April 2013: Letter from the president

Better Kat picBy Katherine Ann Rowlands, JAWS president

The spring is an exciting time for the Board of Directors of JAWS because we gather for our annual retreat – this year in my hometown of Berkeley, Calif. – to take stock of where the organization is and strategize about where we want to go. Given the growth of our membership (and thanks to all of you who sent in your renewals), our fundraising and our programming, we are poised to build on those successes. Last year we updated our five-year Strategic Plan so this year we aim to create an action plan to meet those goals. As we move along that path, we will be looking to you for help in suggesting partnerships, reaching out to new members, and volunteering to help with regional events, our upcoming CAMP in Vermont and even serving on the board. Please email me your ideas and interest.

Some new ideas are sure to emerge from the conversation, but here are some things already in the works to look forward to in the months ahead:

•    More social media interaction as we bring on board a new manager to help with the listserv and create some JAWS buzz on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Please welcome Ankita Rao and read more about her below.

•    A new listserv using Google Groups to better organize your inbox while still maintaining this wonderful way of connecting about everything from job leads, to personal triumphs, to Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” book. To make this easy for everyone, JAWS board member Sandra Fish is preparing an instruction video that will show you how to use all the new and improved features. This will roll out in May.

•    A new look for our website, being redesigned by Green Bee Web Consulting with the amazing vision and hard work of president-elect Lauren Whaley and her Web team. Look for this by June, when we hope to highlight videos, links, photos, news and more for our members and supporters.

•    An annual report with highlights of 2012, to be used to better inform our members and also educate new funders about the valuable work we are doing to empower women in their careers.

•    A membership directory, which is being updated thanks to all of you who sent in your renewal fees and information about your new addresses, contact information and jobs. This will be mailed by summer.

•    Revised bylaws, to be presented for membership approval at CAMP in October, which will make board terms more flexible and help us capture our institutional knowledge for a stronger leadership team.

•    And, of course, a fabulous CAMP with keynote speaker Jill Abramson, panels on leadership, data crunching, feminism, multimedia storytelling, funding your dream journalism project, health care coverage, food reporting and much more.

I’m looking forward to giving you the next update. Enjoy the spring!