President’s AGM speech

AGM speech 2012 by Robert Berkhout, President.

Welcome dear friends and thank you for coming to London farm tonight. Welcome to Councilor Chak Au, the new liaison for the City of Richmond.

Welcome to City of Richmond representatives: Connie Baxter and Peter Harris.

A number of Board members will not be standing for re election.

Marianne Kurlak will retire after 20 relentless years of various functions and precious contributions to the Society. We will miss her dignified charm.

Sally Mercer will not return to the Board table but we all hope that she will continue to contribute her ever growing expertise and remarkable good taste for gardening.

We also say good bye to Jerry Muir who time and again brought useful insights to a whole array of issues we have been facing.

Jerry was notoriously 5 minutes late at meetings, but luckily his ideas and corrections always arrived just on the right moment.

Thank you so much, Marianne, Sally and Jerry.

In a few minutes the directors will entertain the standing items for this evening, but I would like to dedicate my last speech as Chair to some remarks in general.

London Farm has come to a cross road. With almost each part of the Farm growing, there is a demand for more regulations and clearer guidelines for both staff and volunteers.

Managing London Farm has become more challenging over the years. Costs of almost everything are rising and we are dealing with a growing number of visitors to the park as well as the increasing popularity of in and outdoor events.

Wonderful as that may be, it also comes with more strain on a simple Society, struggling with less volunteer hours available.

Some of the once good functioning policies need to be reviewed. However:  London Farm is by nature all about tradition and preserving the past.  And with that in mind we have to be careful with too much re-inventing and changes.

“Where do we go from here?” was the question we asked ourselves at a special meeting last month. The discussion that ensued from that meeting will be continued by the next Board, as will the urgent review of the   Society Bylaws.    We intend to present revised Bylaws to the Members at the next AGM.

The London Heritage Society does not enjoy any substantial financial support from any government or institutions. So it is up to us, the volunteers, to keep this place up and running and to meet the always increasing expectations.

In a healthy society progress is inevitable and with it come growing pains and fits.  I think it is safe to say that last year was a testing one for this Board, but there is ample evidence we will come out stronger than ever.

Greg Halsey Brand said in his retirement speech a few months ago:  “you guys have come a long way”, and so we did.

When I look at the list of names of volunteers who want to join the new Board, it is clear evidence that LF will continue to play its strong and important role in the communities of Richmond and Steveston

I enjoyed being Chair, most of time. I feel it was a special honor for a new immigrant to have had the chance to play a small role somewhere in a corner of Canada. It really made me feel part of a wonderful country, and it is true that by volunteering one can make dear friends.

It took me some time to fully understand the phenomenon of volunteering, and it keeps surprising me what can be established with a relatively small group of dedicated people.

Many times I have thanked you for your support, but never enough. That is why I want to end my task as President with a very big thank you.

Board of Directors

Become a board member at London Heritage Farm and make a difference in your community!

This year there are only two board member positions standing and there are seven positions open. If you are not familiar with the farm already you can visit our website: LondonFarm.ca for more information. Check out the job profile below and let us know if you are interested in running for a position.

 Board Members – Job Profile

General

At the London Heritage Farm Society annual general meeting (AGM), Board members are elected to serve London Heritage Farm and its members.

Elected Board Members have accepted the responsibilities to oversee the society’s progress and future development. Their actions and services will allow the objectives, in which the members of the organization believe, to be fulfilled.

Term & Meetings

The Board of Directors has no less than seven, and optimally nine, elected members who are eligible to serve one to three year terms on the Board of directors with the possibility of being re-elected. There is a term limit of five consecutive years.

There are no less than four Board meetings each year with additional meetings as required.

Knowledge of London Heritage Farm Society

Board members are expected to have a working knowledge of the following documents prior to accepting a nomination to serve on the Board of Directors.  These documents are available on request from the Administrator.

  • Bylaws
  • Code of Ethics
  • Annual Statement
  • Board Responsibilities
  • Board Operations Manual

Governance & Skills

Board members should have one or more of the following skills and experience with

  • Business Administration
  • Governance & Board Effectiveness
  • Financial Management & Planning
  • Bookkeeping
  • Fundraising
  • Restaurant and/or gift shop management
  • Heritage gardening and/or organic farming
  • Museum Collections and Artifacts
  • Human Resource Management
  • Volunteer Development

Responsibilities

Board members agree and are committed to London Heritage Farm’s objectives. Board members are expected to provide leadership in the following:

  • Promote London Heritage Farm’s mandate
  • Demonstrate commitment to the London Heritage Farm by keeping updated on the programs and events at London Heritage Farm and publicly support them
  • Participate in the selection, nomination and evaluation of: officers of the Board, committee members and employees
  • Demonstrate willingness to serve on at least one of the various committees created by the Board of Directors
  • Review prepared documents prior to attending Board meetings and AGMs
  • Commit to at least 9 hours of work per month, including the review of Board documents
  • Be aware, declare and abstain from any conflict of interest
  • Reflect on, propose, and find ways to implement policies for the organization
  • Work on long and short-term goals, objectives and priorities for the community
  • Review and evaluate the activities of the organization
  • Participate in Board discussions and vote according to their own views and beliefs
  • Promote membership in London Heritage Farm through their network
  • Be accountable for the organization’s financial management and oversight
  • Work on the management succession plan to ensure Board renewal
  • Participate in the annual Board evaluation process
  • Foster positive working relationships with other Board members, staff and volunteers
  • Actively collaborate with and treat all board members with respect, cooperation,  understanding and dignity.

Before you become a director: Board of Directors Checklist