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Close to 30 AAPA members converged on the Marais on Dec. 14 for another convivial Annual General Meeting.

This was the last to be presided over by President John Keating, who has served an unprecedented four-year stretch at the helm of the association.

He thanked all of those who have worked hard to bring in more members, exciting guests – we had a record 18 last year – and preserve the solid financial position that continues to allow the organization to subsidize special events like the annual gala and to provide a buffet for the AGM at no charge.

A hearty thanks went out to our doyen John Morris, who once again generously opened his home to accommodate the AGM just a few days after his 99th birthday. And we also applauded the hard work and hospitality throughout the year of our Coordinator Maria-Vincenza Aloisi.3 unnamed

Treasurer Barbara Casassus presented her report on the association’s finances which show a robust balance of just over 16,000 euros.

David Pearson, outgoing Secretary General, gave a more detailed year-in-review. He shared the highlights of the year’s events, ranging from meetings with five government ministers to cultural visits around Paris and two events to help members prepare for the COP 21 climate change conference.

He reported that 21 people had joined the association in 2015, seven more than in 2014; the membership is still growing despite departures due to transfers or non-payment of dues; and we now have 116 members.

Our Facebook community is growing, and the AAPA website is highly popular, drawing 536 visits in the past 30 days. We also discussed the Happy Hours that kicked off this year and have been a resounding success; those in the organization who have participated feel that they have helped gel relationships and made us a more cohesive group overall, or as David Pearson put it, “the most dynamic journalists’ association in France.”

We then got to the heart of the meeting, to elect a new committee for the following year to keep up the good work. John Keating presented a slate of officers and committee members that had been agreed among the committee, though not set in stone. As always, members present at the AGM were free to propose alternative candidates – or themselves – for roles on the committee. He said it was heartening that the entire outgoing committee was willing to serve another year. The slate was presented as follows:

President: David Pearson
Secretary General: Sara Miller Llana
Treasurer: John Keating
VP: Rory Mulholland
VP: Barbara Casassus
Syndic: Eleanor Beardsley
Committee members: Lisa Bryant, Scott Sayare, Clare Byrne, Ben McPartland, Nelson Graves, Shellie Karabell, Linda Hervieux, and Harriet W. Rochefort.

The list was approved and seconded with a unanimous show of hands.
In the discussion that followed David Pearson ran down the list of guests who the outgoing committee has been working on, and Lisa Bryant encouraged members who are not on the committee to come forward with proposals for speakers and events, and to help in their organization.

We already had a good example of this in 2015 when Shellie Karabell, who had just joined the association, suggested an event with Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy to the committee and carried the ball over the goal line for a very successful meeting in November.

We discussed a proposal to hold the Happy Hour on an alternate evening to Friday, which will be on the agenda of the next committee meeting in January. There was also a suggestion that we create Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to enhance our outreach beyond Facebook and the web site, and a member has already agreed to help out with this.

The séance was brought to a close at 8 PM, and we all headed to the champagne bar and buffet for some badly needed end-of-year cheer as we look forward to another successful year.

Sara Llana
AAPA Secretary General
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