Organizing “Committee” Minutes: Kicking Off 2014

February 1, 2014: We’ve held our first “organizing committee” meetup of the year.

The purpose of this meeting was to bring out volunteers who are interested in contributing to the direction of our meetup group.

We did some brainstorming, identified goals for the group, and assigned tasks/next steps.

Special thanks to Tom Auger & Zeitguys for being an awesome host, providing both the venue and lunch!

Notes from the Meeting

These points came up in discussion; I pulled them straight from the whiteboard.

Situation

  • Over 1100 members.
  • We’re building on last year’s structured approach.

Why do we exist?

  • Professional networking. (Operating in a vacuum is bad.)
  • Providing and receiving peer support.
  • Affirmation; knowing that you’re not alone.
  • Socializing, having fun, making friends.
  • Being part of a bigger whole. “We’re stronger together.”
  • Able to pull in contributions from different skillsets (design, code, biz, etc.)
  • Education for all skill levels.
  • Alternative WordPress education at a lower cost.
  • Identifying leaders within our community.
  • Raise Toronto’s reputation within the WordPress/tech communities.

Goals!

  • Helping people make a living through WordPress.
  • Be engaging and accessible for everyone.
  • Provide benefits to both attendees & contributors.
  • Have focused content during meetups.
    • e.g. targeted groups: users, technical/dev, businesses, etc.
    • Identify the niches within our group.
    • Create “subgroups”, e.g. VIP or working groups, to diversify content.
  • Keep members informed of WordPress news, events.
  • Be flexible with meetup scheduling, locations.
  • Celebrate open source software.
  • Support local businesses, organizations.

How do we achieve these goals?

  • Mentoring.
  • Taking on projects, e.g. ongoing Contrib2Core meetups.
  • Internal training sessions for members.
  • Peer reviews, e.g. site clinics with panels.
  • Joint meetups with other groups.
  • Regular surveys/polls to collect feedback.
  • Share notes and advice with one another.

Our Next Meetups

  • Scaling WordPress (weekday in February, Dan & Lloyd to lead)
  • Followup on January’s Accessibility presentation (TBD)
  • Start Contrib2Core in March (Dan, Tom, Peter to lead)
  • Have activities available for non-developers to participate in, e.g. forum support.
  • Working session (TBD)
  • Upcoming 3rd Party Events
  • Topic Idea: Ecommerce, Securing WordPress (TBD)

Roles

  • Project Management: Jordan
  • Scribe/Record Keeping: Andy
  • Surveys/Feedback: Peter
  • Organizers: Andy & Brent
  • Lead Organizer: Brent
  • Event Hosts/Volunteers: Tutu, others TBD.
  • Other roles TBD as we need them!

Action Items

  • GENERAL: Call for meetup topic suggestions.
  • BRENT & ANDY: Outline submission process for meetups.
  • PETER: Draft community survey. Don’t forget to include a question about industry type so we know who’s in the meetup group.
  • ANDY: Can people RSVP for a meetup without registering on Meetup.com or joining a group? (No, no they can’t!)
  • ANDY: Circulate contact information with the rest of the “organizing group”.

Other Notes

  • Set clear expectations for meetups: Who are they for, why is it relevant/important, and what do people need to prepare (if anything)?
  • Break down large topics for less overwhelming content.
  • Paul is interested in starting a subgroup to discuss VIP-related issues. Anthony is interested in helping out with that.
  • Arrange group travel to WordCamps this year.
  • Get some awesome WPTO swag made to represent Toronto.

If you weren’t able to make the meetup but are interested in contributing/getting involved, register and join the organizing & contributing group.

Soft Launch of WPToronto.com

Near the end of the meeting we brought up the new site. Key points:

  • It’s a BuddyPress site with bbPress goodness. Registration is open. Groups are open. Forums are open. We’ll keep things open for as long as we can to see how people use the site. So go and register and play with it!
  • Notes, videos, photos from meetups and events will be shared here.
  • We’ll be closing the discussion forums on Meetup.com and pointing people to our new forums at wptoronto.com/forums/.

In the pipeline:

  • Business directory.
  • Ability to add your own events to our calendar.
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One comment on “Organizing “Committee” Minutes: Kicking Off 2014
  1. Lloyd says:

    Hi Andy and all.

    Great meeting notes.

    Some suggestions:

    I think we should divide the organizational tasks into two groups: one is essentially Operations, and the other is Planning/Programming.

    Operations would involve booking the hall, making sure the speaker shows up, etc.; it would also include the people who do registration and hosting, anyone who is at the event or involved in its logistics. I see it as a team, with people doing reg and similar tasks learning about how the group runs and being able to step into more responsible roles as they gain experience.

    Planning/programming would be responsible for selecting speakers, setting up a submissions process for topics and speakers, and the questions around multiple Meetups per month, Meetups targeted to subgroups (say, developers or designers), and working groups on projects like Contrib2core.

    (Re subgroups: I think meetings targeted at specific groups should be tried, and if they get traction on the first one, then we should do another for the same demographic…. and if it keeps up, then make it a sub-group.)

    The ideas from Saturday’s session are quite ambitious. Being a volunteer organization, you can never tell when someone will leave the group or have a personal crisis. People should feel they have a stake in the group, and there should be people in the wings who can step up if required.

    -Lloyd

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