2010-2011 AGM/President's Report
It falls within my duties as the current President of Wikimedia Australia to provide an overview style report with regards the Chapter's progress over the period of the incumbent board. I do so as an outgoing executive who has not nominated for any future office bearer position.
2009 - 2010
2009 - 2010 has been a year which I would describe as both tumultuous and somewhat stagnant.
Tumultuous insofar that during this term a number of impactive changes and developments have occurred. Some of these include the completion of most of the preparations towards allowing the Chapter to become an official fundraising organisation; increased representation by members of the board in attending international gatherings of the various parts of the Wikimedia foundation; the resignation of our inaugural President Brianna Laugher and a requirement to shuffle positions within the board to meet that vacancy; and in coming days a change of at least two thirds of the board, as long time stalwarts including Liam Wyatt and Brian Salter-Duke stand aside to allow others to take their place within the committee. Importantly I must note that despite adjustments of positions mid term, and the effect of such sudden change, a reasonable number of matters decided at the boards face to face meeting in January this year were either achieved or have been solidly commenced.
Somewhat stagnant, at least in my observation, due to an arrival by the Chapter at the stage parents would describe as the "terrible twos". The terrible twos can be a time of increased frustration for parents and custodians, and similarly for the board, as custodians of the growing WMAU child, we were confronted by a number of difficulties that hampered all of our good intentions. First and foremost we spent a good part of the year under-supported in the area of Information Technology. That lack of support placed considerable additional strain on our ability to receive and send communication, particularly with regards the role of secretary. I am very happy to note that this problem has now been mainly overcome.
Second the board, as all boards do at times, struggled to attain a sense of cohesion, and at times there was open hostile argument between various individuals and sub-groups. I know that Brianna when she was President had to deal with such occasions, and in my own case too a good deal of time was spent receiving communications that required both quiet support and bold direct comment towards a more professional outlook. It is of course a fact that a change in most of the executive will adjust some of the intra-focus of the board but I am certain there will still be work for the incoming President in this area.
All in all though the board managed to achieve a considerable amount and certainly to make it's presence felt on the international stage. Towards those achievements I congratulate my fellow board members and thank them for the pleasure of their company and the success that came when true commitment was given.
Special thanks to Liam
I also particularly wish to make mention of Liam who as an inaugural committee member will be reverting to financial membership only. Liam has been confronted by a number of direct questions and requests over the past year; indeed I have been the instigator of many of them - however I wish to stand on record that from my perspective Liam has overcome any and all of those issues in an extraordinarily professional manner. His presence on the board will be sorely missed and I pass on my personal best wishes towards him and his future endeavours.
Special thanks to Sarah plus a suggestion for the future
Finally, I wish to make comment and suggestion in relation to the position of Secretary. I note in general the extraordinary commitment and devotion by Sarah to this role. I note that she stands unopposed again for the position and I wish her well with regards her duties over the coming year. However, in my view, given the nature of how we must communicate and deal with both financial members as well as between the board; that it is the position of Secretary that presents the Chapter with biggest potential and actual bottleneck of activity slowdown. This is not to say that Sarah was defunct in any of her duties. It is to note that the position is far too large for any single volunteer and thus places too great a demand on that person. Indeed at times the sheer demand of work upon the Secretary has forced all other board members to slow down or delay further work whilst she has attempted to cope with what is already on her to do list.
It is my suggestion then that the incoming board look to adjusting the duties of the Secretary so that another position takes on a good part of those responsibilities - and perhaps if the situation arises takes on the position of assistant or under-study. Of course that is only my view and the incoming board may consign as much or as little worth as they like upon my perspective.
Onwards then for WMAU. I trust and hope for a bright and continuing future - and I look forward as a continuing financial member to watching that progress occur.
I will see or speak to many of you at the AGM. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
WMAU - 2009-2010