Business Board Meeting June 25, 2023

1. Call to Order

Operations Officer, Ross Berenson, called the meeting to order at:  pm Eastern

2. Roll

Present: Niels Duinker, Noel Yee, Benjamin Domask-Ruh, Ross Berenson, Mike Sullivan, Afton Benson, Martin Frost, Jake Darrow

Absent: Sofia, Amy, Aslynne

Recorder: Niels Duinker


3. Approval of Agenda

Motion: Niels

Second by: Noel

Discussion: Nope

Vote: Passes unanimously

4. Approval of Minutes: 

Business Board Meeting 

Motion: Benjamin

Second: Ross

Discussion: No discussion

Vote: Passes unanimously


5. Reports 

Please keep verbal reports to 5 min or less except for festival discussion.


2023 Festival Report (Exuro Piechocki)

Discussion: No news


Financial Report (Afton Benson)

Discussion: Afton got the numbers in late, so not enough time to prepare a good report. We will receive this next month. 


Future Festival Site Report (Mike Sullivan)

Mike visited Fort Wayne, Indiana June 12-14 and will be recommending that the Board authorize him to move ahead to the contracting stage to bring IJA’s 79th Annual Festival back to Fort Wayne July 27-August 2, 2026.


After four years of prospecting, we have no other offers for our 2026 event. 


Fort Wayne is extending VERY generous pricing and availability for our group in a city where we know we can be successful, and which has made many significant additional investments in downtown since our visit in 2019.


Mike is awaiting updated proposals from the Hampton Inn and Embassy Theater, as well as invitation letters from Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, Grand Wayne Convention Center Director of Sales LeAnn Solosky, and Visit Fort Wayne President and CEO Jill Boggs, all assuring the Association that we will receive a warm welcome in a friendly, safe city that we know will provide us with outstanding venues and Midwestern hospitality.


I will urge the Board to approve this motion as soon as possible, as we are just over 36 months away from IJA 79 and we have no contracts in place, and no other offers in the pipeline.  


I have also uploaded contracts for IJA 80 – Cedar Rapids 2027 into the G Drive folder for this month’s Board meeting agendas. I reported in mid-May on their offers and reiterate my recommendation that we move ahead to contract signing for 2027 with Cedar Rapids.




Afton: Why did the room blocks got increased?

Mike: We oversold the room blocks last time, so it’s not a concern. It will make us look better to future locations. We are on the hook for 1,000 only. 

Afton: If the festival prices increase what do you think that will impact the attendance?

Mike: It’s hard to predict, but we are still getting a great deal. In Fort Wayne the room rates were higher, and in Cedar Rapids the rates were very attractive. 1,200 nights feel good. We’re actually only on the hook for 960 nights.

Martin: You said we’re paying 500 dollars per night at the Paramount Theater. What is a typical rate in other theaters?

Mike: Jerry Seinfeld had to pay 150,000 dollars at the Embassy Theater the next night after we left.

Afton: A similar theater in Green Bay normally charges 3,500 dollars per night as their commercial rate.

Ross: Mike, in your mind what do you think would be the ideal budget for similar hotels in other markets?

Mike: Normally we should have double the budget. Some people ask why do we even bother with the hotel deal? Because of the hotel deal we get a deal and get the theater and other facilities. Without the hotel deal we wouldn’t get those offers. If we fall much under those 1,000 room nights we would lose the interest of many cities, also because we stay there longer. 

Afton: In the past we had one bad experience at hosting the convention at a University. But would there still be opportunities there?

Mike: In my mind that one time at Purdue really poisoned the well a lot. The facilities were disorganized, and do we want to put our volunteers through that stress again.

Afton: At the moment in South Bend we’re going through a similar stress already too.

Mike: I am happy to talk to any University, but I wouldn’t want to host a convention again at a similar venue. I think the convention in South Bend is gonna be good, and the current issues may be mostly because currently we are not dealing with dedicated employees.


Afton: Thanks for answering all these questions, Mike. And all the work. One issue that keeps coming up is that certain members from our juggling community that are also part of the LGBTQ community feel unsafe in the potential cities that are coming up. So I would like to see the festival going out of the Midwest states if possible.

Ross: Does anyone  else have any questions for Mike?

Martin: Have we looked at Denver?

Mike: Yes, I have looked at it. In the summer it is peak tourist season, and it is tough with the theater situation. The Olympic facilities they offer are really big. But Denver reaches out to us every so often. But at the moment it doesn’t look like a great match. 

Ross: In 2021 we looked at Palm Beach. Do you still have those emails?

Mike: Let me look at it and what the prices were that we got. The prices of the convention center were high. The fairgrounds were all open air, and in July that is not ideal. I keep a good record of past opportunities and cities.

Ross: It would be interesting to hear what the prices would be for possibly an IJA festival in like ten years time. Maybe possibly Atlantic City as another option. Thank you so much for your time and all the work.


eJuggle Report (Scott Seltzer)

Discussion: We haven’t heard or seen anything from Scott lately. 


Membership (Marilyn Sullivan)
Membership Data

Discussion: Numbers have decreased a bit. 


Marketing Report (Matan Presberg)

Discussion: At the moment Matan works with a team of six people. Matan is still in charge but seems open to pass the torch.


IRC Report (Erin Stephens)

Discussion: No update


YJA Report (Benjamin Domask-Ruh)

Discussion:  No update


OpsO Report (Ross Berenson)



Ross: ClickUp is our project management app to oversee all the open tasks and projects. We are still working on the DJI. We are still working on the store, the bylaws. We will be discussing the removal of family plans coming up.

Afton: We need to be more “on” to get reports from all the officers, since right now it is very minimal. 


6. Motions for Consideration


7. Varia:


Afton has been working hard on marketing ideas. Bailey volunteered to come out to South Bend. She is not a juggler, but she has fallen in love with juggling and offered to come to convention to film footage we can use in marketing. Her footage will help drive membership and the organization. A proposal is coming for that.

Martin: Did we film at the convention?

Afton: We did film but just didn’t edit them into marketing videos.

Martin: Jay Ko has all our footage from the past years and years. He promised to digitize all that footage for the IJA archives. 

Afton:  Jay Ko is aware of it, but it took longer. Same with David Cain he hasn’t digitized the IJA archive either.

Martin: A company quoted us 12,000 to digitize all the video footage, Jay Ko offered to do it for free but right now we still have nothing.

Ross: Where should these archives live?

Afton: This is the answer from Jay Ko from back in the day


“Sorry the project has been on pause for such a long time. I need to do some testing for a new methodology, as the previous capture method involved FireWire cables and an old version of Final Cut on a MacBook Pro that is now quite old, with a battery that no longer takes a charge.

I recently bought a new MacBook Pro, but they no longer have the antiquated FireWire ports. Also, I need to research if the newer version of Final Cut can capture in the same way.

I suspect I may need to use a separate capture device, perhaps the same one I use to capture video clips from my cable TV box.

The files already captured were MPEG-2, which is not space efficient, so the files are relatively huge, quickly filling up hard drives.

The MPEG-4 and H.264 formats use a more space efficient algorithm, so the file sizes aren’t as large. I’ll likely continue the project with the newer formats.”


This will be a task for the board to think about how to archive the IJA’s history.

Afton: The last community with Jay Ko about this was in September last year.

Noel: Let’s think about making the tasks for Jay Ko more specific so it can be done quicker.


Afton: Usually there is no Vision Meeting during the month of the annual convention.


8. Confirm Next Meeting

Next meetings will take place on…

for the next vision meeting

No July Vision Meeting

for the next business meeting

Board meeting will happen at the 2023 IJA Festival
– July 19 @ 1:00pm EDT – AGM Meeting
– Then a 30min meeting later in the day


9. Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 5.07 pm Eastern. 

Leave a Reply