JARS v51n3 - From the President

From the President
H.C. "Bud" Gehnrich
Chichester, New York

We are all back from the Annual Convention in Vancouver, back to weeding, watering, deadheading and all the rest of those chores. It was a wonderful convention and I thank the members of the Vancouver Rhododendron Society and the other mainland chapters of District 1 for all the effort they put into it.

One of the important things that took place in Vancouver was the selection of a new Executive Director. This is the person who really does the work of the Society, keeping in touch with the chapters, the officers and directors, answering a myriad of questions that come to her by phone, E-Mail or letter. She also takes care of the dues and the membership database as well as the finances of the Society.

Barbara Hall, who did the job with distinction for eight years, decided that she had to resign for health reasons shortly before the convention, and a search committee was quickly set up. Candidates were reviewed, some interviewed and one candidate was recommended to the Executive Committee. Following is a letter that I sent to the Chapter Presidents, announcing the appointment.

"I am pleased to announce that the Executive Committee has appointed Deanne Daneri of Fortuna, California, a member of the Eureka Chapter, to the recently vacated position of Executive Director. She was recommended by a search committee headed by Lynn Watts, Western VP of the ARS, from a group of ten well qualified applicants.

Dee, as she prefers to be known, currently serves as president of the North American Heather Society, a 700 member organization. She founded and has helped organize the Heather Enthusiasts of the Redwood Empire which has grown into a 200 member organization.

She has run her own nursery, written a newspaper column and produced and directed a radio show for a local station. Dee also managed the tax department of a prominent accounting firm and has held other managerial positions with private and government entities.

Together with these organizational and membership abilities, she brings a strong knowledge of computer skills including financial and database programs that will become increasingly important to our Society.

Added to all of the above is her ability to get along well with people and respond to their inquiries. This will give the Society a strong Executive Director to carry on the tradition of the fine people who have held this position over the years.

All of us regret the circumstances that brought about the resignation of Barbara Hall, who has done such a good job over the past eight years, also holding the position of Secretary during this time. She has virtually defined the position during this time as the complexities of running the Society have grown. We all wish her well and an early return to an active role in the Society.

The transfer of responsibility is proceeding very smoothly, and I thank all of those who have contributed to the effort. If you have any question or suggestion regarding the operations of your Society, please do not hesitate to contact Dee or myself."

At the Board meeting, there was a proposal to change the name of the Society, primarily to drop the word American in an effort to reflect the continuing move toward internationalization of the organization. The greatest growth appears to be coming from overseas, and the membership of the combined European chapters exceeds 550. It may be time to form a district in Europe, and then that group would have its own director to represent its concerns. Meanwhile, interest in the Society increases in the Pacific area, and while there is no thought to a district there at this time, some such arrangement may suggest itself in the future.

At the same time, the argument is advanced that the name is one that is well recognized in the plant community, has been in use for over 50 years and should not be discarded without serious consideration. Other societies, the Royal Horticultural Society as an example, carry a national designation that does not appear to hurt their success as an international group.

At the meeting of the Board, a motion was adopted changing the name to "Rhododendron and Azalea Society," thereby emphasizing the fact that we include azaleas in our field of interest. There is also considerable support for the name "The Rhododendron Society."

In any event, since the change requires a change in the bylaws, it must be adopted at two successive meetings of the Board, thereby requiring a vote during the fall meeting in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The Board will appreciate hearing from the membership regarding this proposal. Contact your District Director directly or through your Chapter President, and ask him to relay your thoughts to the Director.