Ruby Australia Annual General Meeting - October 2019

15th October 2019
7:00pm AEDT / 6:30pm ACDT / 6:00pm AEST / 5:30pm ACST / 4:00pm AWST


  • Pat Allan
  • Rachael Goodenough
  • Ryan Bigg
  • Caroline Bambrick
  • Kieran Andrews
  • Matthew Stevenson
  • Dan Cheail
  • Melissa Kaulfuss
  • Nick Wolf
  • Merrin Macleod
  • Lee Sheppard
  • Tim Riley
  • Aaron Moodie
  • Toby Nieboer
  • Anto Dominic
  • Mark Glossop
  • Kirsten Comandich
  • Lauren Hennessy

Pat: Good afternoon or evening depending on your location. Thank you and welcome to the AGM for 2019.

We really appreciate everyone being here and taking time out of their day to be on the call. Pat does an awesome acknowledgement of country.

I think I know most of you on this call, but in case you don’t know who I am, I’m Pat Allan, the current President of Ruby Australia and regular host for this meeting.

This is the Annual General Meeting for Ruby Australia. We are an organisation that is dedicated to supporting the community and events around Australia that are focused on the Ruby programming language. We’ve been around since 2011. We provide financial and institutional support for RubyConf AU, Rails Camps, Rails Girls and Ruby Meetups, and many events around Australia. The committee themselves don’t run these events directly (though some of us do get involved in the separate teams) - but everyone in the event and committee teams are volunteers, and we are very proud of them and their efforts.

Note: this is our first online AGM; previously we’ve held them at Rails Camps. This time around I don’t have the advantage of seeing everyone’s faces, but it’s a bit of an experiment. Thank you for being part of the experiment! For those of you who didn’t see the email, as we go through each agenda item, if you have something to say, don’t unmute and interrupt, used the raise hand button, we’ll then call on you and ask you to share what you want to share, just so we can keep things focused. Does anyone have any questions right now?

We’re going to have a vote in a second to acknowledge the last minutes from the last AGM are accepted, using the yes/no buttons. Any thoughts or questions before we go to that vote?

Nick Wolf: In the event that we want to abstain from voting, we just don’t use a symbol at all?

Pat: Correct. I’ll give everyone 15 or 20 seconds, if you don’t want to vote, just don’t vote. Thanks Nick for trying out the raised hand.

Pat: Ok we will have a vote if we accept the minutes. Please use the yes or no icons.

Alright. The vote has passed without dissent. You can now remove the yes from beside your name. Alright next on the agenda is the presidents report which is me -

President’s Report:

I have spent the last 12 months in this role surrounded by some wonderful humans and others who came before. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved:

  • We now have a formalised membership list. It’s driven through our website, previously anyone could be a Ruby Australia member if they attended one of our events, this was easy but vague. We also needed to collect postal addresses in particular for all our members so they can communicate between themselves, as well as us to them, again that is a legal requirement.
  • We also ran a survey to get some feedback from demographics of our community, this was kickstarted by the previous committee. Got a bunch of results, it took a bit longer than we hoped to get the results out. I’m posting a link into the chat so you have something to look at. These charts aren’t looking as wonderful as they could, this is really a focus on demographics. We got a bunch of feedback about events run under Ruby Australia’s name, and will collate responses and pass on to event organisers in an aggregated format. We will probably tidy up the look and copy of that link over the next week or so and then make some noise on slack and twitter. Feel free to send feedback our way.
  • We’ve brought these meetings online as you are all very much aware because you’re here. Thanks to Mel Kaulfuss who suggested this. Bringing the AGM online also meant we needed a constitutional change - which was done at the last General Meeting, in May. The best thing is that it lets anyone around Australia to contribute and have their say, you don’t need to be present at a Rails Camp.
  • Generally we’ve been tidying up processes in the committee – such as expressions of interest (EOI) for organising RubyConf AU and Rails Camp. We are looking for expressions of interest for the next camp, by the way.
  • We also have made some process improvements for our Code of Conduct and how that information is shared.
  • We’ve got a bunch of new sponsors for this financial year which we’ll hear more later in this meeting.

All of this has been done, not only done by the current committee but also previous committee members, much love and many thanks. Are there any questions?

Merrin Macleod: Can we share the survey results? It’s definitely interesting seeing the results in there.

Pat: Yeaaaaaahhhhhh, I think we want to tidy up that page a little more. Once we have tweeted it out in the next week or so you can make as much noise as you like.

Treasurer’s Report

Ryan Bigg: Hi Everyone, I’m the Ruby Australia Treasurer.

Ruby Australia’s accounts have been holding a healthy keel. While we spent big on the last RubyConf AU this year, we still have enough money to keep the association going for awhile. We have $144k in the bank. This money has been helped by the new financial year and the new round of sponsorship payments. There are some further potential sponsors on the horizon, so we’ll hopefully have a nice war chest, or a better word, we don’t go to war with our attendees, we help them.

Break down on some numbers for this financial year:

  • We’ve had $84k income, $55k was sponsorship and $34k is made up from sales from Rails Camp and RubyConf AU. As I said before, we’re having conversations with additional sponsors but if you want to sponsor Ruby Australia’s work, we would love for you to get in touch with our sponsor liaison and get some money from you to help run our events. We use these sponsorship funds to put on our events: the conference, Rails Camps, meetups, RailsGirls, and occasionally ElixirGirls.
  • So far we have $30k worth of expenses this year, so we also have money going out. This may not seem like much but we’re about to start laying down a heap of money for conferences coming up.
  • Biggest component of the $30k is the 12k deposit we’ve put down for Melbourne Town Hall for the conf. Other expenses are paying for accountants, operation costs, and meetups.
  • Also I’ll raise that ROROs have a budget of $10 per head; the meetup organisers can spend this however you please, we don’t tell you how to spend the money, it’s more of a guideline. Currently paying for Melbourne, Sydney & Perth food. We haven’t heard anything from Brisbane or Canberra in awhile, can someone please check to see if they’re still alive.
  • And if anyone is from these locations and wants to get Ruby AU to pay for your stuff, please get in touch and we can work out a payment plan. In terms of future treasury plans we have the healthy bank balance, would love to have a healthy forecasting plan/report. That’s everything from the treasury report. Any questions?

Nick Wolf: in regards to the meetup related stuff, I’m aware that MeetUp is experiencing difficulties. If meetup does fold or close, where would RubyAu shift our meetups?

Pat: Ummm I don’t think meetup is going to disappear, they did send out an email saying “We’re still here”. Not sure what we would switch to, I have no idea what better tools are out there. Definitely they have the largest part of the market. For sure, it’s a potential future problem, but I guess we deal with it if and when we need to.

Sponsorship Update:

Pat: Sonya Corcoran has been our sponsorship liaison for the last 12 months and has done a stellar job. She’s had work stuff tonight so can’t be here, so Caroline is going to provide the update instead.

Caroline Bambrick: For the financial year of 2019 to 2020 we have our Emerald sponsors - Envato, Culture Amp and Twilio, Buildkite are Sapphire, & LookAhead are Opal. We’re so lucky to have the support of all of these companies year after year and its greatly appreciated. Were also open to the support of more companies, if anyone is interested please let us know.

Pat: Any questions for Caz?


Pat: Last Rail Camp was in Perth, the next camp is next month. There has been some overlap in the organising teams which has really helped them. Caroline’s sharing the report from Vanessa Nimmo and Celia King, who have been part of both camp teams:

Caroline: The Perth Rails camp was the 25th camp, ticket sales were a little low, likely to do with the distance but it did make for a cosy camp. We really appreciated how everyone mucked in for the camp, strong tribe of people making things their problems – cleaning up, packing up, brought together a lovely community vibe.

It looks like the next camp will be a similarly lovely group to spend time with. With a surplus of $14k, we’re able to offer a healthy opportunity program.

Pat: Link for Rails Camp can be found online on twitter or slack.

Any questions around those two camps?

We are also hoping to have (number 27) which we would expect to take place around May/ June next year, still looking for expressions of interest for anyone who is open to organising a camp. Particularly from the regions that haven’t been hosted in awhile - NSW / SA/ ACT.

This coming camp is in Melbourne, and that happened because our volunteers are in Melbourne, which helps emphasise the fact that if you want a camp in your area, please put your hand up. We have plenty of documentation which you can rely on. It’s not too scary but it is a bit of work.

RubyConf AU

Rachael Goodenough: So we launched last week, the organisers are myself, Emily, Ben and Caitlin with a significant amount of help from Pat. We do also have a proper event planner too.

We’re locked in for February next year. We have locked in our keynote, in the process of locking in our second keynote. We have our MCs - Mel and Caitlin. The location is at the Melbourne Town Hall. Early bird tickets are now available. CFP until the 31st but we’ll likely extend to the 8th November

Ryan: 43 early bird tickets left.

Pat: Also, the next next conf is a while away but it is a good time to start thinking about potential organisers, so if people are interested let us know. Melbourne has dominated as a location over the history of the conference, which has generally been better for tickets sales but that doesn’t mean that we always want to have it in Melbourne. If you want to run in it another location, let us know.

Rails Girls

Pat: We’ve had Rails Girls take place recently in Melbourne and Sydney; For Sydney, Sonya’s note is that they had an amazing mentor turnout in particular and it remarkable to see previous attendees bringing their daughters this time around.

Rachael: Good times, went along, lovely people, awesome dahl, great learning. Keen to help out with the next one

Pat: Sounds like Melbourne and Sydney at the least will have a RailsGirls next year, if anyone is interested from the other cities, let us know. Then hit us up for financial support when required.


Pat: We do have regular events happening in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Thank you to everyone for making them welcoming and awesome. Don’t have any specific reports here.

The Elections

Pat: For not familiar process, the roles are mostly on 12 months terms, we have 2 x general meetings, we have some elections in mid year and end of the year so we get overlap between committee members.

This time around we have 5 roles up for grabs. President, Treasurer, Secretary and 2 x General Members. We’re going to step through each of those in that order, one at a time. The treasurer role is 2 years which is in our constitution. Everything else is a 1 year term.

If we do end up with just one candidate for any of those roles, then we don’t need to go to a vote. If we have two candidates then we will go to a vote. We do have some nominations recorded over the last month but we will also open the floor for anyone interested. Does anyone have any questions before we get started?

Melissa Kaulfuss: My question is if you don’t fill a position what happens?

Pat: Excellent question. In most cases it’s not essential, we continue on with the meeting, we don’t need to fill the role. The committee can make do, and they can choose an appointment at a later date. The one exception to that rule is that the secretary must be filled within 14 days. I’m going to hand things over to Caz to run this process as I have a conflict of interest.

Caroline: First up is Presidency. Are there any nominations for president?

Pat: I would like to nominate myself to run for another term

Toby Nieboer: I nominate Caz

Caroline: Thanks Toby, ok there ya go

Ryan: Do you accept the nomination?

Caroline: I would like to see Pat continue in the role. I will reject the nomination

Caroline: The position is confirmed, congrats Pat.

Caroline: The next role up for nomination is the Treasurer. Are there any nominations for this role? Ok doesn’t look like there are any nominations, if that’s the case we can move on.

Caroline: The next role is secretary. Are there any nominations for this role?

Rachael: I’ll go again.

Caroline: The position is confirmed. Congratulations Rachael who will continue as Secretary.

Caroline: We now have 2 x General Members that we need to elect. The outgoing members who are currently going out have been focusing on the website and sponsorship. We’ve received 3 nominations leading up to AGM, so we will need to have a vote. These nominees are Aaron Moodie, Lee Sheppard, and Gwennie Warnick.

Aaron Moodie: Hi everyone, I think a few of you know me, I’ve been involved in the Ruby community for a long time. I did the Ruby Australia logo a few years ago. I was nominated at the last camp but declined but I’ve really thought about it since then and would like to join.

Lee Sheppard: I’ve been on non-profit committees in the past. I’ve helped develop constitutions, and helped get them registered. I have 20 years of volunteer experience and I’m currently helping to organise RailsGirls Sydney. I can help develop and nurture policy and guideline and I also have a history of non for profit committees. I’ve got a bit of experience there and help to bring onboard.

Caroline: Gwennie can’t make the call, I will read her statement “I’m nominating myself as I would like to help give back to the ruby committee now that I’ve finished my formal study and have more time”.

Now that we’ve heard from all of the nominations submitted prior to the meeting. Are there any other nominees? No? Ryan can you share the poll in the chat.

Ryan: Everyone has voted [in a poll for the first general member position]. I will end the poll. Aaron Moody has won the poll

Caroline: The second poll will be between Lee and Gwenny.

Ryan: Looks like everyone has finished voting. Congratulations Lee.

Caroline: Congrats to Pat, Rachael, Aaaron and Lee, and thanks to Gwenny for nominating, which is definitely appreciated as well. We still have the matter for no nomination for treasurer. Has anyone had a think if they would like to nominate?

Caroline: Toby is nominating Mel

Melissa Kaulfuss: I was thinking about it, I guess I could accept. How hard could it be right?

Lauren Hennessy: I was going to enquire into Ryan’s feelings if he would have still wanted to do it, but now Mel has put her hand up

Ryan: I don’t want to hog the treasury role, I have really enjoyed doing it every Thursday morning

Melissa Kaulfuss: If I didn’t speak, would you have put your hand up for your nomination

Ryan: Yep

Melissa Kaulfuss: Well I will vote for you

Ryan: Cool well I will nominate myself.

Melissa Kaulfuss: Maybe ill be ready in 2 x years time

Caroline: in that case Ryan, you’re definitely sure you want to continue? In that case congratulations Ryan. And that concludes the nominations. Back to Pat

Pat: that was quite a ride. Thanks Caz for running that, especially seeing as I made that request of you 2 hours ago.

I want to offer a big shout out and thank you to our outgoing committee members Sonya and Matt. Matt did a huge amount of work on the website, and Sonya stepped in as our sponsorship liaison and did a brilliant job there. All of these efforts by the two of them is greatly appreciated and they’ve been massively supportive to myself as President. Really grateful for having them in the team.

Alright everyone can take a breath, elections are out of the way.

General Business

Pat: here we open the floor for any feedback about the community and the association. Keep in mind we probably can’t resolve any issues directly here and now, but we will keep all input in mind.

Does anyone have anything they wish to raise?

Anton Katunin: Can I get some guidance on how to start a new meetup in Melbourne - who is responsible for that, who do I need to speak to?

Pat: I think the best place is to talk to the existing people in that city. In Melbourne Ryan, Vanessa, Celia organise the monthly meeting. James and Tom run the Hackathons. I’d recommend starting a conversation with either of those groups of people. Or start a DM session with all of them on Slack. We just want to make sure you aren’t stepping on anyone else’s toes, from what you’ve said to me previously, it sounds like your idea will be a good addition.

Lee Sheppard: Wanted to raise what we came across with RailsGirls, there was potential that their were under 18s who wanted to attend. We said they would need a guardian to be in attendance or provide permission; in NSW if you’re doing any education you must have a police background check which covers working with minors where a parent/guardian is not present.

We could try to do that with RailsGirls - if we went to the state government and applied to get a validated Working With Children’s Check, there is currently no reporting agency from our side of things. If we’re doing it as a paid service its $120, but if it’s through Ruby Australia offering volunteers to teach people under 18, we could possibly get that check done for free. That means that under 18s can attend. It would be cool if Ruby Australia can provide administrative support by being the associated body responsible for maintaining and registering accredited mentors that can work with minors in a voluntary role. We’d also need to look further into requirements for other states in this regard as they all seem to have different conditions/applications but all do require that people in a role mentoring minors are certified.

Pat: Excellent issue you’ve raised. Would certainly like to find a way through it. It raises questions as to whether we would need every mentor to do it. If its every mentor, that’s a bit trickier logistically, but if it’s just a minimum of one, that’s a bit easier.

Pat: Any other questions that anyone else would like to raise? Well then I think we’ve reached all the matters for this evening’s meeting.

Thank you so much for everyone being here, and everyone who has contributed. Thank you for your patience in this meeting format. Welcome any feedback in the coming days. And generally thank you to everyone is on this call, because I feel you all contribute in large and small ways into making our industry better. Beyond that enjoy the rest of your evening.

Meeting concluded at 8:30pm AEST.

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