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AIPP appoints two new board members, delays IT system

The AIPP has made a raft of announcements including the appointment of two new board members, Geoff Comfort and Ben Kopilow, as well as a delay in the new IT and membership system, rebranding, and 2020 APPA dates.

Geoff Comfort (left) and Ben Kopilow (right).

A call for nominations in September 2019 advertised three vacant director positions on the AIPP’s National Board. Just two AIPP members, Geoff and Ben, met the prescribed qualifications and applied.

With no other applications, there was no contest for the board positions which meant a membership vote wasn’t necessary. One position remains open for a qualified member willing to volunteer their services to the Institute.

The two new board members, both ACT photographers, will officially be appointed to the position at the AIPP AGM in Brisbane on November 26.

Geoff, a commercial photographer, is an active volunteer of the AIPP, having served on the ACT council as both a councillor and state president. He’s also contributed to other AIPP groups, was made a Fellow of the Institute in 2017 and a Grand Master of Photography in 2016.

‘My involvement with the AIPP has covered many aspects and given me a broad range of knowledge of the institute. This gives me a solid background in understanding where the AIPP has come from and will undoubtedly assist me in helping to guide the AIPP in the future,’ he said in the AIPP Stories blog. ‘I see a strong AIPP moving forward. The current Board is making the move from working as an operational group to a strategic body. This enables long-term plans to be considered. The coming changes to membership categories is an excellent example of further long-term planning set in place.’

As a board member, Geoff plans to push forward education and lobbying for photographers’ rights.

Ben, a photographer with 25 years experience, has served on the ACT council for 13 years by filling roles like state president, treasurer, and member liaison officer. He has also been involved with the ACT State Awards, the mentoring program, and building relationships with local educational institutions.

‘I’m the current chair of the Membership Accreditation Committee (MAC) and working hard to try and address and implement local members’ concerns and ideas into the future national framework for membership categories and standards.’

The existing National Board members will stay on the team, with president Melissa Neumann and vice president Louise Bagger re-applying while other elected and co-opted board members will continue their involvement.

In the last two years, the AIPP national board has undergone several changes following resignations of four board members, including former AIPP president John Swainston. The voluntary job demands significant time and effort, which cuts into both the personal and professional lives of board members.

Pressure has without doubt increased as the AIPP undergoes restructure, with the board writing that its function has been ‘forced to be more operational than strategic in the last 18 months or so simply to keep the AIPP running’.

‘Being in this position has given us the opportunity to comb through the institute piece by piece to see what works, what doesn’t, and what brings us joy. This continues to be a work in progress but a lot has already been achieved. The board is now is a position to progress further and will be bringing many elements together in January, 2020 to prepare a solid business and strategic plan for the future.’

The AIPP National Board, following the AGM, will be: Melissa Neumann, Louise Bagger, David Simmonds, Dan O’Day, Bruce Pottinger, Felisha Mendoza Mina, Sara McKenna, Geoff Comfort, and Ben Kopilow.

The 2019 AIPP Board, prior to Geoff and Ben joining.

2020: IT system, rebranding and APPA
The AIPP’s new IT system, which includes rebranding and a fixed membership management system, has been delayed with an expected launch around mid-January, 2020. It was originally scheduled to roll out after APPA in August, 2019.

‘This has unfortunately also delayed the introduction of our new membership categories and we apologise for the frustration this has caused,’ the board says. ‘Please bear with us and for now, it’s business as usual until we can get this project complete. You’ll start to see new colours and branding and we plan to do a big launch once everything is complete and ready to roll out.’

Lastly, APPA will run in Melbourne from August 15-17.

Read the blog post here.

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