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Report on the AAPA’s Annual General Meeting Dec. 16

24 December 2016 par AAPA France

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Twenty-five members attended our AGM on Friday, Dec. 16, at the Brasserie de l’Assemblée in the 7th, which started at 7 pm, lasted one hour and was followed by some socializing over drinks and hors-d’oeuvres.
1. President’s report

President David Pearson opened the meeting by looking back at 2016, which with 18 events equaled 2015’s record number. Membership increased and finances remained robust.
There was a broad variety of events, although our guests didn’t include any high-profile ministers or politicians. Looking to 2017, one priority is to get high-value figures ahead of the presidential election in April/May.
The best attended event, with more than 80 guests, was the gala, held this year at the residence of U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley. The Embassy gave us very attractive deal, and the overall cost of subsidizing the annual event was substantially less than at the U.K. ambassador’s residence in 2015.
A freelance seminar in October (kudos to Barbara Casassus) in association with the NUJ’s Paris branch was success. We’re looking at ideas for other workshop/seminars to help members improve their skills in what has become a very tough employment environment.
Monthly happy hours (applause for social affairs officer Linda Hervieux) have proved popular apart from the thinly attended one over U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Suggestions for alternative venues to the Bonne Bière should go to Linda (lindahervieux@yahoo.com).
AAPA’s Facebook account is thriving with 60 members signed up, 12 more than last year.
The web site is looking good, with 239 visits, 951 page views in November.
The Twitter account, on the other hand, has been mostly moribund due to a lack of volunteers among committee members to keep it alive, even though the U.S. ambassador is following us.
Special thanks to:
• • Barbara Casassus, who receives the “gold star” this year for her tireless efforts on the Opera, the freelance seminar, the Canard Enchainé event and one she has already lined up for next year.

• • Maria-Vincenza Aloisi for keeping the organization professional and moving forward, and for her hospitality in hosting our committee meetings.

2. Secretary General’s report

Sara Miller-Llana listed the Association’s 20 new members in 2016. We lost 18, putting current total membership at 119.
Sara listed each event held this year. (For details, consult the website.)
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3. Treasurer’s report

David read out John Keating’s report, which underscored the Association’s healthy finances.
At the date of the meeting, the current account balances stood at €1,114.75. With accounts payable of €1,375.70, there is a small deficit which will be erased with the renewal of memberships and the inflow of 2017 dues.
The Association’s reserve fund (Livret A) has a balance of €18,000, unchanged from 2015.
4. Proposal of new board

David proposed a slate that reflected a minor cabinet reshuffle due to the departure of John Keating and Scott Sayare.
The following committee was approved by unanimous vote:
President : David Pearson
Vice-President : Sara Miller Llana (Christian Science Monitor)
Vice-President : Barbara Casassus (The Lancet)
Secretary General : Nelson Graves (News-Decoder)
Treasurer : Rory Mulholland (The Telegraph)
Syndic : Eleanor Beardsley (National Public Radio)
Committee members :
Lisa Bryant (Voice of America)
Clare Byrne (Agence France Presse)
Jake Ciganeiro (freelance)
Elaine Cobbe (CBS)
Linda Hervieux (Freelance)
Shellie Karabell (Forbes.com)
Ben McPartland (The Local)
Harriet Welty Rochefort (Freelance)

5. Presentation of new statutes

David ran through the proposed changes to the statutes, which hadn’t been substantially modified since after World War Two, when women were first admitted to the organization. The main proposed change is to make AAPA membership more accessible to Anglophone professionals in the journalistic sphere and to bring the statutes into line with current situation.
The proposed statutes were adopted unanimously.
6. Survey

Nelson Graves presented the results of the first survey of members in 14 years. A total of 69 members (58%) responded to the survey, and the results will be circulated to members.
Respondents expressed general satisfaction with the AAPA, especially the mix of types of events and the introduction of social activities, although several members called for more high-profile French politicians and business leaders, even if there were fewer total events.
Several news themes and workshops for the coming year were proposed by respondents.
The results of the survey will guide the committee in 2017 in terms of guests, recruitment and proposed events.
7. Discussion

There was widespread support for trying to attract more high-profile guests while offering a broad mix of corporate and cultural topics.
8. The meeting adjourned at 8 PM.
Nelson Graves
19 December 2016