Board Meeting_Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The Wharton Club of New York
Tuesday, January 19, 2009
Hosted by Clifford Aronson
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Peter Hildick Smith
Thanks to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for hosting this meeting.
I. Chairman’s Remarks (Nigel Edelshain)
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm by the President as the Chairman was absent. An apology was made on behalf of the Chairman and the board minutes of 06/15/09 were presented and approved.
Motion: Allen Levinson
Second: Dana Michael
II. President’s Report (Kenneth Beck)
Joseph Wharton Dinner 2009
The President reported that the JWD was a remarkable success and that the following were achieved:
- More money was made this year than last year.
- More tickets were sold this year than last year.
- More sponsorship dollars were received this year than last year.
Kenny said these results were remarkable given that the steering committee did not know what to expect due to economic conditions when planning started. In fact the goal was originally just to break even and this was achieved by contracting Global Events (formerly Paint the Town Red) to handle our sponsorship for a percentage of what they produced. Global Events reported to our Sponsorship Chair and followed our philosophy.
Kenny noted that the school as well as the award recipients were thrilled about the Dinner and said he too was pleasantly surprised by the Steering Committee presenting him with an award. The Dean and other delegates from the school were present, and the President of Penn was also present for the first time.
He reported that the next Joseph Wharton Dinner will be announced in a few weeks and will be the 5th Anniversary since its revival. He hopes to get all award recipients, board members and everyone back on board.
Kenny believed this will also be the 25th Anniversary of the dinner as a whole.
New Office Space
The WCNY is now acquiring office space in NYC at Bevmax Office Centers from Rick Feld who is the President and a Penn Graduate. The contract is now being reviewed and the location is between 46th Street and Broadway. There is no long term contract only a minimum of six months. The cost is $1200.00 per month which includes phone, internet, receptionist, mail services and 10 hours conference room usage at any of their offices.
This new office space will make us more efficient.
III. Marketing - Peter Hildick-Smith
Database: We have been hesitant to move forward with the database migration but we are now in the final stage to be on the same platform. Currently we have approximately 3000 members whose accounts are not matching with the overall alumni database. We are now targeting the end of November to be on the same Alumni Magnet enterprise platform.
Kenny added that the communications division is not comfortable in doing this migration as it poses several challenges. One major challenge is that the club has an old database designed by Alumni Magnet but they do not have the resources to service us to do what we want to do, and as such we cannot allow this migration to disrupt our operation.
Communication: In an attempt to migrate to a new Newsletter, RFPs were issued to six leading custom magazine publishers. One was selected who was willing to develop and sell a self-funding ad sales program with the goal of making the WCNY Magazine breakeven by year 2. However, this was not the right fit because it resulted in a breakdown in relationship. Subsequently, the decision was made to go back to the same process but this time to contract Global Event to do the sponsorship.
Kenny stated that for the past 6 months the Club did not produce any Newsletters and as a result we had to send out postcards as a substitute to promote the Joseph Wharton Dinner.
Member Benefits: Rodney Gibson is the new volunteer in the area of member benefits. He will be focusing on retention, benchmarking other alumni groups and looking at our brand/mission statement.
IV. Volunteers Division - Diana Davenport
Our first volunteer event scheduled in September was moved to October 27th in the hopes of getting more dedicated volunteers. The Development Division which had a big gap is now well staffed and the Volunteers Division is now hoping to get job descriptions from other Chairs.
Kenny added that the way the Club goes about recruiting volunteers is “light years” ahead of how other organizations do recruiting. He noted that we help our volunteers to identify what they want out of the organization. The goal is to get at least 5 dedicated volunteers and the key is to treat all volunteers as an asset by making them feel a part of the organization.
V. Volunteers Division – Alan Riffkin
Kenny reported for Alan in his absence.
Kenny noted that this division is faced with the issue of not being able implement a proper infrastructure in the last 3 to 4 years. He suggested the need to focus in this area over the next 6 months and to get the appropriate volunteer support behind us so that this division matches other divisions. The proposed next steps are:
- Have a meeting in the next few weeks
- Identify the issues
- Send out invitations to volunteers
- Implement strategies
The good news is that the school has now hired someone in Career Development who could now be a good resource for us.
V. Operations Programming Division - Regina Jaslow
The Speaker Series Committee attempts to do a least 1 event per month. Upcoming events that may be of interest are:
Nov 18th – Health Care Debate
Dec 14th Frank Levin - Roundtable discussion on US/China Trade Relations under Obama.
Jeannette Chang, the new Chairperson for the Social & Special Events Committee had a Happy Hour Kick off event which attracted over 100 students and was a huge success. Several other events are planned for the year such as Wine Tasting, The Art of Collecting and a Tibetan dinner.
Andrew Morris, the new Chairperson for Community Partnership Committee picked up two projects: The Westchester Jazz Orchestra and New York Cares.
The Alumni Relations under Gilles Guillon’s leadership continues to handle MBA admissions in New York City.
VI. Development Division – Robert Boyd
Peter Hildick-Smith reported for Robert in his absenture.
WMEN - Peter noted that Wharton Media and Entertainment Network Affinity Group (WMEN) continues to grow with its over 250 members comprised of individuals from various sectors such as Broadway Producers, Dotcom start ups, NBC, News Corp and Entertainment. WMEN had 2 big events: one with Matt Blank and another with Professor Josh Eliashberg. The group has had interesting topics and good turnouts and the events have become a real resource for people who did not get a degree in media and entertainment at Wharton but now find a viable Wharton foundation on which to network.
WAM – The Wharton Association of Marketers (WAM) is now up to 90 members and is a more difficult group to get organized because they are corporate in orientation. There is much more work to do with this group in the area of programming.
Kenny added that the affinity groups are all thriving e.g. Leads Group, Wharton Investment Resource Exchange (WIRE) and the Business Plan Competition which will have their next event in April.
VII. Finance Division – Rosemarie Bonelli
- Report is for year ended June 30, 2009.
- Audit of Financials are expected to start in November and once signed off and accepted, they will become public.
- When the financials are filed, The Club will also be required to file a 990.
- The BOD will need to sign off on the conflict of interest policy.
- Need assistant from Attorney re: 990.
- Bank account was 475K last year; Bank account is 580K this year. - JWD made 167K.
- Total attendance at the dinner was approximately 250 people.
Kenny reiterated that to cut costs for the dinner The Steering Committee went from the Pierre Hotel to the Essex House, guaranteeing 150 people instead of 280 (which was a cost reduction because we went above our marginal cost). We did postcards instead of the newsletter, engaged Global Events to sell sponsorship and negotiated every line item.
Alan asked if there was need for another bank account and Roe said the Finance Division is trying to get another volunteer on board to manage the accounts.
VII. New Business – Kenneth Beck
Dana noted that the Board of Directors expiration dates needed to be updated and Kenny agreed adding that the Board should be staggered on a 3 year basis.
This will be reviewed and discussed at the next meeting.
VII. Other Business - Kenneth Beck
There being no other business to discuss the meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.
Motion to adjourned Meeting
Motion: Dana Michael
Second: Allen Levinson
Minutes respectfully submitted by Stephanie Shaw