Sixteen Bits Online

JULY 1996

Know Your Committee

by Jim Hume

An Interview with our President

Few people would have been brave enough to take over the reins from Karl Auer after seeing the immense amount of work involved, but with some trepidation Ann Byrne did.

I interviewed Ann on a Saturday morning after she had already spent some time on PCUG business and asked her how she had coped with the task as President. Ann said “Karl’s were big shoes to fill, but it was his valuable support and that of the various Committee members that made the task possible”.

Ann migrated from the Industrial City of Leicester on New Years Eve 1969 with her eldest daughter, Karen, then 21 months old, to join her Father and sister already in Canberra, under the then £10 migrant assisted passage scheme. She left with no regrets.

Her first job in Canberra was at the old and long demolished Civic Hotel.

In 1986 after the trauma of divorce Ann decided that she needed new skills to obtain a stable job and went back to school and did a computing/office skills course full time.

Around this time her daughters started badgering her for a computer to help with their homework and this resulted in the purchase of a Commodore 128. Needless to say the computer was rarely used for homework and Ann also became enamoured by the adventure game (text only at that time).

Having graduated with new skills in 1989 Ann then struggled to face the reality that qualifications alone were not enough to gain employment. Experience was also a requisite. Then she seized the opportunity offered her by a physio to do her accounts once a month to gain experience and this led in time to part time reception work, followed ultimately by full time employment with the Physiotherapy Association of the ACT, ending up as their Office Manager.

Ann joined the PCUG in 1991 and was quickly persuaded to join the Committee because of her experience as Assistant Treasurer of the Commodore Group with about 60 members.

Ann soon found that most of the work involved with the Group had little to do with computers. “Karl was President when I joined the committee and over the next two years I was most impressed by his leadership and conciliatory talents. He was a man with big dreams for the group and the energy to carry them out.”

“When the move to our premises was first brought up there was a fair amount of doom and gloom predictions about how no-one would go to Fyshwick. Karl called for volunteers to staff the centre at weekends and organised rosters etc. Needless to say this has proved to be a positive move indeed for the group”.

Ann then took over as advertising manager for two years, and in 1994 Karl approached Ann to stand for Vice President, and take over the job of centre staffing which left him free to introduce the Internet project.

In February 1995 The Internet Project came on line and Karl gave notice that he would give up the presidency in May. The task of Acting President fell to Ann and as a result of subtle and not so subtle lobbying, Ann nominated and was elected President at the 1995 Annual General Meeting.

Like two-thirds of the membership Ann is hooked on the Internet and also became hooked on IRC leading to her convincing a Yankee IRC buff to journey here.

As Ann’s first year as President comes close to an end, she is deserving of the thanks of all members for the cheerful, unassuming, and positive manner in which she has tackled the challenges facing the Group.

Back to July 1996 Index