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Re: What is it all about?

  • Subject: Re: What is it all about?
  • From: David Leedy <djleedy@sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2013 07:16:09 -0500

Dear Greg,

 

I really want to respond as a member of the IAS since 1976 or 1977.  I am sure that I am one of the older members in this organization not residing in the Miami environs.

 

And that is what the IAS originally was.  It was a Miami organization.  Although Monroe Birdsey was a member, they allowed Mike Madison to be the scientific leader, even though Mike was from the West Coast of Florida.  And I understand there was local disagreement about that.  They really didn’t know what to do with me (West Coast of the United States) or my friend David Burnett (Australia).

 

Both Burnett and I worked at building up local memberships and the Miami group really had to listen to us as we had built the local chapters into 30 to 50 or more in membership.  I am afraid I made a terrible enemy in Betty Waterbury.   Alan Fernandez (a very early member, maybe a founder), hated me until the day he died and yet we never met or communicated.  I am not sure why he hated me so.

 

You see, even though it was called International, the IAS was really a local organization.  They didn’t mind taking our dues, but they didn’t want anything else from outside Miami.  And I mean anything else.  Whether you have or not (and certainly not with me), you are not the first to raise the ire of the members of the IAS and not even the first Ozzie.

 

There was good reason for this, I was told.  As long as the IAS was controlled by the Miami group, the IAS would continue and continue in the manner originally conceived. 

 

At one time, as a cost saving move, they wanted to discontinue the newsletter.   At that time the newsletter primarily concerned a replay of what had happened at the last meeting in Miami with only a little of general interest.  I suggested that except for the quarterly Aroideana, there was no reason for IAS membership unless the newsletter was continued.  I also started contributing articles for the newsletter and they were generally published.

 

I was finally motivated to ask my questions when I noticed that one of our Board members is not a financial member and nobody seems to have noticed.

 

I didn’t know this, but I am not really concerned.  Why are you concerned?

 

To those that felt this is not the appropriate place to discuss issues relating to the Society, I notice nobody suggested an alternative forum. There is so little communication about Society issues and it is sad that some thought it should be shut down. 

 

I think that this is entirely the appropriate place and I didn’t know anyone wanted to shut it down.  In fact, you may have some constructive ideas and I would like to hear them.  So I hope this conversation is continued.

 

The first of these is a lack of communication.  To the ordinary member there is little communication between the Board members. It did disturb me to watch the communications between Board members trying to find out what was happening at the Show and Sale. Communication from the Board to the ordinary members also appears to be almost nonexistent.  One hopes that this is not because there is nothing to tell us. I also see little evidence of communication between the Society and the general public.

 

As to the communication between the Board members regarding the annual Show and Sale, because it is located in Miami, local volunteers must be responsible for running it.  In 1984 a Show and Sale was held in Australia and I am guessing that the particulars of that were not discussed to any great length with the IAS Board members.  What additional communication would you like to see?

 

I am not sure what you mean by communication with the general public.  If you mean the membership, we are the Society and we elect board members annually and we communicate with them regularly, albeit privately.  We also communicate with each other, as you can attest to.  Would you require all communication made public?  If you mean non-members, I know that the annual show and sale is publicized to the general public in the Miami and south Florida area.  What else would you have us do?

 

The second issue is a lack of planning. If you don't plan to do anything then nothing will happen and you end up responding to issues rather than driving them.  The society does not appear to have any plans for the future and, from a management perspective,that is a major concern.

 

How do you know there is a lack of planning?  As a member of the Society, have you put forth any planning ideas?  Remember we members, including you, are the Society.

 

The third issue is the failure to put plans into action, but without plans then little will happen.

 

If, as you say, there is no planning, then how can this be an issue?  However, I suggest that there is a great deal of planning and that these plans are put into action.  The evidence of this is an almost 40 year history of the Society.

 

I believe that the facts that the Board is now made up of members from all over the world and, where possible, volunteers outside of the Miami environs are performing needed tasks required a lot of planning on the part of the Board and membership.

 

Greg, I believe your questions are thoughtful and fair game, but it might be more constructive if you would make some suggestions.  They might get shot down or they might get adopted.  Be careful, your suggestions might result in more involvement and work for yourself. 

 

David Leedy

Fort Worth, Texas

(formerly from Los Angeles, California)

 

 



On Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 9:09 PM, Greg Ruckert <greg@alpacamanagement.com> wrote:
Firstly I would like to thank all who have replied to my original email, both through this forum and directly. It is now a week since I received my last reply so I assume all have had their say.
The replies have raised more questions that they have answered. 
 
Firstly, to those that thought I wrote in anger, you have misjudged me. I wrote in frustration at not being able to find answers to my questions, all of which I felt were reasonable for an interested member to ask. I was finally motivated to ask my questions when I noticed that one of our Board members is not a financial member and nobody seems to have noticed.
 
To those that felt this is not the appropriate place to discuss issues relating to the Society, I notice nobody suggested an alternative forum. There is so little communication about Society issues and it is sad that some thought it should be shut down.
 
I thank Zach for his response though it did raise more issues and confirm some of my concerns. I recognise and appreciate the work done by volunteers and am aware that the IAS would not survive without them.
 
I have seen so many (including international) plant societies fail and I do not want to see that happen to the IAS.  It has certainly shrunk from what it once was.
As I see it, there are a number of reasons why societies dimish and fail, especially ones that do not have regular meetings.
 
The first of these is a lack of communication.  To the ordinary member there is little communication between the Board members. It did disturb me to watch the communications between Board members trying to find out what was happening at the Show and Sale. Communication from the Board to the ordinary members also appears to be almost nonexistent.  One hopes that this is not because there is nothing to tell us. I also see little evidence of communication between the Society and the general public.
 
The second issue is a lack of planning. If you don't plan to do anything then nothing will happen and you end up responding to issues rather than driving them.
The society does not appear to have any plans for the future and, from a management perspective, that is a major concern.
 
The third issue is the failure to put plans into action, but without plans then little will happen.
 
These are not matters that can be dealt with by the members, they are the domain of the Board.
 
I hope that the new Board might look at some of these issues to help drive a bright and growing future for the IAS.
 
Greg Ruckert
Nairne,
South Australia

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