2016 AGM Member’s Packet

Fifth Annual General Meeting

Association of Suzuki Elders

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 9:30 am to noon

Terra Boardroom, DSF offices


9:30               Welcome

9:35               Progress Review

Financial Report

Reports from Communications, Education and Public Engagement, and Non Partisan Advocacy Working Groups

Membership Report

Report from Chair, Suzuki Elder Council

Strategic Work Plan 2016/17

10:15             Report from Nominating Committee:  confirmation of 2016/17 Council Members

10:30            Coffee and conversation

11:00            Guest Speaker:  Nadege Vince on “Social Media – you CAN do it!”

Presentation and Q&A.  Nadege is a Digital Strategies and Brand Specialist within the Communications and Pubic Engagement Division of the David Suzuki Foundation

11:55             Closing words, and adjourn


Association of the Suzuki Elders
Fourth Annual General Meeting
Terra Board Room, David Suzuki Foundation
Thursday 16 April 2015




Attendance:  Neale Adams, Margit Boronkay, Peter Cole, Tom Crean, Archana Datta, Rob Dramer, Margo Elfert, Diana Ellis (chair), Gerry Growe, Conrad Guelke, Stan Hirst, Deb Jack, Roz Kellett, Dan Kingsbury, Cynthia Lam, Don Marshall, Peggy Olive, Pat O’Riley, Jim Park, Karl Perrin, Lillian Ireland, Jill Schroder, Roger Sweeny, Eva Wadolna, Janet Wheeler, Simon Wheeler, Penny Wilson, Erlene Woollard, Bob Worcester.

  • Welcome and Reflection

Diana Ellis & Neale Adams.

  • Opening Comments

The Chair welcomed participants to the AGM. The meeting fell within a busy period for the Elders: Playing w/o Plastics workshop led by Cynthia L and Erlene W taking place at Creekside CC on April 18; a Salon on Leadership & Emotions led by Don Marshall scheduled for Mt. Pleasant Neighbourhood House on April 21; the Earth Day march with youth of Windermere High School on April 26; the 2015 Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference at Eric Hamber Secondary School on April 27th.

  • Progress Review

Financial Report

Jim Park. Treasurer, reported (Annex A). A total of approximately $6000 was provided by the DSF for the SE annual budget, and was fully utilized

Education Report

Jim Park and Erlene Woollard, Co-Chairs, Education and Community Engagement Working Group, reported (Annex B)

Communication Report

Neale Adams, Chair, Communications and Connections Working Group, reported (Annex C).

Membership Report

Diana Ellis, Chair, reported (Annex D).

Report from Chair, Suzuki Elder Council

Diana Ellis, Chair, reported (Annex E).

Report from Nominating Committee

Conrad Guelke, Past Chair, reported (Annex F).

  • Confirmation of 2015/16 Council

Conrad Guelke requested a motion from the floor that the meeting accept the nominated slate of candidates as the new incoming members to the 2015-16 Council. Moved by Penny Wilson, seconded by Jim Park. The motion was unanimously passed by the meeting.

Guest Speaker

  • Jim Hoggan, President, Hoggan and Associates, and Board Chair, David Suzuki Foundation delivered an address on “Speak the truth, but not to punish: Lessons in Public Discourse.”
  • Closing words and adjourn

The chair thanked the attendees and the guest speakers, and presented a gift to Archana Datta on the occasion of her retirement from Council after many years of service to the Suzuki Elders.

AGM 2015 minutes.doc

Stan Hirst,  6 May 2015 

(NOTE: Annexes (working group and nominations report) are not attached to these minutes.  If you wish to read them, please contact Council Chair for a copy of the 2015 AGM member packet which contains them all.)


Treasurer’s Report for Fiscal Year 2015 – 2016

The Association of Suzuki Elders falls within the Public Engagement section of the Communications Department of the David Suzuki Foundation. We are subject to the same financial regulations and audit requirements, including the disbursement of honoraria, the annual budget planning/approval process, and strict protocols regarding the reimbursement of Suzuki Elder event costs. Suzuki Elder budget items include funds for the costs of community outreach events, forums, workshops, salons, meetings (including the annual retreat), marketing materials and office supplies. The DSF fiscal year begins September 1 and ends August 31.

The 2015-16 fiscal year consolidated our focus and direction expressed through a series of workshops and salons including Food Security and Climate Change Resilience, as well as our participation in a number of events hosted by local youth groups. Expenses have included maintenance and upgrade costs associated with the Suzuki Elder website and related software, informational handouts and display banners, as well as promotional posters, room rentals, and refreshments provided to participants at our outreach and salon events.

Current and upcoming projects, including the annual summer retreat on Bowen Island and the purchase of appreciation gifts for speakers at our various events will leave a projected balance of $559 from our annual budget of $6000.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Park, Treasurer, Suzuki Elder Council

Communications and Connections Working Group – Report to 2016 AGM

The role of the Communication and Connection Working Group is to assist Suzuki Elders as they communicate their vision, values and an elder perspective on environmental issues and actions to specific groups and the general public.

The working group implemented a plan developed during the previous year to consolidate and improve Suzuki Elder communications, which included email amongst members of the Council, a Google Groups bulletin board for all Suzuki Elders, a Face book site, and a website and blog for members and the general public (www.suzukielders.org). These involved many hours of work by Elders Stan Hirst and Peggy Olive on the website and blog, and Elder Bob Worcester managing the Face book site.

In particular, 20 blog posts were published (the most read post “How do we know when we’ve achieved a consensus” by Peggy), and the blog was visited over 38,000 times. Some 210 posts were made on the Face book page. The total number of visits to the website was 67,000 (including blog visits)—on average between 150 and 200 per day. Most visitors were from Canada and the US, but a wide variety of other countries was represented.

Led by Elder Bob Worcester, the communications group facilitated a panel discussion open to the public on COP21, the Paris environment event. The panel included DSF staff member Steve Kux, who attended COP 21, Kate Hodgson, a UBC student involved in planning COP 21 related activities, and Council Chair Diana Ellis who followed the COP 21 event closely while in Europe during that time period. The panel discussion was attended by about 40 Elders and others.

The Elders had an information table at a Seniors Day event put on at the Vancouver Public Library in October. Members of the working group continued to assist the Education and Community Engagement group on communications regarding their work.

The Group has done a great deal of work during the past year and has an ambitious program in place for 2016-17. All manner of ways are enlisted in spreading the messages of the Suzuki Elders and the Foundation.

Respectfully submitted,

Neale Adams, Chair, Communication and Connection Working Group

Education and Community Engagement Working Group

Activity Summary for 2016 AGM

The Education and Community Engagement Working Group continues our commitment to educate both ourselves and our broader community in a mutually enriching way. We recognize and value our interconnectedness and diversity. We strive to be both teacher and student. We encourage communication with youth, for they understand contemporary social currents and can provide education and guidance to us as we choose our project work for the year. Working from an elder perspective, individually and together, we provide our experience and energy in collaboration with others to help society prepare for and embrace positive change so as to make our environment a healthier place for ourselves and for future generations.

Our work in 2015/2016 includes the following, with various members taking the lead on each project:

  • We continued to improve the educational booth, updated our information and some of the materials including a new banner, and participated in Seniors Day at the Vancouver Public Library.
  • We participated in the annual summer Suzuki Elder Retreat on Bowen Island.
  • We continued to support and promote nature walks and related informational talks around the lower mainland.
  • The success of our first salon called Forward Thinking For Suzuki Elders: Leadership, World Predicaments, and Emotions has been a catalyst for us to extend the subjects of Elder Leadership, Emotions and Climate Change into a “Study Group” which has met many times over the past year and is planning a workshop for May called Building Resilience to Climate Disruption.
  • Many of our members became actively involved in planning and presenting two salons which utilized various community venues as well as knowledgeable and diverse presenters. These were well attended and enjoyed by our members as well as the broader community. The June 2015 title was GMOs: An Exploration-Why Should We Care? In February 2016 we offered Food Security in the 21st Century; Are We Prepared? This theme was successfully repeated on April 18 2016 at the North Shore Elder College.
  • The intergenerational Playing without Plastic project was put on hold for several months and is now being revived and modified.
  • We continued to initiate work with youth, and respond to their requests, through delivering workshops at their conferences, schools, and volunteer settings. Strategic linkages were made with the Catching the Spirit Youth Society and the Metro Vancouver Youth Summit Network. Last year’s “What Moves Me” (into action, or not) workshop theme proved to be a successful leadership learning process.
  • We received a draft of the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) five-year strategic plan a few months ago, and we have used it as a framework for developing the Suzuki Elder annual strategic plan which is being presented today. In addition, given the renewed focus on environmental issues by the new federal government as well as the environmental framework created at the COP21 conference in Paris last year, it was felt that a document was needed that “connected all the dots”, that showed the relationship between all the diverse components of building a healthy and sustainable community, province, nation, and world. This document is still in draft form but shows how all the Suzuki Elder projects and initiatives fit together. It may also serve as a blueprint for evaluating future projects.
  • We engaged with the other working groups and the council on their projects to support our mandate.
  • Some members contributed to the new website and have written articles for our blog, and have put forth the time and effort to regularly maintain these modern and useful forms of communication.
  • Our members continue to inspire us with the work that they do outside the group in trying to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all; they report their accomplishments and challenges to us regularly, and we love to hear about all of it.

Thank you everyone for a job well done and for caring and sharing in such useful and positive ways; you provide us with unwavering support and resources, and help lay the groundwork for future work. Next year promises to be one full of stimulating challenges – and we are ready!

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Park and Erlene Woollard

Co-Chairs, Education and Community Engagement Working Group

Non Partisan Advocacy Working Group Report for 2016 AGM

Slowly but surely, as the ‘advocacy chill’ felt by most environmental organizations over the past half decade starts to recede, the Suzuki Elders are finding their way back into non partisan advocacy. In doing this we are mindful of our placement within the Foundation and recognize that political activities are still bound by CRA guidelines.

To that end we have found within us a chair, Simon Wheeler, for the about-to-be-formed Non Partisan Advocacy working group. The 2016/17 strategic work plan contains several advocacy initiatives, and we are in dialogue with Foundation staff about effective ways to align Suzuki Elder advocacy work with DSF issues and projects.

  • During 2015/16 the Elders undertook several non partisan activities.
  • Last summer’s Suzuki Elder retreat included a full day of training in non partisan advocacy background and methods, led by DSF staff Steve Kux and Alvin Singh.
  • During the fall 2015 federal election campaign we co-sponsored an all-candidate forum with the Environment and Social Justice Committees of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. The well-advertised event attracted 75 people who, after listening to presentations from candidates, engaged in what one candidate later said was a “very civil and thoughtful dialogue” on the issues presented.
  • The Elders made two submissions to the BC Climate Change Leadership Plan, both written by Simon Wheeler.
  • Suzuki Elders were involved in forming an International Alliance of Grandparents for the Climate, which included co-writing letters to Heads of State attending the COP 21 meetings in Paris in November 2015.
  • A letter of congratulation was written from the Suzuki Elders to the new Prime Minister in December 2015. This also allowed us to introduce ourselves and our work.

Materials prepared by Diana Ellis.

Membership Report for Suzuki Elder 2016 AGM

The 2015/16 intended outcome for membership was to grow by 20%. This time last year we had 99 members, an additional 14 joined over the past year for a total of 113 – an 11% increase.

Of the 90 Suzuki Elder members located in BC, 70 are in the Lower Mainland and the 20 others are scattered throughout Bowen and the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and the Sunshine Coast. Across Canada there are Suzuki Elder members in Ontario (8), Alberta (3), Nova Scotia (3), Manitoba and Quebec (1) each. There are also individual members in France, Greece, Australia, India and the USA.

While we provide members with orientation on joining, regular updates through e-mails and the website, as well as invitations to participate in meetings, projects, retreats etc, most of the Suzuki Elder work is carried out by the 16 Council members and a core of about 20 others. About 20% of our members regularly attend Suzuki Elder events. The energy and commitment of Suzuki Elders is important and greatly appreciated – and – we want to encourage more involvement!

This year’s strategic planning exercise included a half day discussion on more effective ways to connect and involve Suzuki Elder members in our activities and discussion. We agreed to begin by engaging more actively with people at the time they join. So, as well sending then the Orientation materials we will now connect with each new member by phone, and provide them with a ‘buddy’. This year, we also commit to personally connecting with every one of our existing members to learn about them and talk about their involvement.  To this end, we have now separated our membership work into administration (Margo Elfert) and connection (chair yet to be named.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margo Elfert, Membership Administrator

Diana Ellis

Report from Chair of the Suzuki Elder Council – for 2016 AGM

My previous life (Life before the Elders!) included 38 years of helping community non profit organizations plan, research, lobby, and undertake evaluation. Long ago I learned that the typical trajectory of such groups covers these four categories:

Forming The group pulls people together and forms – usually around an issue or need – names itself, affirms its purpose and values, and hopefully outlines its direction with some kind of plan. People are excited about their potential.

Norming The group starts to function. People decide what their personal role is, join up with others in the group to take on various pieces of work, and engage with others inside and outside of the group. People are taking first actions.

Storming As folks set off down their action road, some realize things aren’t quite what they had imagined. They want to take on more – or less, want different actions, or figure out they like working with some folks more than others, or want to go faster or more slowly. People are challenged, sometimes upset.

Performing Out of the storming can come a range of things. Sometimes group struggle with dysfunction – sometimes they collapse. Usually, with perseverance and patience comes agreement on best ways to solve differences and move forward, continuing to refine and build on their experience. People are performing.

And so it is with the Suzuki Elders. In 2010, about 15 years after the first small Elder Council formed, we morphed into this Association of Suzuki Elders, with a written constitution, an agreed upon purpose, working groups operating with democratically developed strategic work plans, and a formal membership process. The Foundation, particularly CEO Peter Robinson, strongly encouraged and supported these moves. Now, after several years of norming, and some storming, I believe we have now reached that place of performing. Oh yes, we still argue, we have differences, we are quite territorial about some things! We’ve also learned through experience what kinds of activities work for us, how much our members can (and want) to take on, what our varying skills are. We share information, we solve problems, we work hard, we challenge each other, and we laugh. We have found, and are using, our elder voice and energy.

Not only that, we have a home embedded within the Communication and Public Engagement division of the David Suzuki Foundation, with a staff liaison, (thank-you Jenn Rodriguez), terms of reference and a budget. This, plus support from DSF’s CEO and staff, as well as David and Tara, puts us in a very fortunate place. We are grateful for this, we do not take it for granted, and intend that our performance, as Suzuki Elders, will leave a legacy.

Respectfully submitted: Diana Ellis, Chair, Suzuki Elder Council

Suzuki Elder Council – Nominations Report for 2016/17

In accordance with our Constitution, as past chair and in consultation with the Executive Committee, I have coordinated a nominating process to identify members willing to stand for election, typically for a two-year term. Council members are chosen based on their demonstrated commitment to the Suzuki Elder goals, and involvement in our activities. Council members are expected to attend our monthly Council meeting and to take on committee oversight or assistance.

Five members have one year remaining to serve as Councilors: Margo Elfert, Deb Jack, Cynthia Lam, Simon Wheeler and Penny Wilson

Eleven members who complete their term this year are: Neale Adams, Diana Ellis, Jerry Growe, Stan Hirst, Dan Kingsbury, Don Marshall, Peggy Olive, Jim Park, Karl Perrin, Erlene Woollard, and Bob Worcester.  They have all allowed their names stand for another two-year term.

Nominations from the Floor:

Our constitution allows for up to two nominations from the floor.  This year we have a full slate of 16 nominations. If there are nomination(s) from the floor, voting forms will be circulated and a secret ballot will be held to elect the 16 positions on the Council.

Respectfully submitted.

Conrad Guelke, Past Chair

21 April 2016

Slate of Suzuki Elder Council Nominations for 2016/17


Members Continuing on Council Term (years)
1.  Margo Elfert 1
2.  Cynthia Lam 1
3.  Deb Jack 1
4.  Penny Wilson 1
5.  Simon Wheeler 1
Term Ends, Standing for Re-election  
6.   Neale Adams 2
7.   Diana Ellis 2
8.   Jerry Growe 2
9.   Stan Hirst 2
10. Dan Kingsbury 2
11. Don Marshall 2
12. Peggy Olive 2
13. Jim Park 2
14. Karl Perrin 2
15. Erlene Woollard 2
16. Bob Worcester 2
Conrad Guelke (Past Chair)

David Suzuki & Tara Cullis