June 10 2009 From the President
Well, the conference is over, the election held, the dust is settling from the flurry of activity over the last six weeks. You’d think things would be quieting down a little, but actually there is lots of activity going on and BIG plans for the next year in the HSMG!
The 2009 Conference was a rousing success! Attendees were enthralled by Erin Brockovich, entertained by the Essential Wholesale Renaissance Party and educated by a host of speakers on a myriad of topics. You may have seen the discussions on twitter, the HSMG Facebook page or the Member Forum. A summary of the conference with pictures and descriptions is now posted on the HSMG Website.
As usual, the Annual Meeting was held during the conference. Attending members heard reports from the President and Committee Chairmen on the accomplishments of the past year and got a glimpse into what’s in store for the coming year. The complete meeting minutes will be posted to the Member Area once they are finalized and approved by the Minutes Review Committee. In the meantime, there a couple of important announcements.
Leigh O’Donnell was elected President; Maria Gelnett, Feleciai Favroth and Deb Scanlan were elected to the Board of Directors. All will start their terms on July 1st and serve for two years. Denaige Shanks had to resign from the Board of Directors effective May 18th. She got a great job which will make it impossible to fulfill her Board responsibilities, so the Board of Directors reluctantly accepted her resignation. Feleciai Favroth was appointed to fill Denaige’s seat for the remainder of the current term (until June 30th).
Honorary Lifetime Members Linda Stevens, LaShonda Tyree and Marie Gale were all awarded Honorary Lifetime Member status in recognition of their long years of service to the HSMG. Awards Dinner At the Annual Awards Dinner there were more awards given than ever before. It was quite a night, both for the HSMG and for me personally!
Longevity Awards were given to all the attendees who have been members of the HSMG for 5 years or more, as a way to acknowledge their continued support of the organization. This year a total of 24 members were given awards. See all Longevity Award recipients with pictures Certified Soapmakers
This year Advanced Soapmaker Certification for both CP/HP and MP was offered for the first time. Certification Exams were held twice during the conference. We ended up with 21 Level 1 Certified CP/HP Soapmakers, 7 Level 1 Certified MP Soapmakers and 3 Level 2 (Advanced) Certified CP/HPSoapmakers. In addition, 10 soapmakers passed the Level 2 (Advanced) CP/HP written exam and 1 passed the Level 2 (Advanced) MP written exam; they will be fully certified after they send in soap samples and pass that portion of the exam. See all 2009 Certified Soapmakers with pictures
Membership Dues The current Board of Directors met at the beginning of June and reviewed the status of the HSMG. We made the difficult decision to raise membership dues, effective September 1st, 2009. This very tough decision was based on the fact that membership dues have remained the same since 2004, while the services and overhead have gradually increased to substantially higher levels. As of September 1st, the dues will be as follows: Soapmaker Membership (with insurance): $500 (increase of $20) Soapmaker Membership (no insurance): $100 (increase of $20) Vendor Membership: $200 (no change) Dual Membership (no insurance): $280 (increase of $30) Benefactor memberships will also be increasing slightly. All the new amounts will be posted to the website shortly. Anyone who renews their membership prior to September 1st (even if their membership expires after that date) may do so at the current rate. As I’ve said, this was a very hard choice to make, but we (the entire Board) felt that it was a necessary change and we wanted to put it in place before the new board takes office.
About the “Passing of the Guard” I have great faith in the incoming President and Board Members. Leigh and I have worked closely during the past years while she’s been the Vice-President and I am assured that she has an excellent feel for the organization and the skills to keep it moving forward. The skill sets of the existing Board Members and the incoming Board Members mesh extremely well. I am confident that they will be able to not only continue all the successful actions we have implemented, but will able to build on them to further expand the reach and benefits of our organization.
LaShonda Tyree and I will complete our terms and then be off the Board of Directors as of June 30th. We are both working hard for the remainder of this month to make sure that the turnover is smooth and that the business of the HSMG continues as ususal. I will continue on as the Webmaster and as Editor of the Journal.
On a Personal Note
At the Awards Dinner I was surprised to be the subject of much pomp and circumstance, including being given a wooden spoon scepter, a plastic cap crown and a “throne” and being crowned “Soap Guild Queen”. Of course, that was followed by a Roast – all of which was highly entertaining. Part of it was captured on video and is included in the summary of the conference. Following that I was honored to have people I consider to be our industry’s VIPs speak about me in glowing terms. It brought tears to my eyes and a warmth to my heart. I love all the people in our industry – passionate soapmakers, supportive suppliers and vendors and most of all, the members of the HSMG who make up this terrific organization. I have greatly enjoyed being the President, and look forward to continued expansion of the HSMG under the new Board and President.
Marie Gale, President