December 2013: Happy almost New Year

President's Letters, Recent News l

Whaleyd0e0abDear JAWS members:

As I look to the year ahead and all the exciting upcoming programs and life events, I have to pause. I have to remind myself that there are a few days left in this year and lots to do before the clock strikes midnight.

Tucked in among our power cords and notebooks, my husband and I have piles of baby clothes to wash, baskets of papers to file and stacks of presents to send. We’re getting ready to welcome our first child into the world. After all these months, I still cannot believe he or she is almost here!

With many work projects under my belt, a recent apartment move and a nearly complete pregnancy, I have had quite the year personally.

Even so, my JAWS work has been some of the most gratifying.

In my role as communications chair and now as president, I feel honored to be contributing to such an important and vibrant organization. I want to remind everyone of our numerous accomplishments from 2013. And, again, we still have a few days to meet our goals!

We need these days to finish our year-end push and complete the fundraising plan that will help us meet 2013 budget goals and look toward 2014, a year that promises new programs, trainings, mentoring and the continued camaraderie we all crave and love from our JAWS sisters.

In 2013, we …

  • Topped more than 200 attendees and inspiring speakers — such as Vermont’s first female governor, Madeleine Kunin, and The New York Times executive editor, Jill Abramson — at our Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) in Burlington, Vt., which was a major hit with our members.
  • Sent 10 amazing fellows to the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) with generous donations via our online crowd-funding campaign (GoFundMe).
  • Provided more than $9,000 in complimentary and discounted registrations for fellows and many top speakers at CAMP, thanks to our corporate and university sponsors, the successful online and onsite auction, and your contributions. You may have noticed we also raised CAMP registration fees to $345 to reflect our actual CAMP costs. This is not a money-making event for JAWS. With most meals covered, our rates are still more reasonable than most other journalism conferences, and that is a testament to our amazing volunteers on the board and among our members.
  • Took our annual auction digital, allowing those who couldn’t attend CAMP the opportunity to participate in our first-ever online auction (Bidding for Good).
  • Moved our listserv to a Google Group; it is robust, lively, and growing by the day.
  • Launched a brand new website.
  • Created a new membership management platform (YourMembership.com), a members-only online portal and mentorship matching system, which we’re launching in early 2014.
  • Expanded our mobile-friendly, monthly e-newsletter.
  • Brought on board a part-time social media manager.
  • Brought on board a part-time website manager.
  • Formalized and increased regional programming, especially in bigger metro areas, such as D.C., New York, the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
  • Saw our membership increase significantly to 650, compared with 575 in 2012, 308 in 2011 and 241 in 2010. Thank you for reaching out to women who need to be part of JAWS!

If we raise $20,000 by Dec. 31, we will be on target to balance our budget for 2013, which is $203,000 — the largest ever in JAWS history. Please consider donating to help us continue to bring you great programming, events and connections. Any amount helps!

I am proud to say that JAWS is fulfilling our mission by acting as a helpful resource for women in the journalism industry. In 2014, expect to see a more formalized mentoring program, more regional training programs and a continuation of our robust digital presence. I have also appointed immediate past president Katherine Rowlands to serve as the new JAWS ambassador to ensure that we’re reaching out to the women and sponsors who need to know about JAWS. And, new this year, I have established a diversity committee, to actively ensure that our organization remains inclusive across all races, ethnicities, regions, ages, orientation and media types. Our new board of directors is looking toward the future with lots of hope and energy about JAWS and our mission. And so am I.

Let’s finish 2013 strong, clean up the piles, organize the files. And get ready for an incredible new year!

All my best,

Lauren