National President’s report – Winter 2017

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Hello fellow members,

It is with pleasure that I present my final report to you. During my time on the National committee I’ve witnessed many changes within the Club, not only at national level but at branch level too. Although some changes may appear to be minor, they have been significant in keeping the club in line with changing times.  I’d learnt very early in the beginning that change is more readily acceptable, if it is considered to be necessary, effective and instrumental in contributing to the smooth running of the club.

During my first term as President the committee experienced the challenge of administration change: change in staff, necessitating the introduction of structured job descriptions, KPIs, wage reviews, procedures, protocols and professional development at the National Administration Office. Improvements to the Riding On journal have been made thanks to the commitment of our editor Gary Warner and publisher, Diamond Graphics. There’s been a change in advertising requirements with the majority of prospective advertisers preferring the electronic form to paper. Through the combined efforts of VP Jen Woods and Advertising Liaison, Henry Rokx and staff member Leaca, complimentary advertising packages have been devised which incorporate all available advertising media, including RidingOnline. Maintaining the national website requires constant upgrades, the downside of this is that each upgrade requires a substantial financial outlay, however there is a process in place before any upgrades or makeovers are approved; each stage requires an immense amount of time and energy interacting with a variety of key personnel to bring the proposal comprising the structural components, quotes and timelines to the table for discussion and approval.


We also speak about promoting the Ulysses Club, attracting new members and not only retaining existing members but keeping them interested in the Club


With the effect that lower membership numbers have on our income and expenditure, we acknowledge that it is vital to constantly practice financial restraints and although the Ulysses Club remains financially stable, we must continue to strive to improve our financial status. We also speak about promoting the Ulysses Club, attracting new members and not only retaining existing members but keeping them interested in the Club. These are areas that we as individuals can be actively involved in. The state inter-branch meetings have assisted the National Committee as well as other branches in identifying areas of concern; they have shared ideas and exchanged strategies. The membership trends that our club is experiencing are similar to those that clubs across a broad spectrum - service, sports, charity, social clubs are also experiencing, but rather than becoming despondent and even apportioning blame, we should embrace the opportunity to explore ways in which we can contribute to reignite the passion, reintroduce the fun factor and put into practice the principles of the club.

An adjunct to the amount of work that the committee members have achieved this year through their portfolios, are discussion papers; the papers introduced over the last several months are titled - Ulysses Club Advertising Options and Ulysses Club Riding Online Advertising (Jen Woods); Riding On Production and Related Website Advertising (Jen Woods); Governance, Approvals and Procedures (Peter Baulch); Strategies for Cost Effective AGMs and Events (Allan Pratt) and the Ulysses Club – Past Present and Future (Henry Rokx). These discussion papers have been accepted and recorded in the National Committee meeting minutes and will no doubt attract further discussion by the next committee.

I am humbled at how readily and unselfishly members put their hand up to assist when the need arises, whether it be at national level, branch level, hosting an event such as an AGM Event or lending a hand at the National Administration Office. This kind of support and dedication is vital to the success and sustainability of the club and I sincerely thank these members for their contribution and boundless energy, and I’m hopeful that their generosity continues well in to the future.  To our ex-officio members – without your enthusiasm, contribution and commitment we would struggle to competently accomplish as much as we have. I thank our branch committees and our many sponsors for your support and ongoing dedication to the club. I thank you, the members, for the energy invested into the welfare of the Club. I thank our staff members for their support, loyalty and willingness to apply themselves to allocated tasks; their commitment to working with us has been refreshing and appreciated. They have been encouraged to take the initiative, make suggestions and arrive at decisions, all of which have contributed to a happier workplace environment.


I thank all the members of the National Committee who I have worked with / alongside over the years. Like the membership of the Ulysses Club, the National Committee comprises members from various walks of life

The Club Elders – past Presidents form an integral part of the club and I thank them for being available to offer advice and support during times of clarification and uncertainty. I thank all the members of the National Committee who I have worked with / alongside over the years. Like the membership of the Ulysses Club, the National Committee comprises members from various walks of life, each one  bringing an extraordinary amount of intellect and good judgment into the running of the Club, and their professionalism was always applied. I’m grateful for the wisdom, dedication and enthusiasm displayed by the committee members with whom I’ve worked during these last three years in particular and I appreciate their contributions and achievements; the betterment of the club being the aim. Their willingness to rise above the controversies that had been presented to us is admirable and speaks volumes about their characters.

I’m grateful for the people I’ve met, the friendships formed, the invitations to milestone celebrations and events; the warm welcomes and the locations travelled and the unconditional support, but most of all I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve you, our members, for 13 years. It has been an incredible journey. I wish the next National Committee success.

Safe travels and continue to make many wonderful memories.

Helena Gritton #14027

National President (ex, as of 27th May 2017)

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