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Presidents Report, Skål International Perth Inc. Annual General Meeting, Thursday 7 February 2019    

Committee, Past Presidents and fellow Skålleagues, in reviewing the last year as President of the Skål Club of Perth in 2018, it’s been a year of continued learning, gauging Member feedback and continuing to try out new ideas to appeal to and engage both our membership and new members in an effort to grow and maintain our club.  This is reflected in our trying out a new evening cocktail function format for our AGM function this year instead of the usual lunch providing a time when the majority of Members can attend rather than in business hours.  However, I can confirm that our AGM Lunch function last year attracted an attendance of 28 and this year we have roughly the same number in attendance so it will remain to be seen if this format proves popular – you don’t know until you try though!

As tonight marks the end of my Presidency of two years, I very much wish to take the time to thank my committee for all their efforts and their own time in collaborating with me towards our shared vision of a club that’s truly a reflection of our local travel and tourism industry in its diversity and creativity.  Our focus has been on creating fresh, new opportunities to bring members and guests together and to foster an environment within the club that welcomes new people and truly encourages “doing business among friends”.  Brad Elborough, who’s served previously as Treasurer and again on the Committee this year finishes up in this role soon and I’d like to thank him for his time and service to the Club over the past 4 years.  Also Margaret Wilson who’s been a very proactive Committee Member particularly assisting with

Function photography and social media as well as providing much sage advice will also leave the committee shortly and once again, my thanks and that of all of the Committee go out to Margaret.

Looking back over the past 12 months, I’m incredibly proud of the progress we on the Committee together with out membership have made towards achieving our goals of an active, diverse club that’s truly representative of our Perth travel, tourism and hospitality industry.   The biggest stand-out in our year without doubt was the successful launch of our Young Skål Professionals Perth club on the 1st of May.  Over the year membership of Young Skål grew to 17, an extremely successful start and a coming to realisation of our vision of creating a stepping stone for Travel, Tourism & Hospitality students and younger industry workers at the start of their careers to learn, network and grow to eventually progress through to our Skål Perth family.  A special mention should be made of our 4 Young Skal Coordinators, Kyra Mulvena, Jessica Bearham, Bec Guilbert and Alsa Payadachee who are working hard as a team to continue the successful development of the club.

Last March I represented the club at the Skål Australia 97th National Assembly and AGM in Canberra.  I presented my third club report as President and at that time, I was able to announce a club membership of 61 (21 more than at the same time the year prior) and was very proud to start the year in a much improved position.

We saw a steady stream of new members throughout 2018 and this has continued into 2019.  There were non-renewals for a variety of reasons including changes to professional roles, withdrawal from the industry and inability to participate in club functions due to heavy travel schedules but overwhelmingly, the feeling in the cub is very positive at present with a focus on social media to grow our club profile.  We hope to see increased average engagement in response to the variety of functions we have in the pipeline for 2019 and also a greater awareness and use of the Skål International database with increased participation in other Australian and International Club functions when our members travel.  The benefits of this vast international network are maximized when meaningful relationships are formed through activity such as this.  A major highlight of the year was visiting the Cape Town Club as part of the formalities in the lead-up to our official “twinning” at the World Congress in Mombasa, Kenya in October.  The relationships formed with the Committee and members of the Cape Town club are very strong and we’ll continue to encourage visiting members to South Africa to visit them and have a warm welcome ready for their members when they come to see us in WA.

Just to highlight our activity in 2018, we hosted our March function at Matilda Bay with a short, structured and FUN networking activity encouraging members and guests to get to know each other better.  Feedback from this activity was very positive resulting in the Committee committing to arranging more of these activities over the year.   In April I represented the club along with Committee Member, Margaret Wilson at the ECU Awards Ceremony and presented Lauren Amy Carvell with the newly named Clive Nelthorpe Awards for the top Travel & Tourism student at Edith Cowan University.  April also saw us host a Sundowner event at the Grosvenor Hotel and May was our inaugural Travel & Tourism Education Focus Function held at Pavilions Restaurant with then National President, Fiona McFarlane in attendance.  This was a highlight event with our presentation of the Brian Philippson Award for the top travel & tourism student at North Metropolitan TAFE, Kendall Henderson.  The luncheon cooked and served by TAFE students was a real stand-out and we’ll be visiting this venue again for this themed function again next month and encourage as many members and guests as possible to attend.  June saw a return to Matilda Bay with Guest Speaker Sharon Van der Veeken from Skal International Melbourne presenting on Motivation and Mindset.  In July we celebrated Bastille Day dressed in red, white and blue at Fresch Restaurant in Como and we changed things up again in August with a Sundowner at the Aloft Hotel in Rivervale. September saw us all celebrate World Tourism Day with a luncheon function at the Adelphi Grill at the Hilton and October’s Past President function at Bistro Guillaume at Crown was well attended.  For the second year in a row we held our pre WA Tourism Awards Sundowner function in November, this year at the Camfield and once again with the generous support of Skal International Broome with a wonderful Broome Prize Package for our raffle.  Once again our Skal year culminated in our Perth Travel & Tourism Industry Christmas function at the Melbourne Hotel and the generosity of our Members and industry stakeholders saw some amazing prizes raffled to support our Student Awards and money from ticket sales, cash donation collection and the auction of a 3 night cruise on the Astor raise $1677 for Foodbank WA.

I’m pleased to report that I was able to represent Skål International Perth at the National Congress again in Melbourne in August and in October, at the 2018 Skål World Congress held over 5 days in Mombasa, Kenya.  I returned to Perth full of enthusiasm and motivation having been inspired by so many great people and Skål clubs from all around the world and have been shared my observations and notes with our Committee at Skål International Perth.  This an amazing event and Skål Kenya can be rightly proud of what they delivered to the Membership in 2018.  All functions were of a high standard with amazing food, drinks and entertainment but it was the SERVICE delivered by every single Kenyan that was the talking point of the congress.

As we move into 2019, we, your committee are looking to create great functions that encourage really strong networking opportunities and maximize the benefits for our Members and in turn, continue to grow our membership.  We need the support of all our members to do this and actively invite you all to consider inviting colleagues in your section of the industry who would add further diversity to our Club and enjoy the sense of comradery and the concept of “doing business among friends” to come along to a function with you with the aim of growing our club for the benefit of all our members.   A reminder to all though of our rule which allows “first time” Guests to “visit” the club for a maximum of 3 functions with a view to joining and becoming a Member will continue to be closely adhered to in order to ensure our Membership are obtaining the best value for money by continuing to be Members.

I encourage all Skålleagues to participate in the management of your club for your mutual benefit. I recommend you consider the opportunity to support the club by nominating for a place on the committee as with fresh ideas, come reinvigoration and a greater variety of benefits to the membership.

My thanks to you all for your support over my Presidency and I’m delighted to endorse Committee Member Nicola Strudwick in her nomination as the new President for 2019 charged with leading Skål International Perth forwards towards our goals.

Finally, our next function will be at Pavillions Restaurant at North Metropolitan TAFE in Joondalup on the 14th of March and keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page and website for coming events throughout the year.

Warm regards & Skål,


Ali Banks

2017 – 2019 President Skål International Perth