Ruby Australia Special General Meeting (SGM) Minutes - May 2021



  • Pat Allan
  • Nick Wolf
  • Kieran Andrews
  • Ryan Bigg
  • Toby Nieboer
  • Mark Glossop
  • Lee Sheppard
  • Sharon Vaughan
  • Kirsten Comandich
  • Katie McLaughlin
  • Melissa Kaulfuss
  • Lauren Hennessy
  • Kevin Garcia-Fernandez


  • Mathew Button


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 six months.
  • Thanks to all committee members for their help, a well-functioning team.
  • Toby and Kieran have been working on RubyConf 2022 - looks as though we may be able to secure dates, though this will be difficult given the uncertainty around COVID. Unfortunate that we weren’t able to run a conference in 2021, but aware that there are many attendees, sponsors and other participants who are looking forward to 2022.
  • Kieran in in the process of organising a September Rails Camp, with tentative dates of September 10-13, but will defer to his report on this.
  • Rails Girls - special thanks to Sharon and Lee who are organising Rails Girls events in Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Meetups - thanks to RORO organisers, including Mat in Sydney, the outgoing Celia and Vanessa in Melbourne and Kevin who has taken up the mantle.
  • Thanks to Mark for organising our sponsors, a tough situation given the uncertainty around COVID, and the cancellation of events that are parts of the sponsorship package. Great work on documentation as well.
  • Thanks to our benevolent treasurer for life (in his own words) Ryan for keeping the bills paid.
  • Please feel free to reach out if you are keen to find out more about volunteering.
  • No questions for Nick.

Treasurer’s Report (Ryan Bigg)

  • Not much to report as we haven’t run any conferences or camps this year.
  • Cost of running Ruby Australia at the moment is $8,000, for accounting and for public liability insurance.
  • About $120,000 in the bank right now. This is our war chest for when we run camps and conferences.
  • Comment from Mark that the balance is there to make things like venue deposits and catering payments in advance possible. Ryan confirms that this balance is what makes securing conference venues possible rather than waiting for ticket sales.
  • No further questions for Ryan.

Sponsorship (Mark Glossop)

  • Took over sponsorship from Aaron Moodie, has taken some time to get his head around it.
  • Recap that due to COVID, 2019-2020 sponsorships have been held over - we have not been able to fulfil our end in terms of events being held. Initially this was through the end of 2020, then to the end of the 2020-2021 financial year.
  • Thank you to our sponsors, who have been incredibly understanding, compassionate, and accommodating.
  • Improved viability of events at the moment, but still a lot of uncertainty as to whether they will actually go ahead.
  • That said, we do anticipate most sponsors will want to renew, and there are even some new sponsors expressing interest.
  • We do need to build in contingencies for disruptions to our normal event schedule in our next sponsorship prospectus. This is a work in progress.
  • If your company or organisation is interested in sponsorship, please contact
  • No questions for Mark.

RailsCamp Adelaide (Kieran Andrews)

  • Had to cancel the originally scheduled Rails Camp in Adelaide due to COVID.
  • Now seeing some other events being scheduled (e.g PAX) that are giving us some confidence that the camp can be scheduled, so we’re trying again.
  • Venue has been very accommodating with changes in schedule, and we’ve got some tentative dates of September 10-13 at Camp Woodhouse in Adelaide. We’ll be confirming this via the Rails Camp AU Twitter and website.
  • Thanks to the previous organising team, Erin and Matt, who have decided to step down from organising the new camp, and to Sam who has decided to continue on. They’ve all made organising the new camp simple due to the amount of work they’ve already done.
  • Call for volunteers on the day - contact Kieran.
  • We’re reconfiguring the website, adding all the relevant information, and the plan is for tickets to be 100% refundable in the event that something else does happen.
  • Question from Toby: do we have a minimum viable number of attendees? Kieran says there’s a number in mind for us to break even, maybe 60 people? Depends on what we spend the money on in terms of catering vs self-catering, for example.
  • Question from Nick about werewolf mitigation planning.
  • No further questions for Kieran.

RubyConf AU (Toby Nieboer)

  • Committee decided we ultimately had the responsibility for ensuring a conference goes ahead, rather than waiting for a volunteering team to raise their hands.
  • Taken it on ourselves to kickstart the process, and if others want to join in then fantastic.
  • Lot of uncertainty around regulations, venues, attendees, speakers etc - made sense to get some professional help with organising the conference this year. We’ve reached out to Deborah Langley who assisted on a part-time basis with the 2019 conference and was invaluable in the early stages with venue selection and negotiation.
  • Still very early stages, but watch this space.
  • No questions for Toby.

Rails Girls (Sharon Vaughan/Lee Sheppard)

  • Sharon: HotDoc are helping out with a location for the Melbourne event, pencilled in for the 3rd of July. There will be ticketing soon and a callout for mentors as well.
  • Lee: We have a location, just waiting on them to confirm and running through a few things with them - in particular the availability of wifi for attendees. Not just a case of having tables and chairs. But we’ve got a tentative date, and advertising/calls for mentors will start soon.
  • Question from Katie: how will the callout for mentors happen? Sharon: we usually put the word out through meetups, tap people on the shoulder, put the call out to people we work with, or organisations like Tech Leading Ladies or Code Like A Girl. Twitter and too. Lee: having Ruby Australia step in as the central organising body for Rails Girls has been a great step forward. Being able to centralise the call for mentors and registration for mentors as well is something Sharon and I are going to discuss.

Meetups (Kevin Garcia-Fernandez/Mark Glossop)

  • Kevin: Melbourne meetups are still going ahead! Looks like we’ll still be online for a while.
  • Question from Toby: any word from Zenddesk on conditions for meeting in person at their location again? Kevin: good idea, especially as regulations are easing up.
  • Note from Nick: thanks to Celia and Vanessa as the outgoing Melbourne organisers, on behalf of himself and the Ruby community as a whole.
  • Mark: Perth is still having irregular in-person meetings - that’s not a flex, I’ve had bigger family gatherings. Tried to regularly meet up second Wednesday of each month, some hiccups along the way. Very much appreciate the sponsorship as food at meetups is a good thing.
  • When we move back to in-person meetups, we should consider still having a virtual Australia-wide meetup.
  • No further question 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.
  • Three roles up for election: Vice President and two General Members. All one year terms.
  • 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.
  • No nominations ahead of time for any role.


  • The vice-president’s chief role is to assist the president in their duties, and take on the president’s duties whenever the president is absent. They can also assist other members with their roles as needed. We generally expect this role to be 4-5 hours a week a 12 month position.
  • Toby nominates Kieran for reelection, Nick seconds, and Kieran accepts.
  • No other nominations, Kieran is reelected unopposed.

General Members x2

  • General members are tasked with supporting the current needs of the organization in various ways. They could be focused on things like a website or sponsorship, social media, other member communication. The general goal is to utilize 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 Mark, who’s been focused on sponsorship, and Mat who has been focused on meetups.
  • Nick: Mat has expressed interest in standing again, so while he’s not technically here I can confirm he’s self-nominated and I second.
  • Mark: self-nominates and Toby seconds.
  • No other nominations. Mark and Mat are reelected unopposed.

Outgoing Committee (Pat Allan)

  • No outgoing committee members to thank, so a general thank you to the current committee for their ongoing work.

General Business (Pat Allan)

  • No general business raised.
  • Nick: thank you to Pat for running this meeting, as always.
  • Nick attempts to derail the conversation with hat discussion, for the second consecutive general meeting.
  • Pat calls the meeting to a close, hoping that all are “keeping well, and having fun, and that you survived the past year without too many scars”.
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