give us their thoughts on what should be included in our new mission statement. We also accepted emailed comments through August 23, 2019.

About the second round of our process 

Following the public comment period that concluded August 23, 2019, the Mission Statement Team spent several weeks reviewing the feedback received and categorizing it in an attempt to provide an objective review of what was heard during this period.

That process, which resulted in the creation of a matrix of comments, led to the identification of five values that those who responded wanted added to the mission statement. They are:

  • Customer engagement and solutions
  • Sustainability
  • Reliability
  • Safety
  • Efficiency

Although fewer people suggested items that should be removed from the last mission statement, two stood out:

  • "Changing needs and market demands"
  • Community concerns

The Project Team then met several times to review the results of the feedback and worked to craft the draft mission statement, aiming for something that would be clear, straightforward and meaningful. The draft mission statement reads as follows:

Our mission is to operate a safe, efficient, and reliable transportation system for the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in an environment committed to sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement.

Here are some more resources to help explain how we reviewed the public comment received this summer: 

Staff Summary 

Board presentation (note: the Port Council presentation was identical, except for the date on the slides)

Emailed comments

Public comment matrix

We opened a second public comment period to allow the public to comment on the draft mission statement. We are, once again, inviting the public to attend one of several sessions to give us your thoughts on the draft mission statement. We also accepted emailed comments to by October 25, 2019. Using the feedback received during this process, the final draft of the mission statement will be presented to the SSA's Port Council and Board at their November meetings and a vote for adoption will be sought.

Following the approval of the new mission statement, the SSA will promote it throughout its organization and use it as a guiding principle for future decision making. The mission statement will feed directly into an upcoming strategic planning process, which will then lead into the development of new performance objectives for the organization and its employees, both of which were also recommendations included in the HMS Consulting report.