November 2014: Building on core strengths

This year at the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) at the La Quinta Resort and Club near Palm Springs, California, our amazing fellows asked for a few moments on the program because they had something to say. They stood up and, one by one, shared how they had become hooked on JAWS, how they had found it a safe place, a place of support, rejuvenating and inspiring and so much more.

They summed up eloquently and with emotion everything I might have said in my opening remarks after immediate past president Lauren Whaley placed the stylish shark tiara on my head. The fellows, like the excellent journalists they are, zoomed in on the heart of what JAWS is about.

My goal as your new president is to build on those core strengths, the same ones the fellows cited. For JAWS to pursue its mission, we need a more diverse membership, we need an actively engaged membership and we need a membership committed to supporting women at all stages of their journalism careers. That’s why we are building a Diversity Committee, why we are expanding regional programming and why we are making mentoring available at any time during the year.

We don’t have avatars running this nonprofit association. Whatever JAWS does or doesn’t do depends on you. As I said at CAMP, I’m all ears. Tell me what you want from JAWS and how you can help make that happen. I hope this quick take will help keep everyone in the know, even in the limited time so many of us have.