Minutes of the 2017 General Assembly

What is the HUTAC General Assembly and why does it matter?

Before you delve into the minutes of the 2017 HUTAC General Assembly, we would like to briefly explain what the GA is and why it is important to you as a member of the HUTAC community.

The GA is an annual gathering of the HUTAC community which allows members to:

  • Find out what the previous year’s Board achieved, including not only fun highlights of the events but also a thorough look into HUTAC’s financials,
  • Meet the new year’s Board candidates, listen to their motivations for wanting to lead and, if convincing, vote them into office,
  • Ask questions, tackle issues and offer feedback – your input is always welcome and appreciated,
  • Reconnect with your fellow HUTACers.

Although the 2017 GA is over, we look forward to seeing you at the next GA as well as upcoming HUTAC events in 2018!

Happy holidays!

Your 2017-2018 HUTAC Board

Minutes of the HUTAC General Assembly 2017

Date: 16 December 2017

Location: Impact Hub Amsterdam, Linnaeusstraat 2C, 1092 CK Amsterdam

Time: 14:30 – 17:45 CET

Participants: 8, all HSP recipient members

Presentation slides: bit.ly/HUTAC2017GA

1. Opening and Agenda

At 14:30 CET, Catalina Iorga, President of the 2016-2017 HUTAC Board announced the start of the 2017 General Assembly and invited all present members to tune in to the Board’s presentation.

Catalina first outlined the agenda of the GA session, namely:

  • 2016-2017 highlights and financial overview
  • Interim Q&A
  • Approval of the 2016-2017 financial statement and discharge of the 2016-2017 Board
  • Re-election of Advisory Board and Audit Committee members at the end of their two-year terms
  • 2017-2018 theme, vision and budget proposal
  • Brainstorm and vote on the future of HUTAC
  • Approval of the 2017-2018 vision and election of the 2017-2018 Board
  • Final Q&A and closing

Although these minutes cover all of the above, it is important to note that they do so under different thematic headings than was presented at the GA for the purpose of conciseness and clarity.

2. HUTAC Highlights 2016-2017

Catalina first reminded GA participants of the past year’s HUTAC theme: The Sharing Society. She then proceeded to outline the contents of the 2016-2017 HUTAC activities built on this general vision while presenting photos of each event:

Board Games, Storytelling & Music:

Held on 11 February 2017, the first event of 2017 was a fun gathering of HUTAC members at the Mezrab Cultural Center in Amsterdam.

Focusing on analytical thinking, creativity and storytelling, the event featured Utrecht-based musician Yank, recently out with his first solo album, accompanied by Ertugrul Guney on guitar, Cengiz Arslanpay on eastern flutes and Nicki Schulze Frenking on violin. The event was attended by 20 participants.

The HUTAC Business Model:

Held on 8 April 2017, this event was an internal roundtable hosted by the 2016-2017 Board and attended by current and former HUTAC Board members in order to reach consensus on the future business model of our organization and discuss strategies on moving HUTAC forward beyond 2020.

Attended by 9 active members and current/former leaders, the event was facilitated by entrepreneur and friend of HUTAC Jasper Mutsaerts.

A range of ideas and strategies were debated in a systematic manner during the discussions, including the true purpose of continuation, member base needs and desires, membership fees, event pricing, strategic partnerships, sponsorships and marketing techniques.

The outcome of this brainstorming session has been one of the main contributors to the proposal of the leadership team for a future-proof HUTAC which has been shared with members prior to the GA.

Create Change That Catches On:

Held on 13 May 2017 at Impact Hub Amsterdam, this informative and insightful event was facilitated by Amsterdam-based social crowd sourcing platform Heroes & Friends.

Attended by 8 participants, the focus of the event was on topics such as crowd funding, crowd sourcing, social change and social movements.

2017 HUTAC Conference – The Sharing Society:

Featuring four esteemed guests, namely motivational speaker and entrepreneur Cathy Delhanty, founder and CEO of Green Insights Ajay Varadharajan, Communications Manager at the European Forest Institute Rina Tsubaki, and Art of Hosting facilitator Laura Grassi, the largest event of 2017 was attended by 20 HUTAC members.

The 2017 Conference delved into topics such as community building, confidence boosting, battling fake news, professional networking, the sharing economy, social innovation and sustainability. The event was hosted at Impact Hub Amsterdam on 16 September 2017.

At this point, due to the fact that Kollol Aguan, 2016-2017 HUTAC Treasurer, was not in attendance at the GA, Catalina handed over to Andy Golkhandan, 2015-2016 President of the HUTAC Board and current Advisory Board member, to present the financial statement of 2016-2017.

3. HUTAC Financial Statement 2016-2017

As is customary during the GA, Andy first reminded the members about the start and end dates of the HUTAC fiscal year (1 September 2016 – 31 August 2017) in contrast to the administrative year (30 October 2016 – 16 December 2017) and the potential reporting complexities which arise as a result of this difference.

Following this introduction, he proceeded to present the 2016-2017 financial statement followed by the HUTAC balance sheet as of 31 August 2017. The details are summarized below:

2016-2017 costs


2016-2017 revenues

2016-2017 statement

Andy explained that 2017 is the first year in HUTAC’s history in which Nuffic subsidy payments of € 20,000.00 per year are no longer provided. Based on a 2016 contract with Nuffic, the remaining subsidy reserves of € 14,024.72, accumulated over the past few years until 31 August 2017, are expected to be fully spent before the end of 2019.

HUTAC equity of € 17,779.44 represents the sum of all revenue generated by HUTAC since its inception until 31 August 2017 through all means other than Nuffic sponsorship; this includes event participation fees and interest on savings.

At this point of the presentation, a number of questions/comments were brought up by members in attendance, specifically Ankur Sharma and Arsham Farzinnia. These contributions along with associated responses from the Board and/or other present members are summarized below:

1. Regarding the HUTAC Business Model internal roundtable (Event 2), why was the activity not announced to the entire member base? What is the justification of the expenditure of € 893.50 for this event? Did the Board reach any concrete solutions following these discussions?

Catalina highlighted the long-running need for the HUTAC leadership team to resolve disagreements on the future course of the organization and reach a consensus in order to be able to focus on implementation of solutions rather than only debating them. Therefore, a small group of current and former leaders who have made contributions to this debate over the past 5 years were called in to this meeting to review all possible fundraising strategies under the guidance of a professional facilitator such as Jasper Mutsaerts.

Based on past experience discussing such topics, the Board decided that inviting a group of core members with sufficient knowledge of the financial status of HUTAC as well as past proposals to move the association forward beyond 2020 was the best and most efficient path forward. The original invitation for this internal roundtable was sent individually to over 15 members. In the end, the roundtable was held with 9 members in attendance.

Regarding the cost of this activity, Catalina clarified that € 500.00 was paid to the facilitator. Given his past pro bono contributions to HUTAC at two separate occasions in 2016, such a fee was considered reasonable by the Board. Jasper’s presence at the roundtable gave a clear sense of direction to the discussions and made sure the process was followed by everyone through a well-structured step-by-step approach.

Finally, Catalina informed the General Assembly that the outcome of this meeting, while not providing a final answer to all of HUTAC’s questions, directly informed the value proposition of the association going forward and helped the Board come up with concrete discussion points and proposals to consider in 2018. The first set of these action items and proposed changes were sent to members via email on 10 December 2017 and were expected to be debated and voted on later during the GA. Catalina briefly gave a preview of a number of these steps, including the expansion of the member base to include other Nuffic-administered scholarship recipients.

In addition, in response to a follow-up question, she clarified that the goal is always to keep the HUTAC name alive by taking pride in our history and ensuring HSP recipient members are continuously involved at the highest levels of the decision-making process and those members who have tuned out are contacted and reactivated.

Following Catalina’s response, member Arsham Farzinnia made his disagreement clear and pointed out that in his opinion, an overwhelming majority of HUTAC’s remaining funds, especially the sum of € 14,024.72 which has a clear deadline for expenditure, must be spent on and for the members.

2. Follow-up to question 1: why do HSP recipient members have to pay participation fees when the Nuffic reserve funds are expected to be spent in the next two years? This money must be spent on the members. Why does the Board pay speakers for their services and charge members to make up for it?

Firstly, Andy clarified that event participation fees are not meant to cover the costs of any event, but are used as a steady stream of revenue gradually adding to HUTAC equity over the long haul; these funds make up a reserve pool which aims to sustain the organization beyond Nuffic’s funding and allow for more time before a sustainable business model is established.

From this point forward, the conversation moved on to revolve mostly around new business models, with new partnerships being front and center. Ankur proposed that, through better branding, HUTAC may offer a platform for prospective speakers to promote themselves at events hence reducing the costs – and even generating additional revenue – while members end up paying smaller fees. Laura Tufis, 2016-2017 HUTAC Marketing Strategist, pointed out that in order for this to happen, a thriving HUTAC community is a must.

In general, despite many disagreements, the discussions led to a majority opinion among GA attendees that event participation fees must be lowered and revenue generation must be focused almost exclusively in the area of external relations, partnerships and/or sponsorships. With respect to concrete steps on how to realize this strategy, members Arsham Farzinnia and Helena Basilova advocated for a special committee of HUTAC members charged with the responsibility to study these possibilities and make recommendations which the leadership may then take under advisement.

3. Follow-up to question 1: with respect to the outreach effort to HSP recipient members, how many of these members are currently residing in the Netherlands and, hence, may have the means to get closely involved with the organization again?

Laura provided the following stats in response:

An estimated 80 members are currently living in the Netherlands, out of which approximately 30 are active (or semi-active) members. HUTAC is in possession of the contact information of up to 600 HSP recipient members worldwide; however, this database is gradually becoming outdated and therefore the members data is in need of maintenance and renewal. Overall, the Mailchimp system gives the HUTAC Board access to 880 unique individuals, both HSP and non-HSP recipient members.

4. Regarding Event 3: Create Change That Catches On, why is the revenue calculated so low – i.e. € 64.00 – given the known number of participants and pricing of the event?

Andy mentioned that this calculation may have been affected by late and/or deferred event participation payments – i.e. occurring after the end of the fiscal year 2016-2017 – and hence was not included in the official financial statement. Members were reassured that they would receive more detailed information about this perceived discrepancy following the GA. Below is the explanation provided by the 2016-2017 HUTAC Treasurer Kollol Aguan:

Payments by 3 participants, including two Board members, were received and processed after 31 August 2017. These collections which remained unaccounted for in the 2016-2017 financial statement amounted to an additional € 40.00; 2 HSP recipient members paying € 12.00 and 1 non-HSP recipient member paying € 16.00. This amount shall be accounted for in the 2017-2018 financial statement as General Revenue and voted on by members next year. Furthermore, the original revenue of € 64.00 already accounts for one reimbursement of € 12.00 to a member who could not attend the event. This amount effectively represents the fees collected from only 5 members, 4 HSP recipient members and 1 not-HSP recipient member.

5. How much additional funds do we have left going forward?

Andy explained that given the sum of all assets on 31 August 2017 at € 34,258.82 and the fact that financial commitments regarding the HUTAC Conference 2017 – € 2,173.59 – and General Assembly 2017 – estimated at € 1,200.00 – had yet to be met, as of the beginning of 2018, HUTAC will own approximately € 30,000.00 in the bank, sufficient to run the organization until at least the beginning of 2021.

6. Can the details of the € 2,121.18 General Costs be disclosed to members?

The General Budget detailed overview was not included in the GA presentation, but it is being presented below in response to this request from members:

2016-2017 general budget

After these discussions were concluded, Andy proceeded to inform members of the Audit Committee’s evaluation of the HUTAC 2016-2017 financial statement: “The balance sheet presented for HUTAC’s fiscal year 2016-2017 gives a true and fair view of the financial position of the association as of 31 August 2017.

Andy also clarified that the above statement was given by Robin Jiayuan Li, HUTAC Audit Committee member, on the condition that an official statement of the HUTAC savings account be provided to him by Kollol within one week of the GA. Due to Kollol’s travel schedule during the week leading up to the event, this statement was not readily available to the Audit Committee. The Board would like to clarify that the account statement in question was provided to the Audit Committee on 20 December 2017.

At this point, Catalina invited all present HUTAC members to vote on whether, to the best of their knowledge and based on the information presented, the HUTAC 2016-2017 financial statement was accurate.

The voting proceeded as follows:

  • 6 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • 2 present and eligible members Abstained

Andy Golkhandan, having been involved in the preparation of the year’s financial statement with help from Kollol Aguan, followed HUTAC tradition and abstained from the vote.

One additional member, Arsham Farzinnia, given the reservations he had regarding the points brought up earlier in the discussions, abstained as well.

Therefore, the 2016-2017 financial statement was officially approved.

4. Discharge of the 2016-2017 HUTAC Board

Catalina Iorga, President of the 2016-2017 Board, invited all HUTAC members in attendance to formally discharge the 2016-2017 Board.

Board members who were present at the event were:

  • Catalina Iorga (President)
  • Laura Tufis (Marketing Strategist)

Board members not in attendance at the GA were:

  • Melinda Vigh (Secretary)
  • Kollol Aguan (Treasurer)
  • Qing Wang (Events Coordinator)

The voting proceeded as follows:

  • 6 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • 2 present and eligible members Abstained

The two present members up for the vote formally abstained from participation in this phase of the GA.

Hence, the 2016-2017 HUTAC Board was officially discharged.

5. Re-election of HUTAC Advisory Board and Audit Committee members

Catalina, continuing in her capacity as the presiding officer at the GA, then asked the members to vote to re-elect Advisory Board member Thierry Verheije – in attendance – and Audit Committee member Robin Jiayuan Li – not in attendance – to another two-year term at their current positions.

The vote to reappoint Thierry proceeded as follows:

  • 7 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • 1 present and eligible member Abstained

Thierry formally abstained from this vote.

The voting to reappoint Robin proceeded as follows:

  • 7 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • 1 present and eligible member Abstained

Arsham, citing his requirement for further review of the details of 2016-2017 General Spending and awaiting clarification regarding Event 3 revenues, abstained from voting for the Audit Committee.

Therefore, the memberships of Thierry in the Advisory Board 2017-2019 and Robin in the Audit Committee 2017-2019 were officially approved.

6. HUTAC 2017-2018 Vision for a Future-Proof Organization and GA Approval

Following the re-election of Advisory Board and Audit Committee members, Catalina outlined the two important motions planned for debate at GA 2017. These proposals imply structural changes to the way the association has operated since 2009 and require approval from members at the GA in order to move forward.

In particular, the leadership’s vision to ensure a thriving HUTAC community and grow the organization beyond the confines of its founding doctrine which revolve exclusively around the Huygens Scholarship Programme (HSP) involves the four-point proposal below as the first step:

1. Expanding the member base

  • HUTAC Members shall be defined as:
    • Current (and future) HSP recipient members, or
    • Other Nuffic scholarship recipients with a global mindset, aged between 25 and 35 years old and willing to join the HUTAC community – i.e. memberships shall be considered on request
  • HUTAC Friends are defined as all other ambitious young professionals willing to join HUTAC, including current non-HSP recipient members if they do not satisfy the HUTAC Member criteria described above

2. Executive Board membership

  • Statutory positions shall only be open to Members
  • Non-statutory positions shall be open to both Members and Friends

3. Advisory Board membership

  • Statutory positions shall only be open to Members
  • Non-statutory positions shall be open to both Members and Friends

4. Criteria for selection of HUTAC Friends as Board members:

  • Ambitious young professional, fitting in with the existing HUTAC member base
  • Recommended by a HUTAC Board member
  • Has actively promoted HUTAC in the past
  • Has had experience in event organization
  • Has a valuable network

Following conclusion of discussions on the implications of these proposed changes, the two main questions on the table were voted on as detailed below.


HUTAC Members are HSP recipients as well as recipients of other Nuffic-sponsored scholarships.

  • 8 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • No present and eligible member Abstained


HUTAC Friends are eligible to participate in non-statutory Executive Board and Advisory Board membership if they satisfy the criteria mentioned above.

  • 7 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • 1 present and eligible member Abstained

Arsham abstained from this vote. He justified his abstention based on the fact that he approved of the measure if temporarily enacted, namely for a period of one year, until sufficient data became available to assess the harm and/or benefits of such a decision.

In addition to the above, given the disagreements faced earlier during the Interim Q&A period regarding event participation fees, the General Assembly collectively decided to hold impromptu votes on the following three questions as well in order to give future Board members a sense of direction on this topic.

The voting in this phase of the GA was not held based on established procedure but rather an informative show of collective opinion by the HUTAC members in attendance. The questions were:


HUTAC Members who received the HSP shall pay no event participation fees.

  • 5 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • 2 present and eligible members voted Against
  • 1 present and eligible member Abstained


HUTAC Members who did not receive the HSP shall pay reduced event participation fees; these discount rates shall be determined by the Board at a later date.

  • 8 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • No present and eligible member Abstained


HUTAC Friends shall pay full event participation fees.

  • 8 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • No present and eligible member Abstained

In addition to the above topics, Arsham proposed opening up the community to like-minded associations outside of the Nuffic circle such as Fullbright and Ivy Circle. This point, along with an earlier proposal to form a members committee to advise on partnership opportunities were acknowledged and marked as future action items.

7. HUTAC 2017-2018 Plan, Budget and Board Elections

Following the positive results of the voting during the last phase of the General Assembly, Catalina announced the 2016-2017 HUTAC Board candidates as follows:

  • Catalina Iorga (HSP recipient / HUTAC Member) – President
  • Laura Tufis (HSP recipient / HUTAC Member) – Secretary & Marketing Strategist
  • Kollol Aguan (HSP recipient / HUTAC Member) – Treasurer
  • Jorritt Ursem (Non-HSP recipient / HUTAC Friend) – Events Manager
  • Jade-Jolene Verheije (Non-HSP recipient / HUTAC Friend) – Partnerships Manager

Catalina, Laura, and Thierry introduced the three Board candidates not in attendance, namely Kollol, Jorritt and Jade-Jolene. They explained that these candidates were unfortunately unable to be present at the event due to travel, personal or health reasons.

Catalina then presented the vision of the 2017-2018 HUTAC Board as well as various growth strategies which the new Board plans to explore in the coming fiscal year.

The 2017-2018 theme is 360o Health. Catalina underlined the plans of the new Board to continue the HUTAC tradition of organizing inspirational presentations and workshops, this year with specific focus on the following topics:

1. Healthy People

  • Burnout prevention
  • Better sleep
  • Yoga and mindfulness

2. Healthy Organizations

  • Teams
  • Leadership
  • Purpose

3. Healthy Societies

  • Smart(er) cities
  • Closed waste loops
  • Inclusion and integration

The 2017-2018 Board will strengthen existing partnerships with the following organizations and attempt to enter into new partnerships for the benefit of the HUTAC community:

1. Nuffic

  • Membership expansion
  • Endorsements / potential future funding

2. Holland Alumni Network NL

  • Membership expansion
  • Content

3. Impact Hub Amsterdam / KIT – Royal Tropical Institute

  • Cost-effective and inspiring venue
  • Content / speakers

4. Time Space/ Social Impact Factory

  • Cost-effective venue
  • Membership expansion

Last but not least, the 2017-2018 Board shall pursue the following key projects thanks to numerous strategy meetings in 2017 and a clear sense of direction resulting from open debate at the GA:

1. Strategic Partnerships

  • Nuffic partnership is a win-win
  • Tap into Nuffic-sponsored and other partner ecosystems

2. Membership Expansion

  • Leverage existing partnerships
  • Step up online promotions

3. Membership Reactivation

  • Database clean-up (hire freelancer)
  • More concerted effort at online engagement

4. Legal Advice (hire freelancer)

  • GDPR
  • Statutes and bylaws

Catalina then proceeded to present the estimated budget for 2017-2018, summarized in the pie chart and tables below. This budget covers two events in 2017 including the GA, four events in 2018 including the HUTAC Annual Conference 2018, and of course, a General Budget to fund the needs of the Board to enact envisioned expansion, marketing and partnership strategies in the year:

2017-2018 budget

Once the budget was presented and all questions answered, Catalina ask the General Assembly for their approval of the 2017-2018 budget.

The voting proceeded as follows:

  • 5 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • 3 present and eligible members Abstained

The two candidates for the 2017-2018 HUTAC Board who were present at the GA did not participate in this phase of the voting. Member Arsham Farzinnia abstained from voting as well.

Following the approval of the new year’s budget, Catalina asked all present HUTAC members to consider voting the 2017-2018 HUTAC Board candidates into office.

The voting proceeded as follows:

  • 6 present and eligible members voted In Favor
  • No present and eligible member voted Against
  • 2 present and eligible members Abstained

Similar to the previous vote, the two present 2017-2018 Board candidates not participate in this phase of the GA.

Thus, all new Board candidates were approved by the HUTACers in attendance at the GA and officially became the 2017-2018 HUTAC Board.

8. Q&A and Closing

There were no further questions and all outstanding business was addressed at the GA. Thus, the HUTAC General Assembly 2017 successfully came to a close at 17:45, 16 December 2017.