What you need to know…
Every January, the London and Oxford Committees hold their AGMs to decide who will take up the committee positions for the following twelve months. With the SYP constitution stating that one can only be a committee member for three years, it is time for some of us to move on. But as always, there’s a fresh intake of members who want to get more involved and help those committee members staying on in taking the SYP onto bigger and better things in 2009. For all of you interested, here’s a lowdown of the main London committee positions. (The Oxford committee is smaller but has similar roles.)
Chair – The Constitution states that the Chair’s position can only be taken by a person who has been on the committee the previous year. The Chair’s role is very much a leadership one. In addition to co-ordinating the London committee (which can be twenty-strong) – leading the monthly committee meetings, the Chair must also be on hand to deal with any queries from members further afar and the Oxford and Scottish committees. They’re really the face of the SYP (you’re very lucky in that you see Jon Slack’s in every issue of InPrint in his ‘Chair’s Column’!), while the ex-Chair from the previous year holds positions on the BTBS Panel and LCC’s advisory committee.
Vice Chair – A role supporting and advising the Chair. Often the Chair and Vice-Chair will take on certain areas for responsibility at the start of the year, but it’s swings and roundabouts as to who does what when, given work commitments and how they want to work together. It helps to be good friends when you take up the time-consuming roles - it’s much more fun talking things over a drink on a Sunday afternoon than relying 100% on email communication.
Membership Secretary – The Membership Secretary is the first contact new members have with the SYP, and so a very important role. They handle new memberships, deal with queries and process the applications for the Annual Conference delegates. The ever-growing amount of SYP members is centralised in the database maintained and updated by the Membership Secretary, based in London. A rewarding job as they are their efforts directly benefit every member.
Secretary – Organising the committee meetings in terms of sending out the agenda and writing the minutes, and playing a key role in communication between the committee members, the Secretary needs to be someone organised (good at meeting deadlines) and friendly.
Treasurer – A job with a lot of responsibility, the Treasurer must keep a track on the ins and outs of the finances and endeavour to keep the SYP solvent!
Press Officer – As the scale of the SYP’s events gets bigger and its presence in the publishing industry grows, this position is integral to everything that the SYP does. Keeping the members up to date with what the SYP is doing, as well as other events that may be of interest to and promotions and discounts available to members through the fortnightly press email and links with the trade press, the Press and Marketing Officers must be committed to promoting a strong awareness of the identity and activities of the SYP.
Marketing Officer – Works with the Press Officer to raise awareness of the SYP’s activities. Also responsible for increasing brand awareness.
Jobs Co-ordinator – Members’ feedback tells us that the weekly jobs bulletins are one of the things they most value, and it's hardly surprising – with so many inside links into the majority of publishing houses, the Jobs Co-ordinator (we've had two in 2008) is able to advertise jobs from all areas of the industry often before they appear in the trade press. Encouraging more companies and recruitment agencies to use the SYP’s hugely cost-effective service is also part of the position. In 2008 the Jobs coordinators developed the members' work experience adverts too, which will need supervising going forward.
Speaker Meeting Co-ordinators – A great position for making contacts, the Speaker Meeting Co-ordinators – of which there’s room for 2 or 3 – find and liaise with speakers on various topics throughout the year, as well as working with the various venues at which we hold these monthly meetings. A big and important job, but very rewarding when you have direct contact with so many interesting and inspirational people in publishing, many of whom are willing to come along for drinks in the pub after the meetings.
InPrint team – the InPrint team currently consists of the Commissioning Editor (who commissions the content and manages the schedule and the team), the Production Manager (who designs and typesets the content, and deals with the printers) and a team of proofreaders/sub-editors, but there is the potential to grow the editorial team further. Now a bi-monthly publication, InPrint has grown both in size and style over the last few years and there is more than enough work in editorial and some in design if you want to practise your skills in either.
Meanwhile, the InPrint online team has grown from strength to strength in 2008, with its own News Editor, Features Editor, Sub-Editor and contributors. The News and Features Editors commission additional content to the magazine as well as placing the paper content online. This team requires those with technical skills as well as editorial.
Website team – Comprises the Web Developer (who develops and maintains the technical side of the website – involves HTML coding), and the Web Content Editor (who takes care of the content on the main website).
Social Secretary – The Social Secretary is the most popular committee member, as they have the fun task of organising the informal get-togethers the SYP loves to hold, from pub crawls and pub quizzes to networking events and summer picnics (though this year’s washout became a pub picnic!). They need to be approachable and fun-loving, but will be busy as the SYP takes its social events extremely seriously and likes to put on a full programme!
Sound like a lot of work? Well don’t be put off. Committee members are asked to attend one committee meeting a month, as well as the monthly speaker meetings and any social events. Of course, it’s not always going to be possible for everyone to attend everything – people have jobs and a life! But in return for the work that you put in, you’ll have gained valuable experience in your chosen role, giving yourself a few extra CV brownie points, met some great friends and made some important contacts for your future. The roles listed above can also be quite fluid and open. For example, people have shared positions in the past, or created new roles depending on what the committee needs.
So, that’s the London committee for you. The AGM is currently scheduled for the evening of Thursday 29 January 2009; keep an eye on the website and the press emails for further details. In the meantime, if you want to know more about any of the positions, feel free to contact the Chair, Jon Slack, on firstname.lastname@example.org, or for the Oxford committee, Alan Crompton: email@example.com.
with thanks to Claire Shanahan