Greetings to all VMA Members,
I wanted to take this opportunity to personally reach out to each of you, our valued members, and those in our amazing industry during this challenging and unprecedented time. Our industry, in particular, has felt the full brunt of this crisis and we know there will be many more challenges ahead for our members, their venues and staff.
I want to assure you that both the VMA Board and staff have been working diligently to achieve two major outcomes during this time:
- We want to financially sustain our great Association, ensuring it can rebound from this, and
- Importantly, we want to ensure we are providing the appropriate and customised support to our members and the wider venue industry throughout this difficult time.
In recent years, the Association has gone from strength to strength, as demonstrated by record breaking attendance at our School and Congress and membership numbers that are closing in on 1,000 – this success has allowed, and informed our decision making process.
We recognise the significant financial pressure both our members and their respective organisations are enduring at this time and as such, we want to ensure any initiatives or undertakings we engage in this year are at no or low cost for our members.
To directly support our members, your VMA Board has decided to provide all current financial members with a 12-month membership fee free period. All members will have their renewal date automatically extended for a full 12 months.
Congress, Venue Management School and Leadership Institute:
As you are aware, we recently cancelled our 2020 Congress, and this week we have also made the very difficult decision to cancel this year’s Venue Management School and Leadership Institute. We have received significant feedback that the industry will not be able to support the School this year, due to their reduced financial capacity and availability of students, in what is anticipated to be a heavy recovery phase for the industry.
At a suitable time we will work towards the resumption of face to face industry events, including networking and educational opportunities. In the meantime, we will place a focus on alternative educational opportunities that may be offered digitally as we work towards a resumption of the annual Congress and residential School in 2021.
Venue Industry Awards and Annual General Meeting:
In line with the very real and daily challenges we are all enduring, we have also made the decision to cancel our annual Venue Industry Awards for 2020 and we will be deferring our AGM and Director Elections until July.
Support to VMA Members:
Through this time, the VMA will continue to focus on delivering value to our members – whether that be virtual networking, sharing content and relevant information, providing educational outcomes and opportunities, or delivering digital content across professional and personal development. We will adapt, we will continue to support each other, and we will work through this difficult period together.
Whilst the VMA has never engaged in advocacy or lobbying on behalf of our members, we do recognise at this time we can play our part in lending our voice. Lobbying government for assistance through an advocacy forum we believe will be best achieved by having a united voice and aligning ourselves with other industry organisations with experience and skills in this area. We have already done so with supporting industry initiatives and calls for government support made by LPA, EEAA and MEA, and have also reached out to assist the Business Events Council of Australia to ensure we continue to align ourselves with industry organisations.
We realise that at present all our members are only talking about this crisis and its immediate impacts on your businesses and staff, and as such we want to continue to provide resources that can add value. I encourage all members to continue to refer to the COVID-19 page on our website and to share their stories and experiences so all our industry can benefit.
To further support the VMA management team, I am also repurposing our Board to form dedicated committees to specifically respond to both the immediate challenge and rebuilding phase that both the VMA and our industry must undertake.
Our Associations strength has always been in its members and their willingness to share knowledge and experiences, support each other and come together as a collective.
The VMA will continue to play an active role in uniting and assisting the industry, one of the greatest strengths of our Association is the support, camaraderie and friendship that underpin membership.
We will one day soon arise from our places of self-isolation and inhabit the great gathering places we are caretakers of, and our communities will once again embrace these our great sporting, entertainment and gathering places to celebrate.
I hope we will do so with a greater sense of humility and greater respect for the earth and each other.
I wish all the best to you and your families and stay safe.
Steve Harper CVE