Amsterdam Early Bird Toastmasters Club
Executive Committee Meeting
Date: 4 June 2016
Place: Home of Tom Carroll
Purpose of Meeting: Kick-off Executive Committee and clarification officers roles
Club officers 2016-2017:
Tom Carrol Club President
Babs Servaas VP of Education
Claudia Claire Esajas VP Membership
Facila Nanhekhan VP Public Relations
Rob Hawley Club Treasurer
Francesco Minafra Club Secretary
Rob van der Burgt Sergeant at Arms
Present to the meeting: Tom (Chair & Recorder), Babs, Claudia, Facila, Rob H, Francesco (Recorder), Rob vdB
Start time: 11:10
1. Call to order from the Club President
Tom: idea is to have these meetings regularly (about every 6 weeks, coordinating them with the club meetings), to discuss the status of businesses of the club and the vision of the officers on future actions for growth of the club.
The venue will be communicated time by time, but as a norm for every meeting everyone should bring something to eat/nibble
2. Club Officer Roles’ introduction and vision for the club
Tom: I am very impressed of how all in the club seems to run smoothly and how everything is setup so quickly, and we are about to be a chartered club soon.
I invite everyone to tell what she/he thinks about the role covered and what she/he wants to achieve for the quarter.
We can either start the round in order of rank of the officers or in order how we are sitting around the (coffee) table. Given the setup, let’s follow the order in which we are sitting. Rob vdB starts.
Facila: let’s assume that if nobody opposes to a proposal made during the meeting, the proposal is intended as approved
All: everyone agrees
Sergeant at Arms
Rob vdB: first want to make a premise – The Toastmaster experience is supposed to be very interactive. I have the impression that we don’t have that much level of interaction in our club.
Then regarding my vision for the functioning of the club, and how my role fits into this vision I’d like to state the following points:
people should arrive on time at the meetings
they should make sure to have their own pen/paper/manuals for taking notes/evaluations
practical details that are only relevant for single individuals like “adjusting the curtains” should be left to the initiative of the single meeting attendees
the whole process of welcoming members and guests (specially if there are two or three new attendees, who should be given special attention) should be delegated to the VP Membership
if someone wants to do small-talk she/he should do that outside after the meeting has been adjourned, to not complicate the operations of clearance of the room. It is however recognized the importance of giving a short feedback on the spot, rather than postponing it to a message sent via email.
offering a cup of coffee to everyone in the morning before the meeting gives me a “purpose for the day”, in other words allows me to make contact more easily with other people.
I’d like to see that everyone in her/his role aims at “raising the bar” of the simple fulfillment of the role.
I would prefer “to be clear, rather than to be nice”. In the life you must face failure or you may not grow.
Facila replies: If I understood correctly, you would like to see the Executive Board to act professionally and stress the importance of connection alongside the rules.
I’d like to see everyone in the club creating an independent attitude, which is not there yet. If we set up too many rules, it can become boring. About the “organic” approach: we can go for this approach when we have reached a “club and individual or member attitude” that everybody is pro active and perform his/her task on time. This is a foundation of time management and also attitude, which is necessary to run the meeting in 1 hour. When we have this in the Club there will be more space for an organic approach. The basic rules that I see fundamental are inspired by the “lean and mean” concept. The rest can be inspired by the “organic” approach.
Tom replies: If I recall correctly, Rob doesn’t like to have signs hanging outside the window of the venue, so that to not compromise this human connection effort that he is making. However we should keep in mind that if some guest arrives unannounced, they should be able to know where to go, who to meet and in this a sign would be very helpful. It would also help in situations where club members are not fully aware of the customary rules of behavior (example: someone goes to the restroom and should have the care of returning back to the meeting room only when there are minimum chances of disturbing, e.g. during the applauses).
One thing that I suggest to Rob vdB is to make a choice of what is better in terms of signs. For example if the current signs are ugly, Rob could create new ones in his own preferred style.
One side question about the role of Sergeant at Arms: have we already found someone who should be the preferred suppliers of things like the paper for the flip board, for the coffee etc.?
As a suggestion we should consider having something like a little jar where attendees can leave some change for the things like coffee/cookies.
Rob vdB replies: not arranged that yet
Facila replies: Just be prepared for the unexpected. Signs are helpful to get structure for arrival/bathroom/reminders in general.
About the preferred suppliers for the materials: I have a membership at “Macro”, but that is not cheaper than the normal street shops.
Rob vdB: one last comment about the climate that I feel in the club – I hear people complaining that “they don’t have time” for committing to the business of this club, which can mean as simply as registering for a speech or covering a leadership role.
Facila replies: On this last point we should consider that a club like ours requires a different leadership approach than what is found in a business.
Francesco: Still keen on making/keeping this club “paperless”.
On this topic, wanted to recall that we are waiting for the official confirmation from TMI about the chartering process. Once we are a chartered club, every member will be able to use the official Toastmasters application on iOS/Android to send online evaluations.
I will plan and utilize a pilot group of club members to experiment the effectiveness of the online application. Timeframe: TBD
Rob H: Regular tasks of the Treasurer are described the Toastmasters manual. My goals for the quarter are as follows:
Setup the administration system
Maintain it updated
Monitor the subscription fees (it is expected an increase of the fees soon)
Take note of plans and how to manage/spend funds
Open a bank account
Using a simulated plan of incomes and expenses, Rob shows how we can keep our finances healthy by adding some more members.
Tom: Please everyone, before planning any activity that may affect the budget contact Rob H for making sure that the activities won’t affect negatively our finances.
Some updates about what has been done recently: 1) From the chartering process we will get certificates. These have been already paid, so there is no impact on our current finances. 2) We do have 3 extra “new member kits”. They are for sale if we were to use them for any new member to our club, per usual. We are helping another club with giving them the manuals, which they will in turn sell.
Today Bill Monsur (sponsor of our club) attended the morning meeting. Tom asked to the VP Membership if anything has been agreed in regard the handing of those 3 manuals in excess. Claudia answers that nothing has been agreed, and that she didn’t have the manuals with her today.
Facila: What about the process on how the decisions are taken about the finances of the club? Is this done individually by the treasurer or by the executive committee as a team?
Tom answers: Theoretically the treasurer reports to the president, who will then bring the discussion to the committee. Everything regarding the finances is kept transparent by recording the data on the website “easy speak”. Also the committee meeting minutes, prepared by the treasurer, will be made available on easy speak.
Babs: does the money that comes from the subscription fees include any fee that is reserved for our training?
Tom answers: Some clubs have abundance of money, some others like us who have just started our journey are short in cash, and have to be wise in spending their funds.
Rob H: The aim is to have always a minimum of 500 Eur in the bank all the time (the so called “reserve”). At the moment we need to enroll more members, otherwise we will loose 20 Eur/year according to the projected expenses planning.
VP Public Relations
Facila: The following are the ideas that I have for the upcoming months
prepare one document per year to be used as a planning reference. Will make the plan in one a4-sheet
make the club visible on LinkedIn/Facebook. Tom made Facila co-admin of the already existing Facebook group of the club, and will remove people that are currently member of that group but are not members of the club.
Will need to check with people if they agree to have their pictures posted on social media or not
am not an expert of social media, so will need some help on this
we will be careful on who to enroll in the social media pages: the idea is to keep it restricted to the members of the club only.
Initial idea is to let the club grow until 30 people. Once this number has been reached, I will not put any more effort in growing the members base. This will be done via Linkedin and other channels.
Once a week, try to publish updates on Facebook and keep people involved. I will not be able to visit Facebook every day, but will try to do this at least once a week.
The ambition for the PR is that at the end of the year the club becomes “distinguished” or at least at a better recognition level than it is now
Special effort will be put after the holiday seasons (September after summer and January after Christmas) because the interest of people in the club in those times can attract other people
Arrange for the club to have one annual lunch/picnic (only for members)
In general the PR communication inside the club will be shaped differently than the PR communication for the outside of the club
Claudia: here are some points and considerations regarding my role
So far I have been assisting new members with their applications and during the meetings.
Most of the communication is being done via email, and so far seems to go very well.
About the recruitment of new members: I have to look at the “building membership” program from the TMI
A reminder to the treasurer: If some member decides to leave the club within 6 months of their subscription, they have right to a refund. This means that if anyone of us has gotten the news of a member intention to leave, she/he should immediately inform the VP membership and the Treasurer
I’d like to encourage members to bring new guests. The last meetings have seen 3 new members arriving. The idea is that we can grow, but we don’t want to do it too quickly
If someone shows lack of interest, then the VP membership will take the initiative to talk to the person and possibly find the reasons.
We want to be in a win-win situation for the club and for the members. If the decision arises because of personal reasons (like moving place) then there is no reason to really investigate
Tom replies: about the ideal number of people in the club – the aim is to have at max 25 people and a waiting list. This seems to be a healthy number based on the experience of other clubs. It allows us to be always active and rotate sufficiently the roles at the meetings while keeping the group manageable.
- - - short discussion about a member wanting to leave
Committee: Regarding the matter of people that express the intention to leave the club, Member can sign off after 6 months. In that case Treasurer wants to know as soon as possible, because half of the yearly fee will be refunded.
Facila: It is important that everyone learns at his/her own pace. We don’t want to force anyone to stay in the club
Babs: in general, if something like that happens in the club (let’s call it a “crisis”), who has to be informed? Does that go on the shoulders of the VP Education and the President? Most likely VPM or VPPR will reach out to member. President only when it has to do with unwanted behavior by one of the members in the club.
Babs: here are the main points about my role
plan and find out how everything works for the club education
make sure to be able to explain things to the club members
recently represented our club to a district council meeting
I am supposed to read the “leader letter”, whichis a newsletter from TMI
also in my todo list:
Start a mentoring program
how and when to introduce tabletopics, stated that we are very short in time at our meetings. Introducing tabletopics alongside the normal speeches becomes challenging
often we don’t have a reserve speaker
need to visit other clubs for networking
in short: there is a lot on the plate of the VP Education
Tom: I knew that we would have overflowed on the topics and the times. For the next meetings I would like to arrange an ordered agenda, with times and topic slots to be respected by everyone.
About the role of Club President, I have the following ideas:
Make sure that everyone is doing her/his part in the club
Very important is to continue with the same pace as we have been growing until now.
I suggest that you fully utilize the 3 hours of the officers’ training meeting at full, so that you can build on the experience that other officers have matured in their own clubs
If you have doubt about the procedures and everything that is related to the functioning of the TM programs, don’t hesitate to call TMI in California. They will be happy to help. We are a paying club after all, and they give us support.
The goal for the full year is to get the club to get recognition in the Distinguished Club Program
By attending the officers’ training in Tilburg, we will get points valid for the DCP. But to get DCP, we also need to achieve one Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)
We should clarify with dual-membersfor which clubtheir loyalty points count? Early Birds or other Toastmasters Club?
This is a general question for anyone who is a “dual member”, and while Sander’s name was mentioned in the meeting, his name should not be used in the agreed minutes.
About improving the process for the CL tracks: we can also create a separate role for CL evaluators in Easy Speak. However there will be no credits awarded for covering these roles.
There may be the need that in some meeting we skip some speeches and use the time for some educational topic
I will share with the offices a Google Drive with the status of the club businesses (apart from what you see on Easy Speak). There are tabs for every officer role. Please be polite and only make modifications in the tab of your role. In the tab of the President for example I have collected all the info that were used to complete the procedure for the club chartering with TMI. For the VP Membership is very important to fill in advance the news on “what is going on”. That will be relevant e.g. for planning the finances.
Just wanted to confirm that Hiroe Takehuchi made it in time for being part of the chartered club members. I’ve discussed this with TMI. If any new member wants to join the club at this time, she will not be considered “chartered founder member”, and the procedure is a bit different, because she has to be “voted in” by the other members.
At the moment we have 23 members. Do we agree to keep the maximum at 25? In addition we add a waiting list, so that we can tap on the WL in case some member goes out. The idea is to create trust and respectability for our club by “word of mouth”. If we achieve this goal, then it will be natural to get people in the waiting list.
We can re-evaluate this approach after e.g. ½ year from now, and see if this strategy is worth pursuing or has to be changed.
There is a different “gezelligheid” between the closed-door meetings and the meetings of the 1st saturday of the month, which are open to external guests.
Facila replies: when the club grows too fast the dynamics among the people take months/years to get established. I agree with Tom about the number of people being limited at 25
Everyone: agrees with this approach
Meeting closes at 13:05
Next tentative meeting date: 16 Jul 2016 (in 6 weeks from today)
Edited and Signed by The Club Secretary (minutes recorded) in Amsterdam, 4 June 2016
Approved and signed by the other officers:
President, VP Education, VP Membership, VP Public Relations, Treasurer, Sgt. at Arms