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Re: What is it all about?

  • Subject: Re: What is it all about?
  • From: Zach DuFran <zdufran@gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 09:10:53 -0500


Thanks for your message. You have asked a wide variety of questions, some of them easy to answer and others require a much longer discussion. I will try to respond to as many of your questions as I can. 

If you visit the IAS website and click on "society" you will find answers to some of your questions.   
"The Objective of this Society shall be to study Aroids and to stimulate interest in these Plants."

Five board members are selected each year, in September, and serve for a term of three years.  Nominations are gathered in the months leading up to the September show and sale. The election takes place in person at the meeting and by proxy vote through the mail by those who are not in attendance.  The officers (president, vice president, treasurer, corresponding secretary, and recording secretary) are then selected by the board of the 15 active board members. During their three year term board members conduct business through email and at one annual in-person meeting on the Sunday morning of the show in Miami. Board business includes any and all topics that should arise pertaining to the society, including financial decisions, planning for the show and sale, direction of the society, publication of Aroideana, etc. 

All board members are volunteers. No one receives money from the IAS for their service. Of course this goes beyond just the board members. In just over a month we will have our annual show in Miami, which will require a tremendous amount of work from a number of different people. They will receive little thanks and then show up again next year to do it all over again. 

The IAS board does not have a document describing plans for the future. We have discussed a number of different topics and we have made some minor changes over the last several years. 

When you mention the editorial team are you referring to the editors of Aroideana?  There is certainly no replacement for Derek Burch, but there are capable persons who will have to pick up the torch when the time comes. There is not a specific editor-in-waiting. 

The IAS exists because people are interested in aroids and want to connect with others who share that interest and want to learn more about them.  With the exception of proximity to the annual show in Miami, I don't believe that American members have any benefits over international members. 

We would love to have an increase in membership. We have made some strategic decisions in the past to increase membership and had only minimal success. The reality is that there are many people interested in aroids, but a limited number of people that are interested ENOUGH to become paying members of the society. If you have any ideas about increasing membership, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact any board member.

The IAS Facebook page came into being because it was requested. With no dues required, it should be no surprise that the membership is larger than the actual society. I'm sorry you do not always receive answers to your posts. If your questions are pertaining to aroids then any number of those 850 members may respond or maybe none will. That is the nature of Facebook and the huge quantity of content that is added each day. If your questions are pertaining to the society then I would suggest sending your questions directly to board members rather than the Facebook page. 

The page is monitored. I notice there were two spam messages posted this week and those have now been removed. Again, I will mention that this is a society that lives by the work of volunteers. We can give additional persons administrator privileges to remove spam messages which could help the issue. 

You state that the Facebook page is not used to promote the society, but that is not true. There are many active members there who have been discussing the show and encouraging attendance.  Albert has posted the link to the show page and the link to the Aroideana pictures once they were uploaded to the IAS webpage. 

I can not speak for everyone, but my presumption is that many IAS members are not planning to attend the conference because of one or both of these reasons: 
the cost of international airfare, and the academic focus of these types of events. The IAS is a blend of hobbyist growers and botanists/academics. The conference is really geared towards that latter group, while the annual show and sale in Miami is geared towards the former group. 

I do not yet know who will be giving the talk on the IAS at the conference. We will discuss that next month in Miami and hopefully know those that plan to attend. There are several candidates. 

There will probably not be any IAS merchandise in Hanoi because the cost of transporting the merchandise would be greater than the value of the merchandise and we would need a volunteer to be dedicated to selling the merchandise during the conference. 

We do value feedback from members. Please let me know if you have any other questions. 

Zach DuFran 
President, IAS 

On Aug 6, 2013, at 5:35 PM, "Greg Ruckert" <greg@alpacamanagement.com> wrote:

As a person who has beem a member of the IAS, on and off, over a long period of time, I am moved to wonder what is the purpose of the IAS.
I note that the term of five Board membership expires in September and would like to know what the Board members do? When and where does the Board meet?
When are nominations called for the vacant positions?
Does the IAS has a plan for the future and where might I find it?
We have a wonderful editorial team and, without wanting to cause any offence, what is the succession plan that the IAS has in place for these wonderful people?
As a non-American member, apart from the newsletter and Aroideana, what is the point of me being a member?
Does the IAS have a plan to increase its membership?
Why is the IAS Facebook page not monitored?  There is an increasing amount of spam being posted there (I am not the only one who is annoyed by this) and nothing is done about it.
The IAS has a financial membership of 365, including institutions.  The Facebook page has 850 members and is growing quickly. Why isn't the Facebook page used to promote the society and recruit new members?
I notice I don't necessarily get answers to questions I pose. Does the Board think this is a good look?
Why is there a high level of Society disinterest in the International Aroid Conference to be held in Hanoi? Is it because it is outside the USA?
I have asked on Facebook about the Society's involvement in the conference and have effectively been told that it really is nothing to do with the IAS.  This is despite the IAS being involved in selecting the site for the conference and the front page of the IAS website encouraging people to "Join us"
Nobody seems to know who is giving the IAS presentation at the conference! Why? Why will there be no IAS merchandise available?
I have asked thirteen questions and will be interested to see how many I get satisfactory answers to.
Greg Ruckert
South Australia
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