Looking back on LOC AGM season
25 July 2019
AGM season is always a busy time for LOCs and we’ve been getting great reports from around the country. As it’s never too soon to start thinking about next year, we caught up with the team at Leeds LOC, to find out about their AGM and tips for organising successful event…
On 10th June at the Leeds LOC AGM sixty attendees enjoyed the opportunity to meet up at the Thackeray Medical museum to hear about the LOC’s activities, benefit from a CET session and network with colleagues from across the regional optical sector. Liz Locke, a Leeds-based optometrist and part of the Leeds LOC events team, explains how they approach the task of organising the AGM.
“We start planning in March,” says Liz. “Our team of four meets three times a year and outside that we co-ordinate through WhatsApp. This means everyone feels involved and as soon as something has been done, we all know.”
Choosing the best date is the first task. “We are careful to work around festivals such as Ramadan and Jewish holy days, so that as many people as possible can attend,” notes Liz. The venue is also important: “It needs to be easily accessible even in rush hour traffic, ideally with free parking. We have been at the Thackeray Medical Museum for the past 3 years – it’s quite quirky and has a nice medical connection.”
There are two main factors that contribute to a successful AGM, says Liz: a good database of contacts to invite and an attractive CET element.
“We’ve been building our database over many years so that when we send out our invitations six weeks ahead of the event, we know they are reaching the right people.” This year the CET was a three-point session that covered an induction to Visual Impairment, workshop and discussion. Liz says: “We aim to choose a relevant topic that’s valuable to optometrists and dispensing opticians to encourage everyone to attend.”
The Leeds LOC AGM is quite informal, with a buffet meal which gives people the chance to chat to colleagues and includes a now-famous LOC cake. “The cake is quite a tradition. It’s a simple but effective – and tasty – reminder of who we are and why we’re there!” smiles Liz.
Nizz Sabir is the Optical Lead in the region. He has been attending AGMs throughout his patch and agrees that sparking conversations is one of the most important aspects of AGMs, saying: “The AGM is a great opportunity for a two-way dialogue to help the LOCs deliver representative outcomes in their locality.”
This year’s Leeds LOC AGM attendees were a diverse audience, including optometrists, dispensing opticians, hospital representatives, at different stages of their careers. Liz feels that the range of people on the LOC committee contributes to this: “We’ve got representatives from large High Street opticians, independents, education and the hospitals, so we have a broad perspective on the sector.”
Overall, the Leeds LOC events team feels that there are a few essential elements that help to ensure a successful AGM:
- Build a good database and work hard to reach the right people with attractive publicity
- Cover up to date and relevant topics
- Keep it casual and fairly fast-paced, with lots of opportunities to chat and network
- Emphasise that the LOC is always open to new committee members and people are welcome to attend meetings.
- Make use of communications channels such as WhatsApp to work as a team and keep everyone in the loop.
Now that the AGM is over, the team will review and start preparing for next year. “We get together and work out what went well and what we’d like to change,” says Liz, “it really is a team effort, year-round!”
If you’ve been inspired to start thinking about next year’s AGM, check out our online resources and get in touch if you’d like support with any aspect.