President’s report – 2018

President’s report

This is my first, and perhaps only, president’s report for Editors WA. Thank you for the support of dedicated committee members and other members who have provided us with professionally delivered events over the past twelve months. Thank you also to members at large for your forbearance as we’ve tried to reinvigorate the branch. Above all, it’s imperative there are clear and tangible benefits to belonging to IPEd. Otherwise, what are we all here for?

However, I want also to deliver a branch health report and sound a note of concern with regard to the branch’s well-being. In this, I trust no one will feel hard done by; there have been outstanding moments, but from my perspective, the overall performance of the branch as a whole has been variable.

Branch events

We’ve had some excellent branch events since this time last year. The meetings on 19 February 2018, organised by Ilsa Sharp to discuss thesis editing, and on 19 March, Genres of editing organised by Michèle Drouart, stand out as model collaborations between committee, experts in the subjects, and editors’ minds generally. Why can we not achieve this more often?

There have been some lows, too. I’m sorry we had to cancel, or at least postpone, a proposed meeting for May. That meeting stalled mainly because, although the idea was good, no one took ownership of the event and the date was upon us before we had got a presenter or confirmed a venue. We should avoid duds like this in future.

In my view, at least two factors contributed to the ambivalent results and highly variable attendance at branch meetings. One is that it’s difficult to find motivated organisers for branch activities. The other is the lack of a ‘home’ for meetings.

We are lurching from one meeting to the next and have not been able to put in place longer-term plans that would lend our branch stability and consistency or purpose. As president I take some responsibility for not chivvying people along enough. Earlier in 2018, the branch committee approved an idea to appoint a general meeting coordinator. This person would oversee the calendar of meetings and help steer the logistics of keeping meetings on track. Specifics of meeting organisation would still be undertaken either by the committee or by other branch members, but the meeting coordinator would provide support and advice, and continuity of experience through the calendar year.

Unfortunately, no one from the committee was well placed to take this on and we have not advertised it widely enough to attract someone to the job. So, this report may be taken as an advertisement: if you have the time and resources to fill the role, please contact the committee sooner rather than later.

Our regular meeting venue at The Warehouse café in Shenton Park fell through late in 2017 because the café closed. We have struggled to find a good alternative. Several proposals have been mooted or tested, mostly looking at community halls, but it seems difficult to get consensus on the best. I think a reliable home for branch meetings would go some way to reviving interest among members to attend more events.

I touch on other factors for mixed meeting success later in this report. The calendar of events has only just kept up with the passing months and some events have been advertised with very short notice. It’s important that we give members longer lead times to slot meetings into busy schedules.

Committee

In December 2017 I offered to succeed Cheryl Bettridge as president because, by her own admission, Cheryl was finding it difficult to fit branch matters into or around other commitments. This change carried its own risks because I am also IPEd Councillor for Western Australia and chair of the IPEd Standing Committee for Professional Development (SCPD). It wasn’t clear whether I would be able to successfully juggle the three roles.
There have been some positive outcomes. Among them I count the visit by IPEd CEO, Karen Lee, on 14 April, for an open and frank discussion about the benefits of IPEd membership. We also talked about the functions of the branch for members, and the relationship between the branch and IPEd national office.

Competing demands on my time and energies mean I’ve found it difficult to follow up on all the initiatives that flowed from that meeting. That’s one reason I’m stepping down as president and I hope the committee can find a decisive and committed successor with a flair for motivating volunteers.

During the second quarter of 2018 we’ve also had resignations from Bookwormeditor, Martika O’Brien, website coordinator, Liz Green, and Accreditation Board delegate, Anna Maynard. Concurrently, long-term committee member Jan Knight has had important health matters to take care of, and Ilsa Sharp, our representative on the Style manualworking group and Standing Committee for Academic Editing (SCAE), has had time out for important life-events of her own.

Fortunately, Catherine Macdonald, branch member in Albany, has picked up the task of compiling and editing Bookworm, and I thank Catherine very much for that. Unfortunately, budget officer, Robert Green, has said he will not continue after this 2018 AGM.

Altogether, this means there is significant turnover of the committee as of this AGM. I issued a request for expressions of interest for someone to succeed me as IPEd Councillor, but there have been no responses. This means, if the branch committee and branch members approve, I will probably continue as Councillor until the national AGM in late October 2018, but not beyond. I’d like to encourage any professional member of IPEd with an interest in the broader, strategic scope of IPEd business to think about taking over the role. A detailed description of what’s expected from the Councillor is posted on the Editors WA website.

Branch survey

In March we distributed a survey to the WA membership looking, in particular, for views on what you want from branch meetings and professional development. More than one-third of financial members responded. This tells me there is high potential interest by in the welfare of the branch and what it can or should offer. The survey results are available on the Editors WA website (if the post has fallen off the News section of the Home page, search for ‘member survey’ to find the relevant pages).

I think it’s vital that the branch committee uses the survey as a foundation for planning activities over the next year. You expressed a clear and distinct wish for more professional development opportunities, workshops interspersed through the year (preferring half-day over full-day events), and less guff about IPEd national office and staff matters. Achieving these requires a shift in emphasis and a recommitment to up the ante.

However, it also means finding the right people with the time and availability to make these things happen—this is an on-going demand. An event logistics coordinator, as described above, would certainly help. And the committee needs to be reinvigorated with a mix of experienced members (possibly including some former committee members?) and younger or more recently joined people.

Constitution and Branch By-laws review

A significant review of the IPEd Constitution and By-laws is currently underway. Hopefully you have read about this in the CEO report from Karen Lee, or in a recent edition of Bookworm. We have published an article about this on the Editors WA website and I’m encouraging members to provide feedback.

These reviews are the biggest change to IPEd governance since the transition to direct membership in June/July 2016. Contrary to some expressed perceptions, changes signalled so far by Council and staff are (mostly) provisional—some changes are required under the Corporations Act 2001, but many reflect opinions about how the organisation should be governed and run. That is why it’s important for us to read and comment on the marked-up documents. It is a not-so-frequent opportunity to influence the tenor and colours of IPEd in years to come. The closing date for submissions is 21 August 2018.

Closing remarks

I said at the outset I wanted to deliver a branch health report. In my view, the branch is not in robust condition. I’ve been discouraged by the apparent lack of engagement (the survey was a notable exception) or lack of visible reciprocity between members at large and the committee’s efforts to keep things moving. It is a large state, and Perth is a very spread out city; perhaps this is part of the issue. Hopefully our recent foray into videoconferencing, as a way of enabling members living on the periphery or in more remote areas to take part in events, such as this AGM, will help to bridge that gap.

The Editors WA branch of IPEd has great strengths and its members represent a pool of exceptional talent and resourcefulness. Whether we’re making the most of these strengths and talents for our mutual benefit, and for the benefit of IPEd as an organisation, might depend on who you ask. We have some expert representation on standing committees and working groups, and individuals have been very committed to creating opportunities for learning and development, as well as networking and social cohesion.

Even so, in my view, unless the branch’s capacity to self-motivate improves, we are likely to find ourselves continuing in a rather haphazard, not to say desultory, fashion. I don’t have all the answers, or perhaps any useful answers at all, but someone must have. As individuals, as editing professionals, and as members of an Australia-wide organisation with growing influence among our partner professions, we owe it to ourselves and to each other to support a vibrant and thriving community of editors in Western Australia.

Stephen White
President, Editors WA
Institute of Professional Editors
21/07/2018

Constitution and By-laws review — member consultation

IPEd’s national office has released documents for its review of the Constitution and By-laws (formerly referred to as branch by-laws). Hopefully you have already read about this in the CEO reports from Karen Lee, or in a recent edition of Bookworm.

These reviews are the biggest change to IPEd’s governing principles since the transition to direct membership in June/July 2016. Some changes are copy editing corrections and should be uncontroversial. Many of the substantive changes signalled so far by Council and staff are recommendations and are provisional — but other changes are required under the Corporations Act 2001.

Review documents

This link opens a PDF of the review documents (3 MB). For each of the documents under review, there is a table describing the proposed changes and a copy of the original document marked up with revisions.

For comparison, if you wish, you can view versions of both documents without mark ups:
IPEd Constitution 1 July 2016
IPEd branch by-laws

Providing feedback

We can provide feedback by writing notes to address points in either or both of the documents. I imagine it would also be fine to add comments directly in the PDF using the tools in your favourite PDF viewer. (The mark ups you see in the review papers cannot be accepted/rejected as they would be in a MS Word document.)

Please send feedback directly to the IPEd secretary, Connie Finestone:
secretary@iped-editors.org
by 31 August 2018

Opportunities for discussion

The IPEd secretary has scheduled a webinar to discuss the changes:
Tuesday 14 August 2018

It might be worth the Editors WA branch organising a local meeting to discuss any proposals we disagree with, or any other changes we would like to see made. Please email the Editors WA secretary, Tracy Piper (edwa.admin@iped-editors.org), if you want the committee to arrange this.

Contacts

Do you have questions about the process? Are you not able to access the review documents from the website?

For either of these, send an email to WA Councillor, Stephen White: cr.edwa@iped.editors.org

Are you our next branch president?

Calling all visionary editors – your branch needs you

Editors WA is looking for its next branch president.

 

 

 

If you are motivated by these questions, and have the time and resources to commit, you could be the ideal candidate.

What does being branch president involve?

  • Develop and nurture a vision for the WA branch of IPEd
  • Coordinate committee roles and responsibilities
  • Chair committee meetings
  • Ensure there is an ongoing program of branch activities
  • Communicate with members about services and resources
  • Liaise with IPEd national office about branch issues
  • Meet triannually with other branch presidents
  • Liaise with related writing and publishing organisations

Read more in ‘Branch committee responsibilities and roles’ (PDF)

Job criteria

Candidates for branch president will:

  • have been a member of Editors WA (formerly Society of Editors (WA)) for several years
  • ideally have served at least one term on the branch committee
  • be committed to promoting and advancing IPEd’s vision and goals
  • have good people skills and be able to instil a sense of belonging and community
  • be reasonably adept with web systems and media.

Register your interest by:

  1. contacting the current branch president (details below)
  2. nominating yourself, or asking someone to nominate you, for election at the branch AGM on Saturday 21 July 2018.

Stephen White
President Editors WA
Institute of Professional Editors Limited
Ph: 0430 921 929
E:   edwa.president@iped-editors.org
W:  http://iped-editors.org/

Branch AGM 2018

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Date: Saturday 21 July 2018
Time: 11:00 am start, finish by 12:00 midday
Where: Victoria Park Hotel, 605 Albany Highway, Victoria Park 6100

The event is free to attend but please register online via your IPEd member login and arrive early on the day. Everyone is welcome to stay on for a branch Café Society networking lunch after the AGM.

Annual General Meeting

The Editors WA branch of IPEd will hold its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 21 July 2018 to elect a committee for the 2018–19 year.

Members may attend in person or via video conference (Zoom.us). Read more here about how to join the meeting remotely using Zoom.us.

Finger food will be provided during the meeting and coffee, tea or other drinks can be purchased at this time.

Order of business

1)   Welcome and acknowledgement of country
2)   Acceptance of minutes from 2017 AGM
3)   Editors WA annual report (EdWA president)
4)   Finance report (Budget officer or nominated substitute)
5)   Election of committee members
6)   Any other business
7)   Close.

Link to minutes of the 2017 AGM (PDF)

Election of committee
Details of the rules and processes for electing a committee are given in the current Branch By-laws and IPEd Constitution. You can also read an excerpted summary of the process here.

All committee positions are open for renewal. As many members as needed to ensure effective running of the branch may be elected to the committee for 2018–19. Current committee members may be nominated or apply to continue on the branch committee. Financial IPEd members not currently on the committee are invited to seek nomination or apply to join the committee.

Download a nomination form here. Nominations or applications may be submitted up to and on the day of the AGM. All nominations must include signed consent by the nominee, including for nominations submitted on the day.

If needed, voting will be conducted during the AGM. Members who are unable to attend the meeting in person or by video conference may nominate a proxy to vote on their behalf. Please download the appointment of proxy form here.

Committee positions
Applicants or nominees for committee positions may also specify a committee role if they wish, but interest in committee membership with no specified role is also welcomed. The only formal position that may be decided at the AGM is that of branch president. Voting for that position will be conducted if and only if there is more than one nomination directly for that position.

Current committee roles are as follows:

  • President (may be filled at AGM)
  • Secretary
  • Councillor (can be from outside the committee)
  • Budget officer
  • Website coordinator
  • Newsletter editor
  • Mentoring coordinator
  • Accreditation Board delegate (can be from outside the committee and be appointed an ex officio member of committee)

The first meeting of the new committee will select a President (if the position has not been decided at the AGM). Other roles will be distributed among the rest of the committee at this time, too. If members of the newly formed committee have already indicated a preference for a particular role, this will be taken into consideration when roles are allocated.

Remember: register online using your IPEd member login.

For further information, please contact Editors WA secretary, Tracy Piper (edwa.admin@iped-editors.org) or president Stephen White (edwa.president@iped-editors.org).

Café Society

Following the main business, the Café Society networking meeting will convene over lunch at the same venue. Food and drinks will be pay as you go.

EOI for IPEd councillor WA

 IPEd logo

Calling all editing advocates – your national body needs you

IPEd councillor for Western Australia

The Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd), through its Editors WA branch, is seeking a new councillor to represent IPEd in Western Australia.

Stephen White, WA councillor since early 2016, is stepping aside to allow a successor with verve and commitment to IPEd’s vision and objectives to take over. The councillor is a member of IPEd’s Board of Directors and may be co-opted to the branch committee (if not already a committee member). The term is usually two years from the date of the national AGM held in September/October. The position is voluntary but there is an honorarium.

A more detailed description of the tasks, requirements and benefits of the position is available here.

Other documents for prospective candidates are the Council mandate and Guide for councillors. Please contact Stephen to request these documents.

Stephen White

Editors WA – IPEd Councillor for Western Australia
Institute of Professional Editors Limited
Ph: 0430 921 929

Member survey: the results are in

Feedback from survey of IPEd members Editors WA branch

Between late March and early April we circulated a survey that sought to understand more about what editors in Western Australia want from their membership. This was the first survey of members’ views in Western Australia since IPEd transitioned to direct membership in July 2016, and to our knowledge is the only statewide survey of branch or former Society of Editors (WA) members for this purpose since at least 2010.

The aim of this survey was to better understand members’ overall level of satisfaction with branch activities, and what members, the committee, or IPEd as an organisation might do to improve services to members in Western Australia. The survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey online surveying and was distributed to the Western Australia membership list by the IPEd Communications Officer.

There were 37 respondents out of a state membership of 102, so just over one-third of Western Australian members of IPEd responded. This is at least as high as any previous survey or poll of Western Australian editors and is considered sufficient to reasonably infer that the responses may reflect the views of the membership as a whole.

A review and analysis of the results is available here.

Survey results extracted as PDF from SurveyMonkey are available here.

A summary of comments to questions that included a comments box are here (some comments are truncated in the results PDF).

Thank you to everyone who took part. Information from this survey will be used to provide a better member experience for editors in Western Australia.

Best wishes,
Stephen White
Editors WA President
edwa.president@iped-editors.org

Survey results are coming soon

Results from the recent survey of WA IPEd members are in

About one-third of members in WA contributed, which a a great response – thank you to everyone who took part! We are currently assessing and summarising the information and we’ll share this with you as soon as possible.

Act Now! Move to the national Editors Directory

This is an important message for everyone with a profile on the Editors WA Register of editors.

The WA Register of editors has now closed.

State-based registers of editors have been replaced by the national Editors Directory (ED) and this is now the main platform for editors, especially freelancers, to upload a skills-based profile. IPEd has been actively promoting the national ED as the portal for potential clients seeking editorial services.

Closure of the WA Register of editors has been advertised on the WA Register of editors page since August 2017 and we have passed the scheduled date for closure.

The Register was deactivated over the weekend of 31 March 2018. All eligible editors are encouraged to subscribe to the national Editors Directory, if you haven’t already. Requirements for subscribing to the ED are described on the national IPEd website

We’re aware this may seem rather short notice, and that the criteria for an entry in the national ED are less flexible than for the WA Register of editors. However, New South Wales and Victoria have already deactivated their state registers, and other branches are in the process of doing so. Given our status as a branch of IPEd, it behoves us to follow suit.

If this change is likely to cause you serious problems, or if you have other concerns about this action, please contact me directly by email: edwa.president@iped-editors.org.

Every effort will be made to protect the privacy of personal information stored in the WA website. No information will be downloaded to a public domain, although a backup of the whole website may be made to protect against accidental loss of information, and for future archiving.

No date has been set for the WA website to transfer to a section of the national website, but work is underway by IPEd staff to develop pages for each branch of IPEd and migration to the national website will probably take place in the second half of 2018.

Thank you for helping to make this a smooth transition.

Will the president please stand up?

I hope by now you’ve heard that, in January this year, Cheryl Bettridge stepped down as president of Editors WA and I stepped awkwardly into her shoes. Cheryl guided the former Society of Editors (WA) through a time of significant change, the ripples of which are still extending through various levels of the organisation. Thus, it was no small matter for me to take over responsibility for keeping us pointing in generally the right direction.

As I’ve not met many members in person, I’d like to introduce myself here, partly so you can identify areas to educate me about what you hope to gain from Editors WA and from IPEd generally.

Editors-WA-President

I emerged from under which rock?

I came to Western Australia from New Zealand in 2007, looking for a way back into a career in geology. But the minerals exploration and mining scene didn’t fill me with enthusiasm and, after brief stints with a couple of minor companies, I was lucky to land a job at the Geological Survey of Western Australia — not as a geologist, but as an editor in their Editing and Publishing section. Ignorant of what this might involve, it nevertheless seemed like an ideal chance to get a foot in the door. Like many former academics — I have an Honours degree in geology from The University of Auckland (1990) and PhD in geology from Otago University (1998) — I imagined I knew a thing or two about writing. The marriage of geology and written communication was a fortunate fork in a twisted career path.

I joined the former Society of Editors (WA) in about 2011–12, when Robin Bower was president, and hung about on the periphery for a while. This changed in 2014–15 when I was encouraged (or pushed?) to stand for the committee, and again in early 2016 when I found myself squeezed into the role of IPEd Councillor for Western Australia — just as the topic of transition to direct membership was approaching the pointy end of the stick.

What are some of our priorities?

Coming to the position of branch president while also Councillor for Western Australia has both pluses and minuses. It’s helpful to have the perspective of being on IPEd Council because it provides context for the WA branch and background to many of the decisions the branch has to make on behalf of members of IPEd in this state. On the other hand, I have to balance my obligations, as Councillor, to work for IPEd as a national organisation, while also advocating for editors in WA.

Here are some of the areas where I hope we’ll make progress in the short to medium term:

  • Improve the professional standing of members in Western Australia
    Before transition in 2016, the membership structure of the Society of Editors (WA) differed from most other societies in Australia. At transition and since, this has resulted in Editors WA having proportionally fewer members subscribed in the professional category than any other branch. I want to see more WA members recognise the benefits of switching to the professional membership category.
  • Bring training opportunities into line with other branches
    Despite a healthy program of regular meetings, and annual Winter Seminars, since at least 2007 when the Society of Editors became part of IPEd, we have not had the same opportunities for technical training as some other states. In part, this is because other states, such as Victoria and New South Wales, have larger publishing industries and much larger population bases, so they have greater capacity to offer technical training. However, we now have the backing of IPEd nationally, and a chance to draw on that resource to raise our game.
  • Ensure the voice of Editors WA is heard at the national level
    There is no suggestion that the national organisation does not recognise Editors WA equally with other branches, but there is a lingering sense that, hanging out at the end of a long limb, geographically distant from our eastern cousins, we tend to look to our own clan for direction. In my view, it would be good for us to feel more closely integrated with the larger tribe. This will be helped by development of a national program for professional development, and by having more WA branch members on national standing committees and working groups.

Want to tell me your hopes and aspirations, as an editor and for the WA branch? Let’s talk. You can reach me at edwa.president@iped-editors.org. My inbox is open.

Regards

Stephen White
President, Editors WA (January 2018 – )
IPEd Councillor for Western Australia (January 2016 – )