Presidents' Report

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Co-Presidents Liz Steele and Rosemary Noble offered their reports on the past 12 months of Editors Victoria. It was a year that saw our biggest-ever dinner meeting; some exceptional professional development training sessions; a successful accreditation exam in 2011 (and another to come in October 2012); the society's continued sponsorship of events with Writers Victoria; an insightful and comprehensive membership survey; and an intense, productive Strategy Day, resulting in significant future directional plans for both the society and the committee.

President's Report by Liz Steele

With some trepidation, this time last year, Rosemary and I decided to volunteer again to be part of this committee and take the role of co-presidents. With a relatively new group of committee members and a rapidly increasing membership, we were happy to take the lead for this year and work towards some clear big-picture goals. While I feel we have stumbled somewhat to the finish line, we are extremely proud of what we have achieved over the past 12 months - probably our most challenging year to date in terms of analysing and working on how to best prepare and set up this wonderful organisation for a successful future.

All of our activities will be expanded on in committee reports to come, but when writing this report, I had to marvel at how much we do each month for our members. We must be a little crazy, but we most certainly see Editors Victoria, the society or SocEds - whatever you want to call us - as a most important part of our professional lives. Of course, the most notable reason for any success is the strength, expertise and commitment of the people creating it, and I would like to acknowledge and congratulate all committee members on a fine year's work.

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A huge part of our committee discussions this year has centred on the consolidation of our structure and our development into the future. As part of that, we needed to look at our image, what we stood for and how people perceived us as an organisation; out of that discussion came the development of our new branding: updating our image and expanding our appeal to a wider editing community. This first stage is now complete with a new website, new logo, name and overall change of our public image. We have had much feedback on these changes - not all good, but overwhelmingly supportive and complimentary, and we thank you for that feedback. It was time to challenge and change our image and make that part of our moving forward. There is still plenty to do as far as the marketing of this image and the establishment of Editors Victoria as the 'go-to' for all editors, but small steps plus volunteers equals slow but steady progress.

While concentrating on the big picture changes on the one hand, we had all the other usual events and issues to manage and keep ticking over - events, training, membership and so on. This year has seen our biggest-ever dinner meeting; some exceptional professional development training sessions; a successful accreditation exam in 2011 and another (currently planned) to come in October 2012; our continued sponsorship of events with Writers Victoria; continued support for our freelance members; production of our outstanding and informative newsletter; and some deep discussion about our membership criteria and member benefits.

With close to 620 members, we could not manage what we do without two paid positions: our admin officer, the wonderful Sabita, and our financial officer, the incredible Charles Houen. Their roles continue to expand and their initiative and hard work make both roles extremely indispensable for us, and we thank them both. I want to particularly mention the incredible amount of work Charles has done this year to manage our increasing bank balance and help us make decisions about our financial options for the future. We are extremely grateful for his outstanding management of our accounts.

We have also talked a lot this year about the idea of having another paid position in the future devoted to marketing and industry liaison - such activities to date have been haphazard for us, with limited time and people power to devote to them. There are so many opportunities for Editors Victoria that we cannot follow through because we don't have a dedicated role in this area. We will continue discussion about this issue in the next 12 months as we further consolidate our role as the 'go-to' body for editors in this state.

We continue our successful sponsorship relationship with Writers Victoria, regularly hosting events as part of their program. This year, with Writers Victoria, we have also submittted an application to the Copyright Agency Limited Cultural Fund to establish a mentoring and editing program for young writers - the application was not successful, but Writers Victoria is keen to have a closer relationship with us and such a relationship in the future can only raise our profile and bring work to our members.

Briefly I would like to thank all committee members for their hard work. Events Officer Ali Lemer - many thanks for another year of great meetings with wonderful speakers. CQ continues to be an excellent venue and your contribution in a variety of other ways is much appreciated, whether it is website, surveys, helping out the less tech-savvy of us and so on - you are incredibly generous with your time.

Freelance Affairs Officer Fran Madigan - so cool, calm and organised in attending to the needs of producing another Freelance Register, thanks for all your work in the freelance portfolio and for your guidance in the development of the future strategies and plans for Editors Victoria.

Membership Officer Kristy Burt - you have handled a very busy portfolio with great aplomb in your first year. We are very lucky to have you and we appreciate your sincere and generous input into other strategic decisions made this year.

Training Officer Ann Philpott - another year of outstanding training. We are constantly fully booked and training is so well organised that the committee rarely needs to discuss the program - congratulations on another year of wonderful work.

The Newsletter Editors Kirsten Rawlings and Melanie Sheridan, with your very able assistants, Maja Vatri? and Nonie Sadler - your commitment has been massive and you have not only produced a wonderful newsletter every month, but also managed to juggle migrating to new online formats more than once.

Website Manager Irina Fainberg - without your guidance and expertise, we would not have managed this huge project. When we launched the new website earlier this year, we presented Irina with a voucher for a night on the town - she had worked many, many unpaid hours to get the website up and running. Thank you, Irina.

Accreditation Board Representative Susan Keogh, who has been involved with the society since 1991 - thank you for your commitment to the accreditation board and the exam process. It is an enormous commitment to come back to the committee and this is much appreciated.

Rosemary Noble, in your capacity as IPEd Council Representative, you have given an enormous amount of your time to maintaining and strengthening this important relationship between our two groups.

Immediate Past President Melanie Dankel - not a specific role on the committee but so wonderful to have your energy and practical hard work when it was needed. So many times, when Rosemary and I were floundering, you stepped in and took over, produced running sheets, organised events, made phone calls - you are a gem and will be so missed on the committee.

Co-President Rosemary Noble - like an old married couple we have struggled along and made it work as co-presidents; when you were too busy, I was able to keep things going and vice versa. We have made a great team and I am so glad we decided to do this 12 months ago. Thank you for your support and friendship.

That's it from me. It has been a pleasure and thank you for the opportunity this role has given me.

Liz Steele
Co-President

President's Report by Rosemary Noble, AE

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Looking Forward: Strategy Day

One of the main concerns that Liz and I had when we took over the presidency a year ago was to explore ways in which we could make the committee structure more manageable. It had become evident that, while we were increasing our membership numbers, we still only had quite a small band of editors who were prepared to put their hands up for committee positions. This meant that this small band of volunteers were really pushed to the limits of the time and energy they had available at times and were in serious danger of volunteer fatigue. This was one of the main drivers behind the strategy day we held in April.

We felt we needed a fresh approach and, as a result, we commissioned a professional consultant, Mary Maddock, to facilitate our strategy day. The result of that day, and subsequent meetings, is the Directional Plan we presented at the AGM.

We distilled our ideas and aspirations into a single mission statement: “Editors Victoria supports, connects and advocates for editors”.

Committee Restructure

The restructuring of the committee will be an ongoing process, under the direction of the new president, but in summary:

While individuals will still be responsible for the business-as-usual activities - newsletter, events etc - we will try to work more holistically in three broad areas, being:

1. Membership services

2. Marketing and communications

3. Executive

This reorganisation should result in:

  • Shorter and more focused meetings
  • Back-up for committee members under pressure
  • Better succession planning
  • Stronger focus on liaison with other related societies and organisations, thereby strengthening our advocacy role and raising awareness of our activities
  • More consistent and stronger communication between the society, its members and their employers, employees, clients and other related parties
  • Stronger and closer support and alignment with the activities of IPEd

Member Survey

We were delighted with the number of our members who took part in the member survey that we undertook earlier this year. This got under way thanks largely to the efforts of Ali Lemer.

More detailed results will be available on our website, but some of the highlights include:

Over 200 members, or around 40%, responded. Of those:

  • 86% female
  • 66% freelance
  • 56% with a tertiary editing qualification       
  • 52% aged between 40 and 60
  • 69% having worked in educational publishing, followed by book 63%, website and corporate, both 47%, government 39% and magazines 25%. 12% had experience with ebooks.

Other questions that you responded to concerned membership benefits, freelance affairs, training, meetings, newsletters and accreditation, and these responses will inform our future activities.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with such a dedicated and energetic committee, and I thank them all for their contributions. I would like to echo Liz's words in saying that we did make a great team and I thank her most sincerely for her support and friendship.

Rosemary Noble
Co-President