The UniForum Association held two of its most important organizing and informational meetings of the year at the annual UniForum Conference and Trade Show earlier this month.
The Membership Meeting, held Wednesday March 12 at San Francisco's Moscone Center during UniForum '97, was open by invitation to all general members of UniForum. The meeting kicked off with UniForum Chairman, Mike Tilson, welcoming the larger than usual audience with a brief report on the status of the association. Mike turned the meeting over to UniForum's president, Tom Mace, who gave his report on the recent activities of the association and its current posture and future with regard to the on-going negotiations with The Open Group.
Tom's remarks centered largely around the aggressive new educational program UniForum has undertaken, emphasizing the new conference, IT Horizon '97, in June; and its growing roster of tutorials, seminars and training programs. He also reported on the developments in publications pointing out that the bi-monthly magazine, UniForum's IT Solutions, has ceased print publication and is being re-cast as an expanded version of this newsletter.
In open session members had the opportunity to ask questions and many did, with their primary interest being The Open Group. Chief among the questions were concerns over autonomy and program independence, with both Mike Tilson and Tom Mace responding that UniForum's board shared these concerns and had worked to ensure that any agreement with The Open Group would protect UniForum's independence of action through a UniForum member-elected board and through the control of its finances.
UniForum members and regular UniNews online readers will be able to learn first hand the details of future negotiations with The Open Group as they progress and are made final.
The following day the annual meeting of UniForum's domestic and international affiliates took place. Again, both Mike Tilson and Tom Mace were on hand to greet the representatives from some eleven affiliates who heard a detailed report from UniForum's Membership manager, Barbara Myers, on a new Affiliate Contract and Plan.
The Affiliate Plan is centered around the new contract, the contents of which had not been reviewed or updated for many years. The goal of the contract is to simplify and coordinate the relations UniForum has with its independent affiliate groups worldwide. At the same time it gives UniForum the opportunity to develop a number of new programs of affiliate benefits, which had been sent for initial review to all affiliates prior to the meeting, and presented to them for discussion at the gathering.
Program highlights include a new membership billing methodology with UniForum offering joint membership options on all its new member and membership renewal mailings. Also of importance are two revenue sharing opportunities that allow affiliates to become active partners with UniForum in hosting conferences and seminars; and in recruiting new joint corporate sponsors.
Affiliate groups were on hand from SEASLUG (Seattle UNIX Group), Southwest!UniForum, Software Forum/UniForum Open Systems SIG, UniForum Chicago, the Washington Area UNIX Users group, UniForum Trinidad and Tobago, UniForum New Zealand, UniForum UK, and Ohio! UniForum. Their representatives gave brief remarks on regional programs that ranged in size from UniForum UK's major conference sponsored by the London Financial Times, to UniForum New Zealand's well established annual conference that regularly draws speakers from around to world.
New contract packets are expected to be sent to all affiliates in April with the goal of uniting all affiliates under one set of rules and regulations with the added commitment from UniForum of increased activity, on the part of the international organization, to do even more to held sustain and grow this important outreach program. UniNews online will report more on the affiliate program regularly, and a new electronic publication, called Exchange, to begin soon, will be dedicated exclusively to the use of UniForum affiliates for information sharing.
Individuals interested in establishing new UniForum affiliates are encouraged to contact Richard Shippee, UniForum Director of Communications, at 408-986-8840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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