PuSh Blog

PuSh 2010 AGM by Kent Gallie

August 03, 2010

When Kent Gallie, our Interim Managing Director, was asked to write his own personal reflections on the 2011 PuSh AGM, he accepted this task bravely and enthusiastically. Thank you Kent for your valuable insight.

Kent’s Comments

Zaira Petruf, our new Outreach Coordinator, asked me to provide a report and some personal impressions from our recent AGM – I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my thoughts.

The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival Society’s AGM was held at the Playwrights Theatre Centre on Granville Island on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. Liquid refreshments and snacks were provided prior to the 6:00 pm meeting, giving Board members, staff, and non- Board members alike the opportunity to meet, mingle and enjoy some informal conversation prior to proceedings getting under way. We were pleased to have a reasonably good turnout despite the fact that the weather was gorgeous and the City decided to throw a fireworks party in honour of our AGM!!

In the end, while the timing of a July AGM presents a number of challenges, the general consensus is that a summer AGM serves the Society’s annual governance timeline in the best possible way and the benefits of holding the meeting in July are significant.

Highlights of the meeting included reports by outgoing Board President Lydia-Marston Blaauw and Executive Director Norman Armour. I was honoured to present Managing Director Minna Schendlinger’s report (all these reports are included in the 2010 PuSh Annual Report available for reading on our website). Chris Dobrzanski, Treasurer, delivered a thoughtful and insightful summary of the Society’s financial statements for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Chris emphasized the artistic success and resulting audience turnout for the 2010 Festival as key to the Society’s ability to significantly reduce the existing deficit and to take steps to ensure the viability and sustainability of the Festival’s high level of artistic programming moving forward through challenging and, as Norman puts it, “darker” times ahead in the face of government funding cuts.

Chris also made a point of thanking Loen and Company, the Society’s auditors, and the Board and staff for ensuring that final financial statements were available for approval at the AGM despite an extraordinarily tight turnaround from the April 30th fiscal year end. Loen and Company were appointed by the membership at the meeting to serve as auditors for the Society again in 2011.

Other business included the requisite resignation and election of Board Executive members.

Incoming President Max Wyman presented a motion to change the composition of the Society’s Executive Committee to further integrate and engage the Board as a whole. The motion, which was passed unanimously, proposed including Board committee chairs and a new position of Member at Large on the Executive Committee. The committee members elected for the coming year are Max Wyman, President, Donna Wong-Juliani, Vice-President, Chris Dobranzski, Treasurer, Chris Kantowicz, Secretary, Ken Manning, Past-President, Jane Heyman, Member at Large, Fundraising Committee chair Peter Dickinson and Governance and Nominations Committee co-chair (with Jane Heyman) Alice Niwinski.

Both Norman and Max spoke to the tremendous dedication and passion exhibited by PuSh Board members, and the enthusiasm they consistently bring to their ongoing committee work. Norman also formally thanked Lydia Marston-Blauuw for her work and support as President of the Board during the past year.

One other important detail to note was the election of one new Board member. The Society is pleased to welcome Sylvia Lanz to the Board. Sylvia is a Certified General Accountant with an extensive background in business and, in addition to sitting on the Board of Directors she will bring her considerable expertise to the Finance Committee.

On a personal note, the AGM served to reinforce for me how tremendously impressed I have been with the work of the PuSh Board since I took over for Minna in March. PuSh is truly fortunate to have such a dedicated and hardworking team of skilled professionals from widely diverse backgrounds governing the Society. The sense of teamwork and common goals is evident and their support of Norman and the staff and their administrative and artistic endeavours is extraordinary. I thank them for their patience and generosity of spirit through my transition into the role of Interim Managing Director and would especially like to offer my gratitude to Treasurer Chris Dobrzanski for his continued support and guidance in all matters financial and to outgoing President Lydia Marston-Blauuw who has generously provided her time and advice to me in all manner of ways.

Finally, the PuSh staff were represented at the meeting as well and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my appreciation to Communications Manager Kara Gibbs, Outreach Coordinator Zaira Petruf, Audience Services rep Jenn Upham and especially Operations Manager Lindsay McMahon, who worked extremely hard in preparation for the AGM, all for helping to make the evening the smooth success that it was.

Onward and upward toward Festival 2011 – it’s hard to believe we are already halfway there!