December 2012: Letter from the president

Better Kat picBy Katherine Ann Rowlands

While celebrating the holidays and enjoying time with family and friends, December is also a time to take stock of the past year.

It has been a challenging one professionally given the intense pace of change in journalism and the stress on our capacity to cover news in new ways with limited resources. It has been a gratifying one personally as I watch my children grow to be young adults and my friendships both old and new expand. It has been a worrying one as I accompanied my mother through breast cancer surgery and my sister through the decline and passing of her lifelong partner. And it has been a consistently rewarding one through my leadership as President of Journalism & Women Symposium.

I want to give special thanks to my wonderful circle of JAWS supporters for carrying me through all of this with inspiration, humor and love and I can’t help but brag a little about how our organization is thriving.

— We had record attendance (and revenue) at CAMP this year with 228 women attending CAMP (compared with 130 in 2011 and 108 in 2010); that’s a 75 percent increase in one year. Thank you Campers who “Rounded Up” registration fees to help cover the true cost of putting on our Conference and Mentoring Project.

— Our paid membership has increased significantly to 575, compared with 308 in 2011 and 241 in 2010; that’s more than 85 percent growth in one year. Thank you for organizing those regional networking mixers and reaching out to women you know who should be part of JAWS.

— Our membership revenue has increased to $30,000 this year, compared with $17,000 in 2011 and $14,000 in 2010; that’s 76 percent growth in one year. Thank you board members for making those calls and thank you members for sending and renewing your dues.

— Our estimated operating budget has increased to $136,000 for 2012 (actual spending and revenue will be closer to $165,000 at year-end because of increased revenue and expenses tied to our big CAMP), compared with $133,000 in 2011 and $106,000 in 2010; that’s 24 percent growth in one year. Thank you for spreading the word and bringing your friends and colleagues to CAMP. Invite them again to CAMP 2013 in Vermont, Oct. 25 – 27.

— We are under budget in every category so far this year with the exception of CAMP (due to our record attendance and increased costs to accommodate them at the conference) and leadership development; we are on track to have a surplus of at least $12,000 at the end of this year. Thank you for volunteering and making JAWS the strong and sustainable organization it has been for nearly 30 years. Other organizations, consulting groups and foundations are amazed that JAWS can do what it does. We are fueled by volunteers and stronger because of your commitment to our mission.

— Our fundraising has been strong with about $40,000 in contributions this year, compared with $30,000 in 2011 and $25,000 in 2010; that’s 33 percent growth in one year and we expect another increase at the end of December as people make year-end charitable donations. Thanks to all of you who have given a tax-deductible contribution. It’s not too late to think of JAWS by donating at or by sending back that pink card with a check to help us reach our year-end goal.

What a wonderful list of accomplishments. I am proud to stand with all of you who have made a difference for JAWS this year and look forward to another rewarding year of growth.

Happy New Year!