Erin Jepson, CMP, is one of the industry’s fast-rising stars, having been promoted four times at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, before landing in June 2013 as the director of event services at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. She stands out to me for speaking at a VenueConnect years ago during the New Member/First Timer Breakfast encouraging those in the audience to become involved in IAVM as fast as possible.
One such way to truly feel engaged and involved, Jepson believes, is through the power of voting on Association matters, something that comes up this Friday when members may begin voting on the One Member, One Vote initiative. The initiative comes up for a vote by members and follows extensive study, review and open discussion over the last two years, at which point the IAVM Board of Directors voted unanimously to bring forward proposed changes to the bylaws that would make the Association more inclusive and diverse in its decision making. As a means to incorporate the perspective of all IAVM members, these changes would allow every member of IAVM equal opportunity to engage in the Association through the right to vote. These proposed changes must be approved by two-thirds of the current voting members of IAVM.
“When I think about IAVM, I think about the professional contacts I’ve made at other venues across the world,” Jepson said. “They don’t all work at the same type of venue I do, but they experience the same stresses and issues I do. They celebrate the same successes I do. They work their way through the same challenges I do.
“When I think about IAVM, I think about the contacts I’ve made with our Allied partners. They don’t all have equipment and services in my venue, but they jump in to offer creative solutions when I have a problem. They make up a large part of the help I have received during my time on the VenueConnect planning committee whether it be with hours spent brain-storming about session content or the precious dollars needed to pay a speaker for a session. They have been a part of the same stresses, successes, and challenges I have on a regular basis. The Allied colleagues are no different in my experience than my professional colleagues. All are important. All are necessary. All have taught me a thing or two and all have helped me and my team move toward success.”
Jepson can add those who have already contributed a lifetime of experience to the industry who now fall in to a Honorary or Retired category and could have voting rights restored pending passage of the vote. It is one way to eliminate what appears to Jepson to be a divide in the ranks.
“When I think about IAVM, I see a divide in the organization,” she said. “I see faces of colleagues who all put in time and work to make sure our Association is a great one but only a portion of them have the voting power to keep our organization on the right track. Why are we so afraid of eliminating this divide? Are we afraid our membership will have less value? Less relevance? Less significance?
“I only see a strengthened organization during a time when the organization needs this push forward. I see more value for our Allied members and perhaps with that comes a stronger push to join as members on that end. In the end this leads to a stronger Association for all of us. Let’s move forward with allowing all members have access to voting rights and join together to move IAVM forward toward the future we all need for our industry.”
For more information about the One Member, One Vote initiative, please click here.