Anime Expo 2009 SPJA Board of Directors meeting
by Bamboo Dong,
SPJA Board of Directors meeting
Mark Perez – Chairman of the Board; Current Acting CEO
Paul Wilson – Vice-Chairman of the Board
Bryant Quan – Treasurer of the Board
Hiroki Onodera – Secretary of the Board
Hank Wong – Audit Committee Chair
Ross Johnson – Finance Committee Chair
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the parent company of Anime Expo, had a public meeting of their board of directors the last day of the convention. Amongst their topics of discussion was the search for a new CEO, increased efforts for transparency, and the amendment of past meeting minutes.
Regarding the addition of new board members, convention staff and volunteers will be allowed to elect new members. The vote will take place at the post-convention staff dinner, which will be in about two weeks' time. The SPJA is also in the process of hiring a new CEO. According to Perez, the search has been narrowed down to four final candidates, and the final decision will be announced two or three weeks from the present. Afterwards, Perez and Wilson explained that the reason why the SPJA is seeking a CEO from outside the board is because no one from inside the SPJA has expressed interest in the position. Although they are looking for a candidate that has a solid business background, having experience with the anime industry is a positive quality, as it will require less time for the CEO to acclimate to the Society's needs.
In regards to the budget, Quan explained that last year, “we flat out spent too much money. Last year was a great year, but because we spent too much last year, we had to cut back this year.” He went on to say that many of the issues that occurred this year happened because of the budget, and that “you can only afford so much.” He did not specify which issues he was referring to.
The board also announced that the SPJA website would finally be updated, saying that it hadn't been updated for three years. Currently on the website is the mission statement, goals, values, and current projects. They explained that their vision as a 501C6 mutual benefit non-profit was to, “take input on how we can help the industry, fandom, and peers, and how we can serve their purposes best.”
They also apologized for not updating the public with their minutes, saying that, “it's been almost a year and a half since we've gotten anything out, and we apologize.” Over the past weekend, the board has “locked themselves in” and started going over minutes.
During the meeting, they also spent some time going over past minutes and making edits. Although they did not mention which minutes they had already approved over the weekend, the first one they presented was dated November 14, 2007. The following four were between February and May, 2009.
Of note, the minutes from May 20 and 21 of this year revealed that this year's estimated attendance was 20% up from last year, and was expected to be 51,000. The net income from this year was expected to be $503,483.36. However, in accordance to the budget, the registration service was increased by $200,000 because of the inability to fill the hotel block. The board moved to strike the $200,000 figure from the record, and post only that the registration service was increased.
Staring this year, “most” of the SPJA board meetings will now be open to the public, with the exception of a few that are closed to just staff members.