June 6, 2012
CALL TO ORDER AND NOTE OF ATTENDANCE
The Maestro Conference meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler. Other Directors present included Secretary Jeanene Louden, Craig Dunigan, Jose Gutierrez, Frank Kirkwood, and Chris Ritter (a quorum). Directors not present included Treasurer Eric Whinery and Egberto Willies. Staff present included Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux and Membership Director Billy Sears. We each took 30 seconds or so to check in!
When members and followers see these minutes they may not realize I was weeks behind my goal of having them posted prior to the next scheduled meeting. Your patience and understanding is and has been much appreciated during this difficult time for my family.
A question was raised about the appropriateness of posting a poll about the future direction of Coffee Party USA on Facebook. An hour long conversation followed that had to be continued to the next meeting. It recreated our weekend together in Chicago, and placed us exactly where we left off in our strategic planning process.
In brief, we concluded that we had already polled our membership while we were in retreat in Chicago. A plan for this and coming years is coalescing from that input. While polling non members on Facebook or Email might be appropriate for specific topics, we need to lead on the course we have set.
While we are still convinced that money in politics is THE issue, we now see the power in exposing how money touches every issue in politics today. This is reflected in our refined vision of seeing a future where votes – not dollars – are the currency of our democracy.
Today’s conversation was also a gut check: are we being sucked off message by reacting to someone else’s game? We need to be clear about what our game plan is, stay true to it, hold each other accountable for it, and empower one another to be true to it.
We challenged our thoughts and ideas, massaged our earlier thinking, and found ourselves coming back to where we began. This discussion was seen by all of us as very useful and will continue between meetings and next week. It is essential that we solidify our ability to communicate our approach (our strategic plan) to others: the new web presence is about to go live and it must reflect clearly who we are in the democracy movement today if we are to empower the future we envision.
Billy let us know that June is starting slow for membership renewals, but we continue to attract first time members. He also let us know that July “swag” offerings will be the DVDs, “Fools on the Hill” and “Koch Brothers Exposed”. WOW.
He also brought up the need for us to distinguish ourselves as either an “NPR” or a “MoveOn” organization when if comes to membership and fundraising. There was consensus that we were the former and not the latter. I do “an NPR moment” at the end of my radio show every week, and agreed to send the text of my membership appeal to the group.
Eric W shared that, unless our income curve changes, we will need to consider a staff layoff at the end of June or mid-July. Debilyn asked if she should proceed with notices to staff. I was concerned that I was ill prepared to choose between staff and other expenses because our project to consolidate financial information was not quite complete. It was agreed that the project should be given highest priority so these decisions can be made responsibly. We will meet in executive session next week to discuss this, and encourage full attendance for this important conversation.
As always, we were given administrative and work group updates. Here are a few highlights.
1) This week is National Coffee Party Week. We know there are more gatherings going on than are officially registered. It looks like this will be a slower launch of Coffee Groups than we had hoped, but experiences being reported so far are really positive.
2) The new platform website is almost ready to go. Most of infrastructure is created. The team is working on getting access for appropriate people. The “logo refresh options” were made available to us for review and comment.
THE REMAINDER OF THE AGENDA WAS SUSPENDED
SCHEDULE NEXT MEETING AND ADJOURN
The next Maestro Call will be held Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Daylight Time. We were each given 30 seconds to check out and mics were opened so we could all say Aloha to one another.
Jeanene Kay Louden