Ruby Australia Special General Meeting (SGM) Minutes - April 2020

27th April 2020
7:00pm AEST / 6:30pm ACST / 5:00pm AWST


  • Pat Allan
  • Ryan Bigg
  • Kieran Andrews
  • Mark Glossop
  • Mathew Button
  • Aaron Moodie
  • Ali Graham
  • Lauren Hennessy
  • Toby Nieboer
  • Vanessa Nimmo
  • Nick Wolf
  • Anton Katunin
  • Keith Pitty
  • Murray-Luke Peard
  • Celia Colquhoun King
  • Lee Sheppard
  • Kirsten Comandich


  • Rachael Goodenough
  • Caroline Bambrick
  • Cameo Langford


Meeting began at 7:05pm AEST

Introduction (Pat Allan)

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

Ratify Previous GM Minutes (Pat Allan)

  • From October 14th, 2019.
  • Use the yes/no feature to vote.
  • Lauren Hennessy: how many votes to pass?
  • A majority of votes (yes vs no).
  • Mark Glossop: I remember them being accurate when I read them when they were first published.
  • Murray-Luke Peard: No need for absolute majority of all present, just those who don’t abstain.
  • Toby Nieboer: Anton Katunin is quoted in the minutes, but not in the attendees list.
  • Aaron Moodie: the remarks from Anton were offered ahead of time, he wasn’t present.
  • Motion passes without dissent.

President’s Report (Pat Allan)

  • Last six months have been mostly focused on supporting event teams.
  • Also documenting processes for events.
  • A lot of discussion in the committee around COVID-19 uncertainty. Nothing clear at this point, but will remain a discussion point.
  • Greatly appreciate the efforts of the committee for the past six months, and looking forward to working with everyone for the next six months (and beyond).

Treasurer’s Report (Ryan Bigg)

  • Currently have $105k in the bank.
  • Over the last six months, we’ve had $170k of income, $62k of that from sponsorship, thank you to sponsers, and the rest from RubyConf AU tickets.
  • $133k of outgoing expenses, largely for the RubyConf AU venue and catering ($103k combined), event management ($5k), and video recording ($5k). Also includes $10k operating costs for Ruby Australia (such as $3.7k for public liability insurance).
  • Puts us ahead by $26k compared to six months ago.
  • Normally we would be spending money right now on meetup catering costs, but those events aren’t happening in person due to COVID-19.
  • Instead, spending money on Zoom, Meetup, etc to support the online meets.
  • No current expenses on the horizon related to Rails Camp, also because of COVID-19.
  • Hope we can see each other all in person again at events before the end of the year.

Sponsorship Report (Aaron Moodie)

  • Took over from previous committee member Sonya Corcoran in the past six months.
  • Focus has been primarily on RubyConf AU 2020, and worked with the event manager Deborah Langley to support our sponsors at the conference.
  • Current sponsorship period was due to end with the close of the financial year.
  • Currently discussing the COVID-19 situation with sponsors, given events aren’t happening.
  • Will be looking for sponsors for the following financial year, and following up with leads about this from the conference.
  • Please get in touch if you/your company is interested in sponsoring.

Event Reports

Rails Camp November 2019 (Vanessa Nimmo)

  • 73 tickets bought, 68 attendees.
  • Had an unconference, with four long talks, three lightning talks, a discussion group, and a book club session.
  • $3k under budget.
  • Additional sponsorship from MYOB and REA, along with community donations.
  • Highlights: campfire, local takeaway dinner, ducks.

Rails Camp Adelaide May 2020 (Kieran Andrews)

  • Thanks to fellow organisers Matt, Sam and Erin.
  • Camp has been postponed, hoping for late 2020.
  • Want interstate travel to be safe and gatherings of 100 people allowed.
  • More details will be shared via the website and Twitter.

RubyConf AU 2020 (Rachael Goodenough)

  • (Pat speaking on behalf of Rachael Goodenough)
  • Occured in February, around 300 people attending, at Melbourne Town Hall. Great speakers, great fun, great people.
  • Thank you to the team: Rache, Caitlin, Deb, Ben, Emily, Mel.

RubyConf AU 2021 (Pat Allan)

  • Timing of the last conference was lucky.
  • Aiming for Feb/March 2021
  • We don’t know what next year’s conference will look like. Not sure if we can have large gatherings (or how large).
  • Maybe an online-only event? Could add in gatherings closer to the date if allowed?
  • But if planning’s going to start soon, online is most viable.
  • Still need volunteers to help organise the event.
  • Last two conferences have been in Melbourne, but we remain open to other locations - really comes down to what the volunteer team running the event prefers.
  • Even though Melbourne dominates Australian Ruby events, we are keen to see events happen elsewhere!
  • Feel free to get in touch if you have ideas.

Rails Girls (Pat Allan)

  • No events in the past six months in Australia.
  • Not sure when the next ones will take place.
  • Lee Sheppard has floated the idea of an online event, but nothing confirmed.
  • Celia: may some ideas on how to do this.

Meetups (Pat Allan)

  • Are still happening online in Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Really happy that these are happening, and allows others elsewhere to attend.
  • We are paying for a Zoom account dedicated to these meets.
  • Vanessa Nimmo: we are hoping to continue occasional online meetups even when in-person is allowed so those who can’t otherwise make the in-person events still get a chance to attend and connect.
  • Keith Pitty: in support of Vanessa’s idea.
  • Nick Wolf: you could combine them into a single regular remote Australia-wide meet, alongside the regular in-person events.
  • Nick Wolf: some other (non-Ruby) meets have directed their sponsorship funds to support health workers.
  • Pat: we’ve had a similar conversation within the committee, raised by Caroline Bambrick. We decided at that time we won’t take this approach, because of event losses over the recent years and thus we don’t have as much of a financial buffer as we would prefer. Not ruling out such support in the future though. We like the idea, just a question of whether it’s practical and wise for our financial situation.

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.
  • Three roles up for election: Vice President and two General Members. All one year terms.
  • Votes only required if more than one candidate per position.

Vice President (Ryan Bigg)

  • Role is in support of the President and other committee, and steps in to run meetings, etc if the President is unavailable. One year term.
  • No nominations ahead of time.
  • Anton Katunin nominates Toby Nieboer, but Toby declines.
  • Toby Nieboer nominates Anton Katunin, but Anton declines.
  • Keith Pitty nominates Kieran Andrews, seconded by Nick Wolf, and Kieran accepts the nomination.
  • Kieran Andrews is elected unopposed, congratulations.

General Members (Ryan Bigg)

  • Two positions to fill. The role can be focused on specific tasks: website, sponsorship, communication, but also open to a variety of things as a general assistance to the committee. One year term.
  • Keith Pitty: has Kieran stepped from a General Member to VP and thus we need three new General Members?
  • Pat Allan: no, Kieran’s General Member term was finishing anyway, so just need two General Members.
  • One nomination ahead of time by Rowena Stewart for Mathew Button (who accepts the nomination).
  • Mark Glossop nominates himself for the role.
  • Mathew Button and Mark Glossop are elected unopposed, congratulations.

Outgoing Committee (Pat Allan)

  • Thank you to Cameo and Caroline who have served on the committe for the past twelve months.

General Business

  • Mark Glossop: Some recent committee meeting minutes are missing.
  • Pat Allan: Rache (as secretary) has been caught up with conference organising, but there are recordings, and the minutes will be published.
  • Keith Pitty: Thanks to Pat for initiating the online meetings.
  • Pat Allan: Thanks, though the idea was suggested by Melissa Kaulfuss, so thank you to her.
  • Lauren Hennessy: The idea has been floated around for a while.
  • Lauren Hennessy: Following up on Nick’s question about use of funds for charities, etc - what’s the best way for people to raise such questions/ideas outside of these meetings?
  • Pat Allan: best to email - or you can DM me on Slack, or via - email is best from a conversation history perspective, so future office bearers still have access to that discussion.
  • Aaron Moodie: This is such a great community, and especially while we can’t meet in person, the national online meets are a great idea. If anyone else has ideas on what we can do while in-person events aren’t allowed, please do share that in Slack with committee and others.
  • Nick Wolf: Currently thinking about what a remote Rails Camp could look like.
  • Murray-Luke Peard: I support the idea of using funds to support charities, but our sponsors may need to be part of that discussion?
  • Pat Allan: Our money comes in via event tickets and sponsors, and spend the money on events and meet catering. RailsGirls, Meets are run at a loss, there’s no attendance fees. Rails Camp runs at roughly break-even. RubyConf AU is usually run at a profit, but lately has been a loss a couple of times. Excellent point about having the sponsors on board if we do donate.
  • Nick Wolf: some other (non-Ruby) meets have sponsors for Zoom accounts - do we want to be sponsors to other meets who lack such sponsorship to use our Zoom account?
  • Pat Allan: Great idea. We could discuss this further, but would need to be careful if it’s a shared account that the meets don’t clash. If you hear of groups that need this support, please do get in touch.

Meeting Closed (Pat Allan)

  • Thanks everyone for attending. Hope you’re all finding moments of calm. I look forward to hanging out with you all in person soon. Take care.

Meeting closed at 8:05pm AEST

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