AMT’s Annual General Meeting 2018 in review

by Rebecca Barnett

My dad was an avid railway modeller. He built a layout underneath the family home that took up a third of the footprint of a large, gracious federation house and traversed four rooms. He was also a member of the local model railroad club. They held meetings. Lots of meetings. And, for many of my formative years, the family home was host to the Annual General Meeting of the North Shore Railway Modellers Club so that a nerd of middle-aged, socially awkward men (yes, that is the correct collective noun) would have an excuse to play with the layout downstairs for endless, interminable hours after the meeting, when they weren’t too busy stuffing their faces with sponge cake and pikelets. I invite you to pause for a minute and picture that scene inside your head.

Typical scene at the Barnett family home

It was pretty hard to avoid the club AGMs when they occupied the centre of your family home. As a confused teenager, I found it hard to understand why there seemed to be such an urgent need for change to the club’s constitution every year. Without fail, every single AGM seemed to descend into fevered and surprisingly heated discussion about the finer points of the club’s constitution. It was spectacularly, crushingly boring. And pointless. It may even have been my earliest experience of existential angst.

All this introductory rambling is really just my long-winded way of suggesting that AGMs are hard. They’re necessary but they’re not very sexy. I don’t know anyone who isn’t ambivalent about them.

So, after those formative childhood experiences, you can imagine the spectacular ambivalence I felt the first time I had to front up to an AMT AGM in 2006 as accidental secretary of AMT (official title). It was a year that the Association was undertaking massive constitutional change. This was the perfect storm of epic irony and childhood trauma. It was also hilarious and a little bit thrilling. That turned out to be a particularly lively and memorable AGM, as well as a significant historical moment for AMT but that’s a blog post for another time.

I have since attended 12 more AMT AGMs, 11 of them as secretary of AMT so I feel like I am in a pretty good position to speak with some authority on why AGMs do matter and how they can be deceptively alluring. For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on our recent AGM in Adelaide.

Our foray into Adelaide was exciting because it marked a whole series of firsts for AMT …

The 2018 AGM was the first time AMT has ventured into South Australia

I feel a bit ashamed to admit this one. AMT has what I would describe as a small but perfectly formed membership in South Australia. They have been incredibly patient and forbearing, and it was definitely their turn. Our reward for hosting the AGM in Adelaide was being faced with a group of committed, happy and enthusiastic members, some of whom had travelled 3 or 4 hours to make it to the day. We were so bloody happy to see you! Thank you doesn’t cover it. We’re already talking about, planning and looking forward to our next visit.


The 2018 AGM was Michelle McKerron’s first as AMT Chairperson

Michelle or Winston?

We already knew Michelle was warm, engaging and brilliant from the way she opened AMT’s conference last year. However, I would describe her efforts at the AGM this year as Churchillian if it weren’t for the fact that she was svelte, sober and cigarless. Let’s just say her view of 2017 was a Churchillian call to reflect on what we have to be proud of, grateful for and excited about. It served as a reminder of why AGMs play such a noteworthy and significant role in bolstering the morale of an organisation: there’s not much time to reflect on and celebrate what you’ve achieved when you’re so busy doing stuff. This statement applies equally to individual members and the Association as a whole. It’s good to stop and appreciate your wins. The AGM allows us to do that at least once a year.

We live Facebooked the AGM to AMT’s group so I invite you to watch Michelle’s address. The quality of the footage and sound is not great (it’s the best we can do on the fly) but the sentiment still comes through loud and clear. Thank you Michelle for your leadership and compassion.

The 2018 AGM was Katie Snell’s first as AMT Secretary

Katie makes maiden speech

There can’t be too many AMT members who don’t know Katie. A fair whack of you would have spoken to her over the phone, exchanged emails with her or said hello at the conference. She’s been at AMT for just shy of 12 years so she is very much a part of the furniture. But we’re not talking that faded old lounge that’s overdue for a trip to Vinnie’s or the worn out pouffe in front of the tele. She’s the chaise lounge of AMT – sleek, modern and just a little bit dangerous.

Katie took over as company secretary of AMT last year. I can’t think of anyone I would rather have passed that baton over to and seeing her report to members at the AGM was a heart-swelling moment of pure joy. The first-time nerves didn’t stop her from delivering her first speech like a seasoned pro. Congratulations Katie.

The post AGM workshop was the first time Subhadra Gerard has presented for AMT

Subhadra works the room at the AGM workshop

Subhadra has done loads of presenting in his home state of Western Australia but this is the first time he has fronted up for AMT. After seeing him in action, I really hope we can look forward to more. He packed a huge swag of techniques for the neck into the 5-hour workshop, and his presentation style was clear, approachable and generous – he allowed participants to video all of the demonstrations for later revision.

But why should you take my word for it? Here’s what one of the locals said:

As a new graduate in country South Australia, I found this to be an amazing opportunity, I’ve watched the videos I recorded over and over, and read my notes so many times! I’ve used the techniques on my clients and they are amazed. Thank you so much.

So perhaps AGMs are something to look forward to after all. Even those railway modeller AGMs eventually got a bit exciting when the club’s only female member was elected president, simultaneously becoming the first female and the first transgender member to occupy that position. Did I say that AGMs were boring? Pffft.

Thank you South Australia for your warm reception and thank you to those dedicated souls who travelled interstate to be at this year’s AGM. We will definitely be back.

About the Author

As the former Secretary of AMT, Rebecca Barnett has been at the coalface of professional advocacy for 12 years. Her proudest achievements include the release of the AMT Code of Practice in 2013 and the establishment of AMT’s classified massage therapy research database. She is devoted to neologism and foodstuffs with the same specific gravity as havarti cheese but she remains ambivalent about semi-colons.

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