Glorious weather at Huntington Beach CA, or Surf City USA for all Beach Boys fans, made for an excellent AGM a few weeks ago. Gillian Dow, Devoney Looser and Richard Knight were the Plenary Speakers. By the by, Dr Looser will be our speaker at the December 2018 lunch! Wilt Stillman was interviewed by Peter Graham and then we had a showing of Stillman’s lovely film, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP, based on “Lady Susan”. Wonderful breakout sessions by terrific speakers added to the fun and entertainment. Seeing the lovely costumes, some worn every day by loyal Janeites, but especially those at the banquet was a special treat. The promenade was thru the convention center, out to the court yard and into the hotel proper, much to the delight of the hotel patrons and staff. The staff wore Jane Austen pins throughout the AGM and were delightful. The entire AGM was well designed and well run.
To the heart of the AGM-----what was decided? You probably know that the 2018 AGM will be in Kansas City, MO, Sept 28-30, hosted by the Kansas City Region. Registration will open in May so be aware of that early date and look for notices. I suspect this AGM will fill up quickly. Their Theme is “Persuasion: 200 years of Constancy and Hope”. The 2019 AGM will be in Williamsburg, VA from October 4-6 in celebration of Northanger Abbey…..the last of the anniversary celebrations of the books. Cleveland, OH will host the 2020 AGM, featuring Austen’s Juvenila, and more news on all of those will be forthcoming.
I have the AGM General Meeting report which will also soon be up online at the JASNA web site. Some highlights include the increase of members accessing the website, using online membership renewals and the retention of members is over 83%. Liz Philosophos Cooper is the president/elect, but she will also continue as VP- Regions. National has changed both Best Practices for Regions and for AGMS. Investment practices have been updated to provide better control and implementation of more accountability. Merrill-Lynch continues to be our investment manager. National also opened an operating bank account to better track costs and expenses. Dues sharing: National has advised Regions that they may no longer charge Regional dues on top of the dues each member pays to renew their membership. However, National will remit to any Region, holding less than $25,000 in their bank account, $10 per member as membership is calculated with the September membership list. There is a change also to Membership status, new in 2018 JASNA will switch to annual X dates for renewals which will allow people to enjoy a full year of benefits. For example, a new member joining in Feb 2018 will renew on Feb 2019. Old members stay the same for renewal dates. Encouragement was given to use online renewals for speed and accuracy. And all members are encouraged to visit the JASNA Membership Portal to check for accuracy of email addresses and regular mail addresses. Another big change is to Family Memberships---effective Feb 1, 2018, annual FAMILY memberships will not be offered. It was designed to cover two people at the same address, but now more Family memberships are for people at separate addresses which increases the bookkeeping and logistics. No change for Family Life Memberships.
I had a private meeting with Claire Bellanti and Liz P Cooper. They are happy the region is growing and thriving. Our new website and the purchases of AV equipment were highly approved. Claire and Liz want us to continue to use the money in the bank account for the benefit of members through programming and events. They gave me some tips and Claire expressed her hope we would go forward with her visit in 2018 when she hopes to see each of you to thank you personally for your participation in JASNA.