The national executive council (NEC) met in Ottawa September 16 and 17. We also had a chance to meet with Ottawa–Gatineau branch members who came to the social events we hold for local members. I know the networking was useful: one person got a job out of it and some others discovered mutual interests they didn’t know about before.
Because it was the first meeting of the new executive, we started with introductions and expectations. I asked directors for their expectations of their time on the NEC, of themselves, and of me.
A common theme was that directors expect to contribute to the association yet also to learn a lot from their time as directors. Several people also said they want to have fun while doing it and they expect to work within a respectful environment.
Their expectations of me are that I will foster that respectful environment, as well as keep us all on track and focused.
Speaking of focus, this was the first time we tried our new planning templates, asking committees to tie their work, where applicable, into the strategic plan, as well as to submit their communications needs for the year.
Using the planning template was a big shift, for directors as well as committees. And in spite of multiple revisions to the templates and to our communications about it, I know the process was still a bit confusing (and we forgot to create some templates, especially for branches and twigs). We’ll work on improving that for the next time.
Kaarina Stiff, the chair of the Ottawa-Gatineau branch, came to talk to us about some of the great work the branch is doing, as well as some of its challenges.
The economic trends that treasurer Carolyn Brown identified in recent reports are also affecting the branch. There are fewer traditional editing jobs in Ottawa-Gatineau, something we see reflected across the country.
Because the challenges are similar across the country, I’d encourage branch chairs to talk to one another. Editors Canada was created out of a desire to help and support each other, so feel free to connect with your colleagues. You can ask the regional directors (west: Lisa Ng and east: David Johansen) about the many tools we have available for this purpose.
The NEC is acutely aware that sticking to our budget has meant that we are currently meeting only in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor (the much cheaper option right now). While we do hope to be able to meet outside of the area in the coming year or next year, we are looking at other options to connect with members (including leaders from various branches and twigs joining in via Zoom).
We talked about ways to improve services, as well as access to services. The interim francophone affairs director, also talked about re-thinking how we can better engage and serve francophone members. She will be talking to francophone members about that in the months ahead.
We spent a fair bit of time at this meeting talking about communications and marketing, something that we will focus on a lot in the next few years. We voted on a national communications strategy (which we’ll share with members after it’s copyedited) and discussed the 2017–18 communications plan.
The treasurer, communications director, and national communications manager also reviewed all the committees’ communications requests, in preparation for the budget (so we can allocate funds more strategically). Communications priorities for the coming year are activities that reach employers and the public, with a focus on increasing memberships and increasing registration for training (both of which will provide more revenue for branches and twigs, as well as the association overall).
Several directors tweeted during the meeting, to let members know what we were talking about. You can see the tweets collected together in this Storify.
Our next meeting will be November 4 and 5 in Toronto. It’ll be the budget meeting, where funds for all these activities will be formally allocated and voted on.
President, Editors Canada