Ruby Australia Annual General Meeting (AGM) Minutes - November 2021

November 29, 2021
7:00PM AEDT

Attendees

  • Pat Allan
  • Nick Wolf
  • Celia Colquhoun King
  • Mark Glossop
  • Toby Nieboer
  • Sharon Vaughan
  • Kirsten Comandich
  • Kieran Andrews
  • Lee Sheppard
  • Dwight (whose last name I did not record, apologies!)
  • Nadia Vu
  • Kevin Garcia-Fernandez

Apologies

  • Mathew Button
  • Ryan Bigg

Minutes

Meeting began at 7:10pm AEST.

Introduction (Pat Allan)

  • Welcome.
  • Acknowledgement of Country.
  • Introduction of Ruby Australia, and of Pat as host.
  • Outlining the approach for online meetings - using raised hand feature to ask a question.
  • Introducing the rest of the committee.

Ratify Previous GM Minutes

  • From May 24, 2021.
  • Use the Yes/No feature to vote.
  • Motion passes without dissent.

President’s Report (Nick Wolf)

  • President for the past twelve months.
  • Past twelve months have been about maintaining the organisation as we shift out of caretaker/pandemic mode so that we will be in a good position as we now, hopefully, move into better times.
  • Some things we have been able to achieve, and I must acknowledge the many significant contributions of the committee in helping us achieve these:
    • Kieran has been able to coordinate an upcoming Rails Camp!
    • Thanks to Sharon we have been able to run a Rails Girls event - and if we could only run one event all year, I’m glad it was something to address the lack of diversity and the gender imbalances in our industry.
    • I’d also like to acknowledge Mark who’s done fantastic work in regards to handling all of the sponsorship. It is a difficult time to coordinate sponsors, especially when the primary motivator for sponsorship of Ruby Australia is often focused around in person large scale events. But Mark has not only managed to maintain many of those relationships, he’s also managed to bring new sponsorship on board, which I consider a real win.
    • I’d like to recognise Toby who’s helped dot i’s and cross t’s as Secretary.
    • I’d also like to recognise Lee as his contribution was instrumental in to enabling access to job opportunities through the Ruby forum via ruby.org.au.
    • Mat, who is our meetups coordinator, has facilitated many of our meetup events throughout the country to shift online when the circumstance called for it.
    • I’d also like to recognise the fantastic tenure of Ryan for more years than I can count as our Treasurer, and who ensured that even during these challenging times our financials have remained stable.
  • It’s thanks to our committee members, as well as our volunteers, that we are still here after a challenging year not only within our community but on a state, national, and global scale.

No questions for Nick.

Treasurer’s Report (Ryan Bigg, read by Pat in Ryan’s absence)

  • Up until November 2021 there has been $46,500 of income, of which $29,000 was from sponsors and $17,000 from tickets for Rails Camp, compared with $127,000 of income in 2020 - so quite a drop. Understandable due to the lack of events though.
  • $9,000 of expenses related to the cost of sales - venue hire, promotions, everything that goes into running events. Thankfully much lower than the corresponding $129,000 for this category n 2020.
  • An additional $12,000 in operating costs, which includes things like public liability insurance, accounting, and hosting.
  • This leaves $154,000 in the bank, which is our war chest for running conferences and camps once such things get to happen again. This is roughly the same amount as this time last year.
  • Not much in the way of income, but not much in the way of expenditure. A quiet year for Ruby Australia, but with a potential two camps coming up in 2022 and maybe a conference to plan in 2023, Ryan reckons it might be a much busier time for the association in 2022.

Questions:

  • Mark: Can I assume this will be passed on to Toby to be minuted? Pat: Yes.
  • Dwight: Would we consider having an online conference, as the costs are much lower? Nick: Yes, we have looked into this and it’s definitely something we’d consider if we have volunteers to run it. We’ve looked at Vi.to, but also looking forward to running events in person again soon. If there are any volunteers, please reach out to Kieran or myself.

No further questions on Ryan’s report.

Sponsorship (Mark Glossop)

  • Thank you to Nick for your kind words.
  • In terms of sponsorship I think we’re doing well - we are grateful for the support, monetary and otherwise, and our sponsors’ willingness to be understanding of conditions.
  • We have five Emerald-level sponsors, but still no Ruby-level sponsors - we may need to revisit the offering as there isn’t enough to differentiate Ruby from Emerald. We also have a number of sponsors at the lower levels.
  • The prospectus is still a work in progress, hopeful we can get that out before end of year.
  • There are other things I have been thinking about to improve our sponsorship value proposition, won’t go into details on that at this time. Also have been considering alterations to the camp and conference ticket allocations to be more flexible.
  • We might want to consider having more than one person responsible for sponsorship to have a secondary person and increase the opportunity for face to face conversations in different cities.
  • I’d also like us to consider clarifying what can be sponsored, for example at camps (buses, coffee, etc).

No questions for Mark.

RailsCamp Adelaide (Kieran Andrews)

  • As we all know the camp has been rescheduled a few times - fingers crossed this date is final and we’ll be able to see everyone in person in Adelaide on Feb 4th. Venue is locked in and first instalment of our deposit has been paid, ticket sales are healthy. Ticket sales close Dec 1, get in quick.
  • In terms of the financials, ticket sales are great and we have a few sponsors for the event itself. We spend a bit more on a camp vs conference, but should roughly break even.

Questions:

  • Nick: Are you excited? Kieran: I am very excited.
  • Mark: Has anything been posted about closing tickets? Kieran: Yes, I’ve posted on Twitter.
  • Pat: There’s a new strain of Covid, has there been any thoughts on advice to people on how to get in and out of SA? Kieran: Hopefully the borders stay open, and that’s how we’re planning - I don’t want to cancel but that’s always a possibility. If we do have to cancel, we have a generous refund policy.
  • Dwight: Would you conduct it online as a backup plan? Kieran: No backup plans at this stage.

No further questions for Kieran.

RubyConf AU (Nick Wolf)

  • A few of us are speaking with Deb, who’s organised events with us in the past, to see what avenues there are for us to hold an event - but still very early days.
  • If anyone is interested in volunteering, keen to hear from you.

Rails Girls (Sharon Vaughan)

  • Thank you to HotDoc who hosted. Had a lot of attendees, everyone was compliant with masks, got food through the Asylum Seeker Resource Center which was amazing. Thank you to Caitlin Donaldson from HotDoc, Nadia Vu, and everyone who jumped into help out with mentoring. Amazing time, attendees were asking when it will happen again.
  • We also spent quite a bit of time collecting all the various things that had been created for RG events over the years - e.g Slack accounts, Twitter, etc - those are all in 1Password now.
  • Nick: Amazing effort, thank you Sharon.
  • Kieran: Thank you for mentioning the Rails Camp opportunity tickets at the event too.

No questions for Sharon.

Meetups (Nick Wolf/Kevin Garcia-Fernandez/Mark Glossop)

  • Nick: I’d like to recognise that we have managed to have online meetups throughout the country all the way through the pandemic, which has been fantastic.
  • Kevin: It’s been lovely that we’ve been able to have meetups all throughout the year, great participation and crowds. We’ve found speakers every time, though it has been tough some months. Some ideas have been thrown around about alternative content, such as interviews, or open discussions on a topic. No clear path for a return to face to face just yet, but even if we do I’d love to keep an online component to allow people from anywhere to attend.
  • Mark: I’ve really appreciated being able to attend Melbourne’s meetup online.

No questions on meetups.

Elections (Pat Allan)

  • Most roles are twelve month terms.
  • Some elections happen at the SGMs (April/May), some at the AGMs (Oct/Nov) to ensure there’s overlap in terms, and knowledge/context sharing.
  • Five roles up for election: President, Secretary, Treasurer and two General Members. All one year terms except for Treasurer which is two years.
  • Nominations can be for yourself or someone else. Anyone nominated must be on this call to accept.
  • Votes only required if more than one candidate per position.
  • There were no nominations ahead of time for any role.

President

  • The president’s role is to guide the overall direction of the organisation, delegate work to other committee members, and make sure the committee runs smoothly. We generally expect this role to be 5+ hours a week, and it is a 12 month position.
  • Toby nominates Nick for reelection, Pat seconds, and Nick accepts.
  • No other nominations, Nick is reelected unopposed.

Secretary

  • The secretary’s role is to maintain the formal legal and governance obligations of running the association. We generally expect this role to be 3-4 hours a week, and it is a 12 month position.
  • Nick nominates Toby for reelection, Sharon seconds, and Toby accepts.
  • No other nominations, Toby is reelected unopposed.

Treasurer

  • The treasurer’s role is to handle all matters financial. We generally expect this role to be 4-5 hours a week, and it is a 24 month position.
  • No nominations, the position is vacant and the committee will discuss internally whether to appoint someone or seek further indications of interest.

General Members x2

  • General members are tasked with supporting the current needs of the organisation in various ways. They could be focused on things like a website or sponsorship, social media, other member communication. The general goal is to utilise the strengths and interests of every member to their best effect and generally give them autonomy over what they do. Time commitment is 2-3 hours a week and these are 12-month terms.
  • The general members whose terms have finished are Lee, who’s been focused on Rails Girls and the ruby.org.au website, and Sharon who has been focused on Rails Girls.
  • Nick: nominates Sharon and Lee for reelection, Mark seconds, Sharon and Lee accept.
  • No other nominations. Sharon and Lee are reelected unopposed.

General Business (Pat Allan)

  • Nick: I’d like to take a moment to note the passing of Mike Rogers, a member of the Ruby Australia community despite not being located in Australia, and who did amazing work to connect the Ruby community worldwide.
  • Dwight: Are there online meetings? Nick: Yes, committee meetings are held monthly online.
  • Nick raises the now-traditional issue of “a hat for Pat”, which Pat deflects gracefully.
  • No other general business raised.
  • Pat thanks everyone for their time, attendance, and everything we do to make things easier and better for our community. Looking forward to Rails Camp.
  • Toby: Thank you to Ryan Bigg for many years as Treasurer in a difficult and often-thankless task.

Meeting closed at 8:17PM AEDT.