2019 End of Year Message from JAWS President Mira Lowe

By Mira Lowe

Dearest JAWS members,

As 2019 moves into the rearview mirror, I’d like to bring you up to date — on what we’ve accomplished, and maybe more important, what’s ahead. What’s ahead includes more communication (demanding journalists need information, and more is coming!) and a call for your participation on committees, task forces and advisory boards. But before I tell you all that, let’s celebrate some of what we accomplished this year, together, even while facing some challenges.

In 2019, JAWS:

  • Hired our amazing interim executive director Eloiza Altoro and our diversity, equity and inclusion consultant Alicia T. Crosby. Eloiza’s worked with many organizations, including Chicas Poderosas, an international journalism organization for Latin American women, and UNITY: Journalists for Diversity. Please ask anyone on the board or staff about these two stellar professionals — we’re in very good hands.
  • Overhauled our financial systems and technology platforms. With Eloiza at the helm, we’ve been updating policies and procedures and finding more cost-effective tools. We’ll soon be getting better returns on our investments and getting more from our technology. Watch this space for a clear financial snapshot, a budget, an annual report, and regular updates.
  • Held a transformative CAMP in Williamsburg, Va. that included high-flying keynoters, deeply engaged sessions, three stellar fellows, and the lively conversations, challenging presentations, and friendship and exchange that is JAWS at our best. This CAMP truly showcased our commitment to JAWS’ mission of supporting women in journalism and working toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.  
    • Bonus: USA Today Network signed on as a new conference partner, sponsoring a popular session.
  • With a $40K grant from the Democracy Fund, held nine Diversity Dialogues (listening and training sessions) at regional gatherings in D.C., N.Y. Detroit and Boston, as well as online for the general membership and affinity groups within JAWS. Alicia facilitated, and will be delivering report and recommendations soon — which of course we will share.
  • Held a Giving Tuesday campaign that exceeded our goal, raising over $6,500 in November. We are so grateful for our generous members, supporters and funders who gave time, talent and treasure to JAWS this year. We’ll be reaching out to lapsed members to renew soon — we want everyone to come home.

A couple of things remain on our 2019 to-do list. We are working diligently with SPJ, which handles our bookkeeping, on reconciling our 2019 financials (feel free to send love and chocolate to our hardworking treasurer Deborah Douglas!). The goal is to have our books completed by the end of the month so that we can begin 2020 budgeting and strategic planning. We will update you on the progress.

But wait — there’s so much more ahead in 2020.

  • On Jan. 22, 7-8:30 p.m. ET, we start with a personal finance webinar, Let’s Talk Money, by JAWS member and former fellow Claritza Jiménez. Watch for signup information soon.
  • We have an ambitious plan to host three regional women’s leadership summits in the East, West and Midwest. We also have identified at least one new partner that will offer training to our members at a discount rate. We are still working out the details. More to come about this exciting opportunity.
  • Stronger communication, including:
    • Regular progress reports and updates on what’s happening in the organization, including financial reporting.
    • Regular calls with the president, executive director, and board members. Ask us what you want to know!
    • Reevaluating our communications platforms so members can more easily collaborate and connect with ideas, job opportunities, dilemmas, and news.
  • More investment in our regional groups.
    • This will be a major initiative! Regional captains, expect more regular contact. We’ll be reaching out to understand your plans — and how we can support you.
  • A new fundraising plan. We’ve set aside a small amount of money to engage a fundraising consultant. We’re now soliciting proposals from professionals who’ve helped craft campaigns and have experience with the journalism funding world.
  • A call for volunteers. 
    • JAWS is and always has been member-driven. The board and staff have been working to structure committees and task forces that will put your skills and ideas to good use — whether that’s evaluating programming, offering training, further polishing the code of conduct, building partnerships with other journalism groups, and more. We can’t accomplish it all until you sign on. Please look for this in the new year — and build the JAWS future we all want.

    Thank you for all you do for JAWS and for one another. I wish you the best of holidays and a lovely new year.

    – Mira