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Atlanta OutWorlders Business Meeting Minutes

November 19, 2001

Members present

Mike Allgood, Ed Tharp, Alan Siler, Jeff Smith, Kris Harter, Ed DeGruy, Scott Johnston, Will Gauvin, Maylon Walker, Mark Gravitt, William Shepard, Mark Shewmaker, Kirk Tsouros, JP Rhea.

Meeting called to order at 8:15pm, Mike Allgood presiding.

Updates on Old Business:

Treasury — Nothing new to report. (Alan Siler)

Dragon*Con – JP asked if we really wanted to single ourselves out as a minority, rather than integrating our forums into other tracks. He also mentioned possible security issues. It was noted that we have discussed partnership with some other tracks, but to coordinate with all of the tracks would be too difficult. Mike noted that the Gaylactic Network has been very sussesful in running these type of tracks in the past.

New Business:

Officer Elections – Elections will be held in December at the Business Meeting. The vote will be closed ballot voting for those present. For those wishing to vote, but unable to attend, it is asked that they send their votes by email to Kirk Tsouros ([Redacted]) before the meeting. Kirk will be tallying the votes at the meeting.

Candidates are as follows: President – Mike Allgood, Alan Siler, Scott Tatum Vice President – Ed DeGruy Treasurer – No candidate, but Alan said that if he did not get the Presidency, he would continue as the Treasurer. Secretary – Scott Johnston

Scott Tatum’s platform was read by Mike Allgood. Scott was unable to attend due to illness. His platform is as follows:

Platform proposal: I wish to indicate my interest in Atlanta Outworlders President. My qualifications include having previously served multiple years as either president, vice-president or board member for a local live role-playing group of over 60 members (IFGS) as well as being active in several of the Atlanta Outworlders events.

My interests are: to expand our membership through advertising in appropriate venues (local papers, hobby shops, college campuses), ensuring that our name and contact information is present at the events we host, and finding areas upon which the membership would like to build. Areas that I personally wish to see expand are gaming (role-playing and board gaming), comic books (potentially a function of the discussion group), and possibly a weekly event with member’s favorite sci-fi/fantasy television programs condensed. I believe that the board’s goals should be to grow the membership base, promote interests expressed by the membership and promote/provide support to member initiative. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Alan Siler presented his platform. His platform is as follows:

President - Sets tone for organization; “Rallies the troops”; Spokesman for organization

Goals of OutWorlders -

  • to have fun
  • to provide a community
  • to promote SF/F/H, with particular attention to materials of interest to GLBT people and their friends
  • to provide forums for GLBT people and their friends to share their interest in SF/F/H
  • to promote the presence of GLBT elements within SF/F/H and within fandom

The primary purpose of our next year as an organization under my leadership would be to focus on the first two goals. This will be accomplished in part by looking back at where we’ve been in the past year, and looking ahead to where we are going. I think that the area that we are weakest in at the moment is ‘providing community’. That will be a primary focus of mine. The other focus will be in bettering our methods of communication, both internal and external. My first three actions as President will be:

  1. Evaluations and Recommendations - This will help us to identify what the positives and negatives of our first year were: How do we capitalize upon the strengths, and how do we learn and build up the negatives?
    • Solicit evaluations from both active and inactive members:
      1. Hold open forum, “town hall” type meeting for members to air thoughts about the first year and suggestions for how we should proceed from here.
      2. Contact mailing list members with invitation to give feedback.
        • Devise a plan of action based on the responses from these actions.
  2. Membership - The second half of the past year saw very dramatic growth in the number of people that expressed interest in our organization and what it offered. The primary focus of the new year will be to develop the membership we have now, get them more involved, find out what
    • Contact mailing list members whom we’ve never met
    • Focus more on making new people feel welcome and helping them integrate into the group.
    • Outreach will become a greater priority after we’ve done more to develop the members we’ve already got.
  3. Internal and External Communications
    • Communication between officers and coordinators
      1. In the first 2 - 3 weeks, have one-on-one conversations with each officer/coordinator
        1. Officers - discuss duties and responsibilities, as well as how each feels they can expand position
        2. Coordinators - meet with Event Coordinator and SIG leaders.
          • Emphasis will be placed on the SIG’s. I think this could be a huge strength of ours that can be developed further. New groups started, new ways to promote each group, how each group can develop its own audience, and ways in which that new audience can be integrated into the OutWorlders. Basically, each SIG should not only provide an outlet for current members, but should also serve as a point of entry into the larger organization.
      2. Establish regular meetings with officers and/or coordinators to make certain that everyone knows what’s going on, have a chance to air concerns, seek advice from each other, and that we are all together on things. This can either be an hour prior to each business meeting or totally separately.
        • Communication from officers and coordinators to members / Communication from members
          1. Its important that the officers communicate actions and decisions to the membership
          2. It is also important that the members are given a chance to air feedback and concerns, and to feel that they have say in what happens with their group.
        • External communications - once the house is in order, seek new ways to improve advertising, community involvement, etc.


  • Have been OutWorlder officer and coordinator for the past year
  • Have been officer (including Pres) in other organizations in the past
  • I care very much about this organization and want to see it grow

Mike Allgood presented his platform. His platform is as follows:

I have served OutWorlders as Vice Pres. for the past year. OutWorlders has grown quickly and rapid growth needs something to stabilize it. Having been vice president and been active in the promotion and growth, I feel I am qualified to continue to lead the group as President.

These are my goals for OutWorlders:

Grow OutWorlders through promotion -

Recruitment and visibility at local and regional conventions Ads in community news papers and magazines Placing flyers in local businesses we frequent

Grow OutWorlders financially -

Establish a solid budget that the members can live with Pursue fundraising activities to help defray costs Look for sponsorship of certain events

Plan events and activities that will engage the membership -

Quarterly Game Night More movie outings Picnics and outdoor activities Hosted TV nights

Promote growth in the Special Interest Groups -

Encourage the current Groups (Book, Writers, Discussion, Gaming, Dr. Who) Assist in the formation of new SIGs

Promote change within OutWorlders as needed -

Listen to the wants and needs of the membership Keep an open dialog going with interested members regarding the groups direction Work with the Officers and members to implement approved changes in Outworlders

Make membership in OutWorlders worth something -

Provide tangible benefits to members (Member card, News Letters) Provide “perks” to members (Group discounts, free movie passes, free promo merchandise)

These are the ideas I have had over the past year. One person cannot make this happen, but as President, and with the support of the group, we can accomplish these goals and keep OutWorlders the Premier GLBT Science Fiction group in the Southeast.

Ed Degruy – Platform will be posted by November 23rd.

Scott Johnston – Platform is as follows.

I will attend all Business Meetings and take minutes for the official record. I will do anything in my power to help the President and other officers in making this group run smoothly and efficiently.

Budget – Alan said that the current officers were working on a budget for 2002. Things they are considering are: Standard operating costs, Pride registration, Con parties, Flyers, Website costs. The budget will be posted to the Business list when it is completed. Possibility of Instituting dues was mentioned (5-10 dollars a year). Maylon asked if we needed to set up status as a Non-Profit Organization, since we are handling money now. JP brought up the possibility if members only discussion lists, and members only perks that would come with dues. JP suggested a handbook for members with pertinent information, to be given out once you paid dues. It was suggested that there be a committee to look into getting NPO status. It was noted that Blake had info at one time on this, and that Mike has a paralegal at his disposal. Mike was to take the lead on this. Mark suggested making dues not mandatory.

Website – Mike gave a report on the website, and the reasons behind the recent changes. Discussion as to whether the site should be managed by the group or the webmaster. Mike said he is working on an option to where members can post and edit their own profiles. Kris stated that she felt the Webmaster should not be an officer as well, due to the need for checks and balances. Mike said that he enjoyed doing it, and did not want to give it up if he became President. Kirk suggested that the Webmaster should decide if they feel up to doing both jobs. JP said that the Webmaster should be a cabinet position with the Secretary in charge of it. It was decided that if the group is to have control of the site content, that it needs to pay for the associated fees. JP suggested a handbook for members with pertinent information, to be given out once you paid dues. It was decided that all major changes to the website will be posted to the Business List, and there would be a monthly update on the website at each Business Meeting.

Meeting Adjourned at 9:25pm.