April 30, 2016
This is a message from your CWA President, Marci Kladnik.
So many exciting things have been happening in CWA, seemingly all at once.
The judges' reports for the Communication Contest scores are in and the list of Certificate of Excellence winners (aka Muse contenders) will be announced soon by our Contest Chair, Arden Moore. Judging from the pile of entries that I read, it was another stellar year (18 months, actually) of fantastic work and you should all be proud.
Slate of Nominated Officers
My sincere thanks to Janiss Garza and her Nominating Committee for finding outstanding members to fill the emptying Council of Directors seats that will be coming up for election in June. I was thrilled to see the names, and I hope you were as well. Without volunteers, CWA would not be able to function. It is gratifying to see newer members stepping up as well as some established leaders staying on the job.
That said, I hope you noticed that our Treasurer, Lynn Miller, would like to step down. If you are good at keeping books and would consider taking this job on, feel free to contact her directly to ask about the duties. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Lynn, for hanging in there while we search for a replacement!
Amy Shojai is Stepping Down
Founding CWA member, Amy Shojai, is stepping down in June from her permanent seat on Council (as established in the original Bylaws). Amy has been the heart and soul of CWA for 24 years, serving as our first President and holding several other positions over the years. After countless hours of volunteering, she is looking forward to retirement (which actually means putting in more hours at the computer writing her awesome books). Amy is also retiring from the Conference Chair position, so I will be looking for a replacement soon. She is by no means leaving us and will always be available for consultations and advice.
A HUGE thank you for all the years of dedication, and my sincere personal thanks for your support as I accepted the reins of leadership at a very difficult time.
Only three members sent in comments regarding the proposed Bylaws amendments. Here they are and my answers…
1. The only thing I think needs to be corrected/verified is reference to "the newsletter." It isn't clear what this means. Since the demise of MEOW, we seem to have irregular bulletins sent out by you [Wendy] or Marci, with important news, changes, reminders, etc. These are most welcome. But there's no place for articles of interest, member news, etc. The blog doesn't seem to be working that well (an article I sent for the blog last fall has yet to appear), and member news on the CWA Facebook page is fleeting, so if you don't check regularly, you miss these items.
Response: Meow (the newsletter) is still very much alive and well. At the beginning of 2015 it was reformatted into the Digital Mews for a variety of reasons, principally for ease of getting news out faster and in a timely manner. Every Digital Mews begins with a large masthead stating “Meow, Newsletter of the Cat Writers’ Association.”
In regards to member news and articles, members have been instructed to send all such things to Layla Morgan Wilde to post on the blog. If this is indeed “not working,” it may be due for some tweaking and we will work on that this year. As with any big change, there are often minor adjustments required after the dust has settled.
2. I find all of this fine apart from one small item. It's something I've mentioned several times over the years and I still think it a good idea. That is, that we be renamed the INTERNATIONAL Cat Writers association. This reflects our wide membership, has gravitas, and lets would-be members know in the name, that we accept writers from all countries - something not always realized.
Response: Per Amy, "501 (c)(6) nonprofit status in the one name, and re-filing in the new. I don't know what the time or $$ would entail. I'm also not sure how many more "international" members a name change would entail since we do require material samples for applicants (and contest entries) to be published in English.
When the organization was created, we very specifically did NOT create "Cat Writers Association of America" (to mirror Dog Writers Association of America) and left that country designation off.”
My own feelings are that it would be too costly in both time and money. The website can certainly be updated to make it clear to anyone dropping in.
3. ... I think somehow you need to make clear to the membership that the new bylaws, especially regarding the nominations process, will NOT be followed until all the amendments are approved, presumably at the June 2016 CWA conference. Also, I'm concerned about the new provision in Article 2 membership: "In order to retain Professional Membership status, members are encouraged to provide one (1) submission to the Newsletter within a two-year period on some aspect of the communication craft.”
This member continued on with suggestions to update the Council member duties to include:
"4.4. In that regard, Council members will chair committees, serve on committees and coordinate special projects as needed.
4.5 Council members should also serve on committees when requested to do so by the president."
Response: To be sure, the proposed amendments to the Bylaws are just that, and will not go into effect until voted on in June at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix. The second part about the Article 2 membership criteria, this is how the current Bylaws read and not a new proposal. I questioned it myself, but let the words stand as an encouragement rather than a requirement for members to contribute to CWA. In regards to updating the Council duties, each nominee is told before they accept the position of their expected duties but I agree that it is a good idea to state them in the Bylaws and will add the above as follows…
"4.4. Duties: The Council shall be responsible for the control and management of the affairs, property, and interests of the Association; and for keeping the general public informed of the activities of the Association. The Council shall accept committee chair positions as assigned by the President and serve on committees as needed."
So there you have it. This year’s elections will welcome some new blood into our great organization and I look forward to seeing many of you at the conference to vote them in!
Purrs from your Prez, Marci