Business Board Meeting December 9th, 2020

1. Call to Order

Chair, Mike Moore, called the meeting to order at: 7:05 pm EST

2. Roll

Present: Aslynne Howes, Afton Benson, Ross Berenson, Mike Sullivan, Chris Garcia, Martin Frost, Scott Steiskal, Mike Moore, 

Absent: Amy Wieliczka, Matan Presberg, Eric Shibuya

Recorder: Chris Garcia


3. Approval of Agenda

Motion: Scott

Second by: Aslynne


Vote: Pass unanimously among present

[Amy joins at 7:07]

[Chris joins at 7:08]

4. Approval of Minutes: 

Business Board Meeting (LINK)

Motion: Amy

Second: Chris


Vote: Pass unanimously among present


5. Reports 


Main discussion: potential cancellation of 2021 IJA in-person festival


Ross: voting for making the festival online.

Afton: Attached addendum from the Hyatt. Looks like we can sign the contract and “move forward”. If we sign and cancel seems like we won’t owe them a fee. Does Hyatt have the ability to host a show if theater isn’t available, waiting to hear the answer? Fest report from last month covers the cancellation fees. Held off on cancelling the Drury since we still have time and can wait. Financial and ethical aspects of running the fest. Borders closed between US/Canada. If the vaccine and everything goes perfectly, public vaccination may not begin May/June… If we switch to online, we have time to plan, fundraisers, etc. Juniors competition. Liability of 12k for members fest package 2020 to apply to 2021 fest package, can ask them to donate or to carry forward to 2022.

Mike Sullivan:  Wichita contact reached out, checking in to see if we decided on our plans. Plans to cancel. Agreed about the theater may never open again, attendance significantly reduced. Agreement with the Drury doesn’t obligate us to fill rooms, can walk away. Same with Hyatt no attrition to sell rooms. Century2 and Orpheum, probably won’t enforce cancellation penalties. Probably best to cancel the live event and move to an online festival for 2021.

Matan: In a position to cancel or cancel later, best to cancel now. People probably disappointed, but we should be clear in communications. How do we communicate it?

Afton: We do need to sign the addendum. Walk away without large bill. Orpheum has refused to negotiate with the bill, but feeling like they’ll close. May go to small claims court if they close.

Mike Sullivan: Contract would transfer to new management company, but we have a reasonable out.

Aslynne: If the Orpheum closed, would we get any money back from small claims court?

Afton: Small claims court, People might not enforce them paying it, maybe if they claim bankruptcy. We might not see the money. Can they work with us on the amount they give back? $3750 paid to them so far.

Martin: Agrees with cancelling the fest, not a good situation to have the fest.


2021 Festival Report (Ross Berenson)


Addendum to the Hyatt Contract for the Room Blocks


Financial Report (Afton Benson)



Future Festival Site Report (Mike Sullivan)



eJuggle Report (Scott Seltzer)



Membership (Marilyn Sullivan)
Membership Data



Marketing Report (Erin Stephens/Matan Presberg)


Afton: Do we have a gender breakdown for our FB engagement?

Matan: 72.8% of followers are men. Had a meeting with Erin and Lucas. Lucas will be stepping up more. Trying to promote more women. 


IRC Report (Erin Stephens)



YJA Report (Galen Harp)



6. Motions for Consideration

A: Motion to consider canceling the 2021 IJA festival in person and moving the festival to an online platform. 

Author : Afton Benson & Ross Berenson 

Motion : Amy

Second : Matan

Mike motions:

Amendment to this motion to read:

Motion to cancel the 2021 IJA festival in-person and move the festival to an online platform after the Hyatt addendum is signed and accepted.

Aslynne seconds

Matan: Is it ethically weird to motion when we are going to sign for the contract?

Afton: We don’t have to cancel with the Hyatt, could just let it ride out and not pay them. 

Mike S: The right thing to do would be to let them know we cancelled. Important for IJA to keep our reputation clean, word gets around between hotels in the industry and may affect the future fests.

Afton: We do plan to let them know we do not plan to show up so the Hyatt can release the rooms and fill them if they can

Vote on amendment: passes 

Matan: We should vote by role.

Vote: Aslynne: in favour
Chris Garcia: in favour
Scott Steiskal: in favour
Amy Wieliczka: in favour
Mike Moore: in favour
Matan Presberg: in favour
Eric Shibuya (voted by email): in favour (of cancelling, he was not aware of accepting the Hyatt amendment)

Vote: passes unanimously 


B: Motion to consider appointing Dan Holzman & Mike Sullivan as 2022 Festival Co-Directors.

Author : Mike Sullivan

Motion : Scott

Second : Aslynne

We humbly ask the board to consider our proposal to be the 2022 IJA Festival Co-Directors for the historic 75th annual festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, July 11-17, 2022.

As many of you who were in Cedar Rapids in 2017 already know, IJA 70 was a phenomenal week. The venues and downtown area of Cedar Rapids were an outstanding destination for our 70th Annual, and the city is very likely to be even more attractive by the time we arrive in 2022. Several new boutique hotels are set to open in downtown before then, and we can also expect to see more retail and dining development around the DoubleTree Hotel and Convention Complex as well.

The 70th Annual festival which we co-directed was one of the most financially successful IJA festivals in the past 20 years, netting the Association $40k on expenses of only $132k, for a profit margin of 23%.

I think everyone who attended IJA 70 in 2017 would regard it as one of the best-run, smoothest and most exciting festivals ever, with headliners including Paul Ponce, Peter Davison, Gena Shvartsman Cristiani
, Erik Åberg, Thom Wall, Passing Zone, Danger Committee, Jay Gilligan and many more.

Having already run a fun, successful, hassle-free festival for IJA in Cedar Rapids, Dan and I think that we can bring even more energy and success to IJA 75 due to already knowing the venues, our partners in the city, what can and can’t work in Cedar Rapids, and how to price and promote the event even better than before.


Dan is a lifelong professional performing juggler, and has produced and directed many IJA shows. He has myriad contacts in the world of juggling and has demonstrated his ability to secure world-class acts for several IJA festival shows. Mike has over a decade of IJA festival operations and production experience, and was festival director in 2009, 2011 and co-director with Dan in 2017. And since Mike never throws anything away, we already have the template from 2017’s winning festival ready to apply to the 2022 event.  

Dan has been honored with IJA’s Bobby May Award, the Award of Excellence (with Barry Friedman), and in 2019, IJA’s Extraordinary Service Award. Mike has been awarded IJA’s Extraordinary Service Award in 2014 (with Marilyn Sullivan).

If the Board agrees to move ahead, we’d be ready to conclude terms for the work along the same lines as the 2017 agreements.

We know how to do this. We have the time and experience necessary to bring to the effort. We’re ready to start tomorrow.

Matan/Afton: We have an application process for the fest director.

Mike: Willing to volunteer again, not many people have volunteered to do 2 fests, as it burns people out. Saves IJA the trouble of finding a director.

Afton: Noel and others have done multiple fests. Unethical and risky to provide commission as a non-profit

Aslynne: Set budget for the director, does that budget get split for co-directors? If 2 directors then they decide between each other how to split the budget.

Martin: Are we going to advertise in the newsletter for people to apply as fest director?

Scott: We can still get a list of people who are willing to help and chip in. Helps to tell us their specialties. If we get multiple applicants, we can also say we’re open to assign directors per year.

Aslynne:  People’s situations change. Also we pay a deposit as well. Getting a head start can be good, but also there are other implications for being too early.

Mike M: There’s a cooling off period for cancelling the 2021 fest, and asking for a director. We should wait at least a month to ask for future fest directors when sending an email canceling the next fest. Respect for the cancellation and for people to consider future fests.

Martin: Sees this as encouraging for asking for a future fest director. Don’t think people will be surprised by the cancellation.

Amy: How long before a fest do we put a call for a director?

Afton: ~13 months except for Quebec. We usually put a call by late spring. We usually sign the contract at the festival beforehand. Board usually votes before board members change. This may also be something that affects multiple years out.

Afton: End of January newsletter would be a good time to put out the call. When is the December newsletter planned?

Martin: Next newsletter earliest Christmas, but probably by the 31st.



In favour:
Against: Matan, Scott, Chris, Aslynne, Amy, Mike M
Result: motion does not pass


7. Varia:

IJA Hangout (Aslynne & Chris) (Updated Monday night)

  • Feedback and comments.  
  • ~20-40 people throughout
  • ~2.5 hours

[Ross and Mike Sullivan leave the call 8:09]

  • Most people came from FB group or newsletter (one person learned about it from Reddit (/r/juggling) – good place to consider marketing to in the future)
  • No bans necessary ^.^  😀
  • At least one family joined
  • Adding registration is an increase in security, prob overkill but still needed

Matan: anecdote. Someone came to his live streams and mentioned they liked the meeting.

Aslynne: Security. Don’t like the idea of only posting the link shortly before. Early in advanced go to link to register instead of having things last second.

Feedback form responses (3 people):

Zoom breakout rooms. Currently we’d need more moderation to handle this.

Amy: Excited about the girls night

Aslynne: Would be cool if we do this more than once a month. One night is a general meeting, another is specifically a girls night week. 2x hangouts per month.

Specific IJA Discord server

Mike: 5% of the people are 90% of the enthusiasm/messages. Concerned with existing juggling discord server see it not in their best interests. Near extinction event. Taylor, Marvin, Matan, etc as moderators. If we do this, we should make it clear that it’s an IJA juggling discord server, IJA motivated. Should be different in some way, promotes the IJA

Matan: Probably more effective to put new content on our existing platforms. 

Mike: Discord as a community building, informal talk. Not great as a news outlet. What type of community building things will we do with the discord? Question of the day for people. Feeding conversation at the beginning.




IJA Hangout – Girls’ night (Aslynne) (Updated Monday night)

  • New idea, planning to have one coming up, possibly make it a regular thing
  • Could we do the same idea, but for POC?

The first meeting wasn’t that diverse, with ethnicity or gender. Should we create meetings specifically for groups? Sexism isn’t the only issue, racism as well. So maybe another hangout for POC. Moderating, an honor system wouldn’t kick people out. “Juggling community for women and all people who have experience with misogyny”

Planning to have one this month. 

8. Confirm Next Meeting

Next meetings will take place on…

Jan 6th, 7:45 pm EST for the next vision meeting

Jan 20th, 7:45 pm ESTfor the next business meeting


9. Adjournment

Motion to adjourn : 

Discussion : 

Voting : 


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