June 1, 2015
Dear CWA Members,
This is Amy Shojai, your CWA Conference/Events Chair (~~waving)...
I am fresh off the plane, and still riding the excitement of a wonderful CWA partnership with the BlogPaws 2015 Conference. Many folks will share more details--Layla says to watch for a CWA blog post soon, with lots of pictures.
Our CWA Writers' Track Panels were a huge hit! YEEE-HAW! But CWA expertise was everywhere this year...
Both Thursday sessions were filled with very engaged audience members, eager to learn more about publishing, good writing, journalistic integrity and more. Publisher/author Bob Mayer, and authors Lisa Erspamer, Pam Johnson-Bennett and myself presented on the first panel, followed by a panel with CWA members Layla Morgan Wilde, Deb Barnes, Janiss Garza and Alana Greylak. The audience members kept us with questions long after we were scheduled to stop, and then dozens (yes, I said DOZENS) of aspiring CWA members made their way to the CWA Booth to find out more about our organization.
That evening, longtime member and CWA booster Steve Dale spoke at the opening ceremonies about one of our favorite causes, Winn Feline Foundation. He not only gave a lovely shout-out to CWA and Lorie Huston, he presented the Winn Media Appreciation Award to former CWA President and Treasurer Fran Pennock Shaw. Mee-Wow! (A highlight for me later that weekend was having lunch with Steve and catching up...it's been too long and I don't plan to let that happen again.)
Another CWA member, Sandy Robins, made CWA look fantastic as she spoke on a Keynote Panel on Saturday morning with Harrison Forbes and Laura Nativo about being a celebrity spokesperson.
Wendy Christensen sent 100 copies of her beautifully designed booklet with details about the organization--I came home with only about 20 copies left. Fran Shaw had arranged for CWA members to host the booth. Our members not only provided great PR for CWA, but they also signed/sold a bunch of their own books.
Lea-Ann Germinder had her team design and create two fantastic free-standing CWA logo banners for the booth that we'll use in the future at other events. We also placed in the attendees' "swag bags" CWA "discount" postcards, each good for one qualifying CWA contest entry. We're hoping to encourage more nonmember cat writers to join our furry throng.
CWA's booth was one of about 50 in the exhibit hall, where attendees got to meet all kinds of pet products companies catering to dogs, cats, birds, hamsters -- you-name-it. Another whole section (about 25% or so) was dedicated to Kate Benjamin's "Cat Style Lounge" showcasing cat-tastic feline products.
The Nose-to-Nose awards this year included 7 CWA member nominees
, and 3 CWA members took home awards! What a testament to the quality of our members' work, right? It also makes CWA look good for those aspiring to make this their chosen career, and also to potential sponsors and other pet professionals. I am so very proud!
All the speakers sessions
were great, and I learned a lot. The sponsors
outdid themselves--and did you notice the CWA logo on that page? Yep, we're listed as a sponsor and got lots of PR from BlogPaws. I can't say enough good things about Yvonne Divita, Tom Collins, Chloe Divita and their team of tireless folks running thither and yon: Carol Bryant, Felissia Elfenbein, Robbi Hess and I don't know how many others (please forgive me if I accidentally left out your name!).
Frankly, I had a blast. I also lost my voice (some would say that's a good thing, LOL!). There were so many dogs there, wow, but also more cats and cat-centric folks than have ever attended before. I met one blogger who came from Australia and said the deciding factor to attend was CWA's presence. That's humbling. And exciting.
Stay tuned for potential new-and-exciting "extra" CWA events coming soon!
Prez Marci here, (purring loudly)
BlogPaws 2015 was FANTASTIC, not a hiss to be said about it! I, too, am so very proud of our Nose-to-Nose nominees and winners. Whoot, whoot!!
We had such a positive experience leading up to this event. Council had authorized our attending Council members to meet with the BlogPaws team, if possible. Quite honestly, we wanted to make some concrete plans for potential future partnerships. But decisions take time, particularly when BlogPaws is still getting acquainted with their new owner, PetSmart.
CWA still needs to make plans so that our members and sponsors (current and potential) know better what to expect. After our discussion with Yvonne and Chloe (speaking for BlogPaws), we proposed a creative option that would benefit both organizations, without tying either party's paws, leaving the door open for future "what if" possibilities in the coming months. Amy Shojai made the following proposal, which we discussed and then voted on. Here's the gist:
Amy: "I propose that the 2016 CWA Contest Awards Banquet be held concurrent with, but independent of, the 2016 BlogPaws Conference
on Friday, June 24, 2016."
Discussion: This means that CWA will contract independently with the host hotel for the banquet event, with the blessing of BlogPaws. CWA is responsible for our own sponsors and funding, will collect our own (tbd) registration fees for the banquet, and will pay the hotel for the banquet. This is how we've handled previous awards banquets held in conjunction with BarkWorld, CFA, et al, and will allow CWA autonomy to negotiate and early-announce, while freeing BlogPaws from any extra burden.
Council Members Amy Shojai, Layla Morgan Wilde, Deb Barnes and Dusty Rainbolt voted "aye." My vote as President is needed only in cases of a tie, which I affirm will also be an affirmative vote. Upon emailing this discussion to the remaining Council members, thus far BJ Bangs and Linda Miles both added their affirmation, ratifying the passage of this proposal.
So, mark your calendars for the CWA Awards Banquet June 24, 2016, in Chandler (outside Phoenix), AZ. It will be held at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, a Sheraton property. The BlogPaws folks have negotiated the room rates, etc., which should be posted soon. BlogPaws has already listed their "early bird" registrations.
BlogPaws traditionally has a "free night" on Friday, so our banquet will not conflict with their events, and may even entice some of their attendees to take a look at us. This also means that CWA members will have the opportunity to double their pleasure and also attend BlogPaws programming at the same time. CWA expects to receive similar support and benefits leading up to and including the 2016 event that we enjoyed this past week, and happily return the favor to BlogPaws.
More details will come soon. This information is absolutely still steaming, it's so fresh off the press! We don't have details on cost of the banquet etc just yet--but we will soon. Thanks for your patience -- and I hope you're as excited as we are!
Purrs from your Prez Marci