au revoir, jan, monica and mike
BY NICHOLAS CLARKE, FOUNDER-PRESIDENT OF THE AFSC
Au revoir Jan, Monica and Mike,
The 11th Annual General Meeting at the Loose Goose on 27th October will mark the end of an important era in the history of our Alliance, which now has over 240 members. Several members of the committee will not be seeking re-election. Three of those members in particular have made major contributions to the development and growth of the organisation. They are the retiring president Jan Jarman, one of the two vice-presidents Mike Taylor and the treasurer Monica Taylor.
Jan Jarman is passionate about other languages and cultures and an educator whose initial commitment to the Alliance was as secretary under the presidency of Margaret Fairhurst in 2013. She became president in October 2014 when Margaret retired and has held the position for four years. The office of president is a demanding one and Jan has filled it in an exemplary manner. Margaret Fairhurst had developed the Alliance’s position in relation to other regional Alliances in Queensland and also at a national level. Jan continued that work by reinforcing the regional network and strengthening our relations with the Alliance in Brisbane. Under her presidency the Alliance has expanded its teaching role in Mountain Creek and Noosa with her continued support and encouragement for Skype lessons. She enthusiastically supported the conversation workshops pioneered by Marie-Hélène in Maroochydore and Noosa. On the cultural side, Jan supported Cécile’s initiative to enable our members to have free access to the Institut Français’ Culturethèque, an online repository of e-books, magazines, music and videos. Jan also oversaw the transformation of the AF Sunshine Coast French Film Festival so that it now presents films in Noosa, Nambour and Caloundra. Among the president’s duties is the requirement to be in touch with the membership, a role which Jan undertook with her usual tact, empathy and diplomacy. She made it a priority to attend all of our functions and activites, ably supported by her husband Laurie, and spoke to as many of our members as possible. For the last four years, Jan has been driven by her commitment to the ideals and aims of the Alliance Française and her tireless determination to ensure that our Alliance continues to flourish as a cultural and educational force on the Sunshine Coast. She will be greatly missed.
Mike Taylor has played a key role in the affairs of our Alliance. He took up the reins as secretary from Jan in October 2014 and became a vice-president in 2017. Mike has a PhD in chemistry and he and Monica lived in Paris where he worked for the OECD. They brought their enthusiasm and love of things French with them to the Sunshine Coast. Mike was able to bring his professional skills and expertise to bear in the role of secretary and was able to act as a wise counsellor to the committee. He streamlined the way the secretary’s duties were carried out while becoming fully cognisant of the constitution and the requirements of the Queensland laws under which the Alliance operates. Mike’s tenure of the role of vice-president presented him with new challenges and opportunities. Among them was the support he gave to Monica in pursuing the Alliance’s decision to register with the Charities and Not-for-profits Commission as a charity under the Charities Act. This was in line with the Commonwealth government’s desire to see all not-for-profit organisations operate under this umbrella. It also simplified some of the Alliance’s taxation requirements. Mike’s other major activity was to work closely with Jan in the organisation of the 2018 Sunshine Coast French Film Festival. This was new territory for Mike but with his usual application and determination he and his team produced a highly successful festival. When Monica became treasurer, Mike’s support was invaluable. Mike’s contribution to our Alliance has been enormous and his departure will leave a huge hole to fill.
The treasurer is one of the most important members of the executive and Monica Taylor has filled that role since October 2016 when, following a year as a committee member, she succeeded our founding treasurer Jacques Sauterel. Monica’s background was as a systems analyst. She was able to bring her analytical skills and her deep understanding of IT, an essential skill, to this role. Although she doesn’t have a financial background, with Jacques’ mentoring and support she was able to take on the role successfully and to streamline some of its operation. The adoption of a new website platform in conformity with other Alliances, presented new challenges for her as it involved moving our Alliance’s financial system from Quickbooks to Xero. At the same time she oversaw the changes to compliance with stricter auditing requirements and the Alliance’s registration as a charity. She rapidly became an expert on the changes implicit in charitable status. With her incisive mind and technological skills Monica has proved to be a valuable asset to the Alliance at a time of major changes. She will be as difficult to replace as Jan and Mike.
A turnover of committee members is normal in a volunteer-run organisation and something our Alliance has to embrace. As someone who has had a long connection with our Alliance I am sorry to see Jan, Monica and Mike depart but fully understand their decisions. I hope the task of filling their shoes will not be too arduous. I wish them, and the other departing committee members well and not ‘Adieu’ but ‘Au revoir’.
Alliance Française de la Sunshine Coast
Jan Jarman (President) holding the letters C & H
Mike Taylor (Vice-President) holding the letters G & E
Monica Taylor (Treasurer) holding the letter R