Stempra AGM minutes 2019

7th April 2019

Date and time: 7pm, Monday 25 March 2019

Venue: The Castle Farringdon, 34-35 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6DB

Update from the Chair

CH gave an overview of the last year and a brief summary of her time as Chair. She reported a substantial increase in members – from 274 (paid-up) to 500 from Feb 2018 to Feb 2019 – including a big spike of 80 new members around the time of northern the Edinburgh event in May 2018s. Stempra ran 13 events in the last year, including 3 outside of London and 4 during the day – CH thanked Science Media Centre, Academy of Medical
Sciences, and the University of Edinburgh for providing free venue space. 6 newsletters have been issued, with an above industry average open- and click-rate, and a 30% increase in members wanting to receive it.
Stempra has been active on social media since the introduction of the Social Media Coordinator, but increasing engagement across the various platforms will be something for the new committee to work on in the future. The website also needs substantial work to fix various bugs and make it more user-friendly. Increasing content from member blogs has
been something the committee is keen to do and continue.
Stempra Buddies, envisioned by TR and delivered by JK and EH has been a great success, with lots of members engaging with the scheme – there are now 30 matched pairs of mentors and mentees.
Stempra has produced the AMS best practice guide for biomedical press releases, and incorporated it into the newly updated guide for press officers – FLe contributed a lot of effort.
Finally, there is international interest in the work of Stempra from EurekAlert, which could provide opportunities to spread the Stempra ethos more globally in the future.

Update from the Treasurer

TR reported an income of £11,700, of which a high percentage (45%) was derived from the BEIS funding while the rest came from membership subscriptions. Stempra spent £9,800 on events over the last year, including £2,700 on regional events outside London.
Overall, Stempra made a small profit, but this was largely based on coming under budget for events, thanks to the generosity of organisations such as the SMC and AMS in providing free event space, and increased income from the substantial increase in membership.
TR highlighted that this is the last year of the BEIS funding, and the new funding has only been secured for an additional 1 year, so the certainty of this funding source in the future is unclear.
Auditors Kerry Noble and Simon Levey reported no issues with the accounts.

Approve accounts

Accounts approved by general aye. 

Appoint auditors for next year

Simon Levey and Kerry Noble agreed to remain as auditors for 2019/20. Both were approved by general aye.

Item for discussion: increasing the membership fee to £17 per year

CH had put forward a motion to increase the membership fee from £15 to £17. The justification was that the fee has remained at £15 since the creation of Stempra despite inflation and increasing costs of venues, particularly in London. The increase would allow Stempra to continue to run events (without having to always rely on free venues) and deliver
much-needed improvements to the website. This fee increase could yield an extra £1,000 a year for these purposes. There was some discussion with the auditors and members, including a suggestion to allow one-off donations on the Stempra website.
Membership fee increase was approved by general aye.

Item for discussion: appointing all non-portfolio applicants to the committee

CH put forward a last-minute motion that all 5 non-portfolio applicants be appointed to the committee, despite their only being 4 vacant positions. The success of Stempra depends on the efforts and engagement of the committee, and several people have had to step down for various reasons over the years, reducing committee capacity. Have an extra non-portfolio
committee member would maintain that capacity. AK explained that, while irregular, this wouldn’t violate the Constitution.
Appointment of all 5 non-portfolio members was approved by general aye.
CH concluded by thanking the committee for their hard work.

Voting for the 2019-20 committee

The meeting voted on the following positions and the following were nominated and approved with a general aye.
Treasurer: Daisy Barton
Secretary: Fiona Dennehy
Membership coordinator: Chris Melvin
Website editor: Jonathan Cooke
Non-portfolio committee members: Robin Bisson, Tom Bragg, Jo Kelly, Simon Moore, Ed Pinches
The position of Chair, which was the only position contested, was voted on via an online form for members who couldn’t make the AGM, and on a paper form at the meeting. The vote count was verified by the auditors and the following was approved for the position:
Chair: Rob Dawson

AOB

Thanks were given to the committee members standing down, in particular to CH for her work as Chair over the last two years. Small gifts were presented to departing committee members.

Attendees

Justine Alford
Angharad Kolator Baldwin
Daisy Barton
Robin Bisson
Tom Bragg
Carmen Chai
Jonathan Cooke
Rob Dawson
Fiona Donnehy
Jenny Gimpel
Claire Hastings
Andy Hawkes
Tilly Haynes
Emily Head
Erin Johnson
Alice Kay
Jo Kelly
Fareha Lasker
Fiona Lethbridge
Simon Levey
Simon Moore
Kerry Noble
Ed Pinches
Trish Regis
Freya Robb
Clare Ryan
Ed Sykes
Carmel Turner
Sarah Wells
Rebecca Zeitlin

Apologies

Chris Melvin, Janet Morgan, Bex Walton, Barbara Davies, Claire Bithell

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