LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
May 6, 2013
About 16 members, including our Region 1 Representative from RID- Janice Cagen-Teuber, came to the general meeting at USM in Portland. We announced that our current Vice President, Grace Cooney, is resigning so the board will appoint someone in her stead to finish out the term with me. I have loved having her as a team- she is a real go-getter who is in Graduate school and about to get married. With so much on her plate she wanted to be fair to allow MeRID to get more attention through someone else.
Our agenda was to focus on the elections and the Bylaws after discussing the MeRID restructure. We ended up eliminating the election process and formed a committee detailed below in the next section in part because Janice explained for us to make sure we all keep in mind that we are only able to vote on matters IF we hold a dual membership of both MeRID and RID Inc. Further explanation is given below.
At the end of the meeting we formally welcomed and awarded a *one-year free MeRID membership to this year’s 8 ITP graduates: Brian Dietzel, Nick Dionne, Marsha Ames, Dani Flewelling, Santina King, Emily LaRose, Krissey Taplin, and Elaine Williams. We look forward to your addition to the community!
After the meeting adjourned some went into the other room to participate in the USM ITP’s annual Interpreter Job Fair and many started showing up to be on a panel or provide interviews to help the transition of these soon to be graduating interpreting students.
*The 2011 board under President Judy passed the vote to award one-year free membership as a graduation gift to ITP students.
“Where you end and I begin.” -Anne Katherine
The restructure of MeRID is to clarify expectations of the board- as a volunteer organization, we need to be conscious of making the best use of our given time by investing in tasks the membership need for their success as an interpreter in the State of Maine.
With transparency, specified expectations may help members feel more connected with MeRID, and clarify how they can be involved with MeRID. For an example, a Newsletter was a very valuable commodity before social media became available and it was okay when this task fell upon a board member when there was a shortage of articles being handed in by members. However, with the task of trying to provide professional development in areas of need as requested by members, attending monthly meetings, writing minutes, keeping up with membership emails, recruiting members, representing MeRID at venues, etc, on top of our already busy lives, none of us have been able to fill Rosanne Ryerson’s shoes of creating a newsletter from scratch- she was the last to publish one and many miss her work. Any MeRID member can take on such tasks and if one does not volunteer, then it remains vacant, and it is now clear that the board is not responsible for the production. Rather, as a member driven chapter, the task is falling upon the membership to promote one another to particular tasks they feel one can accomplish. Various tasks can be committees heading the following; Newsletter, Pro Bono Networking, Silver Lining Fund, Membership recruitment, Forums, Special Topics activities, and so on. The more members involved, the more MeRID is represented.
It is valuable when a person feels productive, and it is priceless when a team feels the impact quotient. A ripple effect is important for one to feel they have successfully acted out their roles. Current definition of the Representatives is to act as outreach and it has left many feeling unsuccessful and oftentimes resentful. As a President, I feel it is important for any volunteer for any organization to feel their energy is well spent. Simplifying what the Representatives function as will strongly impact how the board performs as a whole.
“A representative is someone that the membership feels is one who can provide a balanced view of a specialty field they are involved with to the board in matters of voting and other activities MeRID sponsors. They are also available for contact if a member so desires to communicate about trending ideas or issues in the specialty field. However, they will not be responsible for engaging members throughout the State by means of recruitment like an outreach program.”- Regan
“Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." -Henry Ford.
Many good things resulted from the meeting. One of the bigger steps involves a spontaneously formed Bylaws Committee headed by a dual member, Marisa Zastrow. Several other dual members in attendance immediately volunteered to join to push out the Bylaws in accordance to RID by June 1st. By this date, the Bylaws final draft will be ready for commentary and editing. *This copy will be shared via mail, email, website, and Facebook. The vote on the final draft of the amended Bylaws will be made on June 28th at Meryl’s conference. We will let you know when as soon as we confirm the time.
Once the Bylaws are finalized. We will do again the election process by calling for nominations because of the now clear fact that those who wish to nominate, and the person being nominated must hold a dual membership. Also, our new Bylaws will impact how the election process is conducted. *The new Board turnover date is now set for August 1, 2013.
*The current board members slated to leave have agreed to stay on till new date.
Several concepts were brought forth during the review of the Bylaws- one of which is that perhaps the Representative positions should only be a one-year commitment rather than two to entice diversity, novice or seasoned members, into partaking in the experience of being on the board without feeling the pressure of committing when life is unpredictable. With the Bylaws committee, such concepts will be carefully evaluated.
Another result is we now have a MeRID member that volunteered to take upon the task of being the Website moderator, Jillian Schleicher. Who will help us keep the website updated with new information as they are pushed out via Email and Facebook. She will also create the membership login portal so that only those who have a MeRID membership will enter for exclusive resources.
**Standard mailings will include the following; 1) the Dual Membership listing, nomination poll, and election information, 2) annual membership drive for renewal or posting, and 3) any urgent matters at hand that impacts MeRID as a whole. All other information will be continuously available via email, website, and Facebook (note that all three are moderated by 3 different people so there may be a slight delay in updates).
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.”-Melody Beattie
I am very appreciative of all those who attended and contributed to the meeting. It was valuable to have all of you share your views and perspectives on the new restructure of MeRID. We look forward to putting our energy to best use that will better meet the needs of today’s membership.
On a final note of gratitude, you are cordially invited to join us in celebrating our love for ASL at the “Walk for ASL” event on May 25th on Mackworth Island at 10am. If we don’t see you there then our next meet up opportunity is at Meryl’s Conference on June 28th at Colby College!
MeRID President, Regan Thibodeau