Board meeting Minutes/10 Mar 2014

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24 Feb 2014
Board meeting Minutes Next:
24 Mar 2014

Minutes approved: 7 Apr 2014

  • NOTICE to those on the line: All present agree to a temporary recording of this call to be be deleted no later than when the minutes are approved. Please speak up if you disagree with this and we will discuss it after roll call.
Move your name to Present or Apologies prior to the meeting!
(Subject to verification) Dan Rich (chair), Ski Kacoroski, Matt Simmons, Matt Disney (might be late), John Boris, William Bilancio, Mike Julian, Evan Pettrey
Martin Gehrke
8:02 PM Eastern Time
9:32 PM Eastern Time

Consent Agenda

  • Minutes of 24 Feb 2014 as adjusted by Matt Simmons were approved without objections.

Strategic Planning Meeting

  • Introduction/discussion of how this differs from a regular meeting

Dan explained the process of the strategic meeting. Although it will flow like a regular meeting the goal of the meeting would be to have a more forward looking approach to the reports. We should focus on where we want to be in months to a year, sort of what is done at the Face to face but no so in depth.

Standing Reports

Reports should consist of a brief overview of the past 6 months to 1 year, and a projection for the next 6 months to 1 year, mentioning any milestones to hit along the way

  • Treasurer's report (Evan)

We are current in our liabilities. We did receive payment from Scale for the training we did. Matt Simmons questioned on how we were trending. Evan reported that we have been staying steady with our inflow and outflow. If we stay on this same track we should our largest debt paid off in just about a year.

  • Membership report

Since the face to Face Matt Simmons has seen a fluctuation of our membership. It is a bit hard to show trends due to the way the data is kept but the high water mark was about 864 members our current number is 858 members. At the Face to Face we saw that we were not getting many renewals but now that current number is inflated with student memberships. Some time in the last six months we made student memberships free. Although we haven't advertised this much we have had 64 student memberships in the past year. That was up from 8. If this increases in popularity we may see our numbers go down. We still have the renewal problem and it is something we have to look into and maybe do some marketing research as to how stem this leakage. He also sees that of the paying members we have there is an issue of dual enrollment. We have members who attend conferences (Cascadia, LOPSA-EAST etc) but register under a different email and thus end up with two memberships. Then when their original membership starts to expire they get the renewal notice and they get back to us stating they attending one of our conferences. So he has to manually reconcile this. We have to do something to correct this so we don't see inflated numbers. William mentioned the LOPSA-East registration form has a note to use their email that they use on LOPSA site. MAtt recommends to spend more time on streamlining the conference registration process. Matt commended how we had a large influx of members from Scale. Dan stated that a lot of it was due to the table volunteers (Aleksey mostly. He did a great job of conversing with people as they passed the table. Also the location for our table this year was in an excellent position. This year the table was in the first row of the big hall and people as they entered the hall had to pass our table. Matt recommended that maybe this is where we have to put more effort or even paying a premium so instead of just asking to be in the Big Hall but also to asking to be in the front or first row for more visibility. Ski mentioned that the classes helped a great deal as he had people come up to him asking about LOPSA after the class. William mentioned that we should have the slide given to the trainers to put in their presentation. He does this with LOPSA-East. Matt summed up that going forward we should reach out to the conferences especially where we setup our tables and also to our volunteers to be proactive at the table.

  • Conference/events activities report
    • Cascadia seem to go well. I do not know the final attendance, but the people I talked with at the conference on Saturday were happy with it. It looks like they also have a chair for next year.
    • LOPSA-East is coming up in May and the registration is open.
    • Southeast Linux Fest is coming up but they have not reached out to us but William has reached out to them.
    • LISA is coming up in October so work on that will start after LOPSA-East.
    • Matt Simmons asked about East Tennessee did not decide to have one and have not decided to do one as most of the volunteers that would have run it have changed jobs out of the area. He also asked should we ask future chapters to have them as a means to gain membership. William explained that a chapter must have standard meetings for at least a year. And then they need to have volunteers to do the work. Seattle started with a lot of volunteers but now that has seemed to wane a bit. Madison is one that you might have a smaller conference but not a large one like Cascadia or LOPSA-East. East Tennessee would have been a medium sized conference as they were pulling from a number of areas. Dan interjected that the conferences are a way to get an influx of membership but William emphasized that we should try and get these chapters to take part in one of our large conferences to see how it is run and what is needed. To that Matt Simmons suggested that maybe we should suggest to our Chapters they hold a one day conference, William interjected this is what is called a Mini conference. Matt has seen that these Mini/Micro conferences are doing amazing. They have about 100 t0 150 people in attendance. On a one day they would not do training or if they go a day and a half they might have some training on day one. Conferences of that size seem to be a great success. William did restate that the group does need to have volunteers to get it accomplished. The discussion continued and it was decided that the conference committee and membership get together and discuss how to promote chapters to hold one day Mini conferences.

  • Local Chapter Committee report

With Martin not in attendance there was no report. Matt Simmons did report that there was an iquiry from a member in Rhode Island asking about a chapter.

  • Development report
    • Initial contact made with Peak Hosting about sponsorships
    • Need to contact Palo Alto networks again
    • Sent CA a list of tag lines for t-shirts
  • Communications (LOPSAgram, #lopsa-live, etc)
    • LOPSAgram went out. Matt is making progress on automating the work to create a LOPSAgram which will help out a lot (and make it look a lot better). I have interest from vendors for purchasing ads in it.
      • Eventual goal is to produce something similar to this
  • Project Management report

Will be discussed later in the meeting

  • Liaison reports (LC, etc.)
    • Technical Services Report (Mike)
      • Unable to provide a report for the past six months due to being new to the role
      • Next six months plans: Drupal upgrade, new website theme.
    • Mentorship Report (John)

Due to work commitments and personal commitments I have missed the meetings over the past two weeks. The LMPT core team has been working to better the process and fix the automation document. There has been an increase in Proteges over the last month. There is a proposal document they created with their vision. It was sent to the board about a month or two ago. There goal is to provide more of an incentive for people to be mentors and also a push to have proteges become LOPSA members to be part of the program. Dan mentioned that the Mentorship Program was a big talking point at ScALE.

    • LOPSA Professional Recognition (Matt Simmons)

Matt feels that there are not enough people in the committee yet to have an edge like Mentorship. But it is almost time for him to step aside and be just the liaison. The application process will be earlier this year. William asked about the amount of people who applied.Matt stated that 26 applied which is a good number. This number gave us a good base to work on the program. The requirements will be changed this year to require that you need three people to vouch for your abilities. The program is a net positive and the impact is relative. The team will work on pamphlets for the future.

    • Leadership Committee (Ski)
      • Talked with Mario at Cascadia. He is asking around and has 1 candidate so far. Any ideas on candidates would be great.
      • William mentioned that LOPSA-NJ has pushed the elections at the last meeting. Matt explained that Mario did a lightning talk at Cascadia. Dan reminded the group that other than elections we have to decide what else we want the LC to do.

Strategic Planning

Face-to-face project review

For each of the following items, what is the current status, next steps, and where do we want to be with each of them in 3 months / 6 months.

  1. Website - forums job Boards, sigs, (TSC - Julian)
    1. Mike reported that we are still searching for volunteers to do the conversion to Drupal 7. Mike has renamed the Tech team to the Infra-Team. We have had a few volunteers for the Infra-Team but no volunteers for the Drupal Conversion.
  2. Finance (Pettrey)
    1. Evan has been checking on the 990s but they have not been released as of yet. He will keep checking.
  3. Budget – financial transparency, audit, lifetime membership investments (Finance Committee - Rich)
    1. The budget is complete and ready to be submitted to the board
    2. The next project for the finance committee is working with the Locals Committee on local group finances
    3. The finance committee also needs to discuss a possible audit of both LOPSA finances and PICC
    4. William asked if a local does not want the National handling their finances. This needs to be fleshed out by the Locals. Dan mentioned that members of the locals used to have to members of LOPSA. But it was explained that this is where we hand a certain portion of membership monies back to the locals based on the number of attending members.
    5. Dan explained when this Budget takes effect. Our fiscal year was explained to be January to December (Calender Year). So this would be our operating budget for the remainder of the year with prorated monies.
  4. Non LOPSA conference participation (Conference Committee - Bilancio)
    1. The conferences we have recently participated in are LinuxfestNW, SCALE, LISA, OLF, FOSS, Cascadia, LOPSA-East, and SELF. There are more, but it takes time and $$$ to participate in them. Going forward William stated we received very little Feedback from his attempt last year but he will start again. He would like to get more involved with Microsoft conferences.
    2. Ski mentioned that OSCon would be a good venture as well as the Velocity conferences.
  5. Membership retention benefits (Membership Committee - Simmons)
    1. This talk was taken offline to go over the notes from the Face to Face.
  6. Advertising / LOPSA awareness (Communications Committee - Simmons)
    1. A major hold up here has been lack of print ready ads. There are ;login and LinuxMag have offered us spots, but we have not been able to take advantage of them. The conferences do help with awareness. Ski has started a list of system admin blogs and his next step is to see if they will do ads for LOPSA on their blogs.
    2. William asked if it would be a good idea to get some quotes on print ads. Matt agreed to send William a note on what is needed.
    3. Ski mentioned that the people he has been talking to always request these print ads. He would like to have the flyers for Cascadia and LOPSA-East at least 3 to 6 months before the even so he could get them to the print media. It was suggested that we look into getting into Windows Magazine.
    4. Matt stated that he has a bullet item on his agenda to build out a strategy for LOPSA Awareness. He des feel that the focus should be a unified front by the Board on the Magazines but also have the members get involved in the Social Network side and we then feed back to them how important that is.
  7. LOPSA – Live (Communications Committee - Simmons / TSC - Julian)
    1. This topic was discussed at length in the previous meeting.
  8. LOPSA practicing professional (Simmons)
    1. Project complete, this is now a functional program
  9. Educators (Ski)
    1. There are two items here.
      1. One is a way to introduce high school students to the profession of system administration. It would be a great thing if we could get LOPSA members to speak at High School Career days on the profession. Also reward them for doing this.
      2. Coordinate some sort of standardization of the teaching of system administration (note this is not certification). The idea Ski has is to see if we can define a set of standard outcomes that will result from a AA or BS system admin degree. The long term would be to get Colleges to buy in on that. Evan stated that this is something he will be always interested in and will be willing to devote whatever time he can find in the future.
      3. Dan asked if there was an Education Committee and there is not one yet. Evan did say that the Education Committee will be one thing he would definitely sign up for. Dan also suggested that we have a lot of members in the Education field and this might benefit from a mailing reaching out for help on this.

Review of progress since the Face-to-Face

  1. What have we done well and what could we be doing better?
    1. Matt had a conversation where a person in Education has her people go through an exercise of going through their Mission statement. Matt feels that all of our goal planning should be revolving around our Face to Face. It was agreed we did this at the Face To Face but we did not do it in depth.
    2. Mike stated we did try and tie all of our projects back to the Mission Statement but we did not discuss the Mission Statement itself and decide if it is a good Mission Statement. He asked if that is what we should be doing. The group agreed with Mike and it was stated that the current statement is concise and to the point. Matt Disney stated that even though the statement is concise it does not constrain us and does allow us the freedom to find a direction to go in. He also asked if the comment that we did not discuss the statement does it mean he (Mike) doesn't feel the Mission Statement is a good one. Mike stated he does not like it.
    3. Dan then asked the Board to give their thoughts on the Mission Statement.
      1. matt S felt it was too long. It is concise and short but he feels that it could be word smithed better to be more of an activator.
      2. Dan likes the statement as is.
      3. John feels it describes exactly what we actually do but maybe it can be worded differently to be in line with what Matt stated.
      4. Dan suggested that this be set as a main topic for a future meeting. Matt Simmons asked about starting an email thread on this and William suggested a Wiki Page. It was left that an email thread could be started but it would be a major topic at the FAce to Face.
  2. Matt Disney stated that we (the Board) have to keep trying to become more of a Board that directs than doing the work. He also feels that we should take more effort into Advertising the organization and publicizing and this may need putting more money toward it. We should be using more of the social media efforts of today's Internet. It seems that we have to branch out more away from UNIX/LINUX even though that may be our base but we should be reaching out somehow.
    1. Dan feels that we have been doing this but not as well as we should.
    2. Matt Simmons restated that we continue to do the work instead of directing. We have to call on people more to do the work and get out of the mold that we just do it. It is a constant battle but we have to do more team building.
    3. Dan agrees with the statement but our history does not show us with any success.

Goal Planning

Define any additional goals for the next 3-6 months and 1 year, not included in the projects above.

Regular Business

LinuxfestNW (Ski)

  • Ski would go to LinuxFestNW and man a table.
    • He has had success there in the past. He also has a few volunteers.
    • It has a potential to bring in 2 to 3 members.
  • Dan made a Motion to to decide if Ski can spend $125 to go to LinuxfestNW
    • Seconded by William
    • The motioned passed without objection.

LOPSA, concise and clear (MPS)

  • Through the act of building the Org Chart, I gained the clearest vision and understanding of LOPSA I've ever had. I want to share it with you. I believe we can use it to help guide us and to communicate with people about the organization. This started a question on Philanthropy and Advocacy (LPR, Mentorship WiAC etc). He feels that if we start using those terms in our explanation of the organization we would be able to pull in more people to support our organization.
    • Dan feels the organization is more aligned with Advocacy more than Philanthropy.
    • Mike stated in his previous conversations with Matt on this that using these terms would help us to decide if future projects are worth pursuing if they don't fall into either of those two categories.
    • Matt feels that the Educational aspects of what we do falls under Advocacy and the Mentorship program is clearly Philthropical as it provides a means for our members who don't have anyone to professionally develop to do this. That we would be able to tell our members that $x of their membership dollars go toward these philanthropic projects and answer their question as to what we do with their money.
    • Matt Disney feels these two words express his sentiments for the organization.
    • John feels that the Mentorship program and the Education part are Philanthropic efforts as people are doing this for no reward or repayment. He also feels that the efforts provided in WiAC are on the Advocacy side. He feels that these two terms explains LOPSA's efforts.
    • Ski can see where Matt is coming from but would like to see some changes in our literature to our Sponsors so people would donate to us sort of like how people donate to the Red Cross. He likes the way it is a short description of what we do.
    • William feels this does help our elevator pitch for our members. The Advocacy part he totally agrees with but is not fully on board with the use of the Philanthropy.
    • Dan feels that Philanthropy to him is more toward giving money away and that our education and Mentorship efforts are not philanthropy and that WiAC could be considered under both terms.
    • Matt further stated that as he was doing the organizational chart it came to him that all of the boxes could fall under these two terms.
    • The final decision on this was to start an email discussion to see how best to use this.

New Business

No new Business


No Notes or announcements


Motion for Adjournment by Ski Seconded by William

Motion passed without objection.