Eye on the End Row
By Julie Deering, AAEA President
AAEA: The Agricultural Communicators Network
Oct. 12, 2017
As farmers are hard at work, putting in long hours to bring in this year’s harvest and prepare for the winter months ahead, so too are our members.
For many of us, the fall months mean non-stop harvest coverage, preparing for trade shows, meetings and, in many cases, increasing publication and production schedules. Despite the increasing demands on our time, the staff at ASG and our association volunteers have their eyes on the end row and are making headway in executing the plans set forth by our strategic plan, which was set into motion in 2016 under the leadership of Elaine Shein and Mike Wilson.
As a follow-up to the membership discussion that took place at the 2017 annual business meeting in Snowbird, Utah, a special taskforce met to review and discuss the current categories and classifications. The recommendations of that taskforce are being vetted by the broader Membership Committee, which will then be brought forward to the board during its November meeting in Montgomery, Alabama.
If you missed the annual business meeting, you can listen to the discussion at http://agcommnetwork.com/acn-podcast-affiliate-conversation/. As always, we’re interested in hearing your feedback and input. If there’s anything you would like to add to the discussion, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another area of critical importance is sponsorship. We continue to be in a period of transition as Samantha Kilgore, our executive director, and the team at ASG make contact with our trusted and loyal sponsors and potential new sponsors. Additionally, long-time Sponsorship Committee co-chairs Lyle Orwig and Karen McMahon are looking to step out of the driver’s seat. Jessie Scott has graciously agreed to focus her efforts here. In this transition, the Sponsorship Committee has been evaluating its sponsorship offering and looks to increase sponsor engagement and ROI through new and unique offerings. As I understand it, this means getting creative and being flexible to create customized packages.
Additionally, we’re in the process of rolling out the special interest groups (SIGs), which are designed to serve as a home place or community where members can come together around issues specific to their roles and responsibilities. As we look to grow membership, these SIGs play an important role in ensuring members feel a sense of community.
What each SIG offers will be driven by the SIG chair and its members. Some will serve more as a forum for discussion; others will offer tips for professional development and share resources; and others might develop guidelines or best practices. They are really designed to be member-driven, so don’t hesitate to share your ideas and what you want from your SIG with the chairs and co-chairs. To-date, the wheels are in motion for the following SIGs: Young Professionals (co-chaired by Sara Hill and Rachel Lium), Freelancers (co-chaired by Christy Couch Lee and Maggie Malson), Photographers (chaired by Ryan Ebert). The next two to rollout will be the Editors SIG and the Association Communicators SIG.
Last, but not least, we are creating a membership recruitment campaign, encouraging each and every AAEA member to bring in new members. This is your organization, and I want you to take a part in helping it grow and achieve its strategic goals. Look for more information here in the coming months.
I’ve just skimmed the surface and touched upon a few of the moving pieces. Rest assured your leadership is hard at work. We’re working to not only maintain the importance of this organization, but also to strengthen its reach and value.