November 12, 2023 ZA Board Meeting Minutes

Members in Attendance: Daniel Lockley, Mandy Walker-LaFollette, Tendai Muparutsa, Heather Steele, Maria Minnaar Bailey, Janis Weeks, Alex Weeks, Adrienne Stewart
Members Absent: Chris Halaska
Non-voting members in attendance: Claire Jones
Meeting lead: Alex
Notes taker: Mandy
Was a quorum of Board members present?: Yes

October Minutes/Synopsis

Approved over email

Alyson Quinn Interview (All)

ZA Board interviewed Alyson Quinn as a potential new Board member.

Interview Debrief/Decision (All)

No concerns voiced, consensus is that she brings enthusiasm and perspective that we value in a board member. She was officially invited and accepted.

2023 Finance Report (Gary Spalter)

  • Gary presented the 2023 Profit & Loss statement to the Board.
    • There was a small festival loss of $2,405.60, and the organization had a net loss of $10,378.
  • Had we not gotten grants, previous years would have seen similar losses. This is not a trajectory that we can stay on, so we need to use this time without a festival to strategize for fiscal solvency.
  • Claire notes that the last year we made a profit on the festival was 2018, due to good attendance and workshop enrollment, and the fact that Western Oregon University’s fees were low.
  • Ways to reduce expenses:
    • Gary has been spending less time on payroll/bookkeeping, so has dropped his fee back to what we paid him earlier this year.
    • Claire: Last time we took a (non-Covid) year off I went off payroll. I think my payroll should at least decrease. Alex: Only if the agreement is that you will work less.
    • Gary will set up a festival budgeting spreadsheet for projected expenses/income as figures come in. We can use it to set prices with the goal of at least breaking even.
    • Note for next year: many workshops were full; we may want to increase workshop fees and/or workshop offerings if rooms are available.

Check-Ins from Last Month (All)

  • Adrienne onboarding is done.
  • Maria Drive issues – Janis and Maria to meet soon.
  • Site Evaluation follow-up (Adrienne, Claire)
    • Adrienne talked with Jessica at WWU (Bellingham), will get back in 1-2 weeks, then can do a site evaluation.
    • Heather Ward (Spokane) is unavailable for a time, will get back to Claire when she can.
    • Pacific Lutheran (Tacoma, WA): Latest is they are not interested in moving forward with us.
    • Washington State University in Vancouver, WA: no one has looked into, but has been suggested.

Zimfest Teachers Discussion (Claire, Janis)

We briefly discussed low attendance at 2023 teacher meeting. As the agenda is sent out ahead of time, and travel plans often interfere, we do not make it mandatory, but OSU insurance and contracts were satisfied by requirements of teachers.

Board Member and Officer Terms (Alex, Janis)

  • Tenure of current board members (years): Alex 13; Chris, Daniel, Janis 9; Mandy 7; Tendai 5; Heather, Maria & Adrienne, 0-1. We should review every 2 years per by-laws.
  • Alex wishes to step down as Board President.
    • Succession planning: nominating committee?
      • This would allow much of the work/discussion to occur outside of monthly board meetings.
      • Alex offered to recuse himself, but the Board says his experience as board president will make him important.
      • We are setting up a nominating committee.
    • Next board president needs to have time to do things outside of board meetings, and not leave other roles in other parts of the organization that are difficult to fill.
    • Board President job description TBD.
  • Idea: Board matrix; a list of qualities that are useful to the board, and have everyone self-rank so we are aware of qualities we are missing.

Timeline for Next Two Years (All)

  • We have 2 years to prepare for the next festival, and need to make sure that we take advantage of this opportunity to get ahead in the planning department.
  • We are setting up a committee to create this two-year timeline.

Call for Year-round Volunteers (Claire)

There are several areas where we need more year-round volunteers. The board reviewed volunteer descriptions that will be going on the website (on the volunteering page) in a call to our community for year-round volunteers.

Fundraising (All)

Because of the lack of a festival this year, there is a danger of spending down our bank account. Fundraising is going to be important.

Five-year Plan (All)

  • Board retreat is an option for brainstorming and decision making.
  • This will be discussed at the Two Year Timeline meeting.

Tech Committee Update (Janis)

  • The Tech Committee has sent a survey to Organizing Committee members. The results will guide efforts to improve OC members’ experience & effectiveness. Claire will also be giving input on pain points.
  • Independently, TechComm will undertake improvements to Volunteer processes & workflow.