From the Co-Presidents: December 2015

Suzie Rodriguez and Laurie McAndish King

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BATW Volunteer Party - 2015; photo John Williamson
BATW Volunteer Party – 2015; photo John Williamson

From BATW’s Co-Presidents:
As we look back over the past year, one word comes to mind: Collaboration. We’re thinking not only of our shared presidency, but also of the collaborative teamwork undertaken by so many of you throughout the year. We simply couldn’t have accomplished so much without your help.
From its inception decades ago, BATW has continued to grow and thrive — becoming the nation’s largest regional organization of professional travel writers, photographers, broadcasters and industry professionals — because members pitch in and work in concert. It’s this teamwork that allows us to put on monthly programs, produce publications, keep the website current, hold elections and much, much more.
As a cooperative team, we’ve all accomplished a lot in 2015. We’ve enjoyed many excellent meetings, inspiring venues and generous hosts. We’ve established a student mentoring program in conjunction with Cal Berkeley’s journalism department, built a section for BATW videographer members on the website, ramped up our marketing efforts, and created the second annual publication of member articles and photographs (to be released late this year).
But that’s just the beginning. BATW is a volunteer-run organization, and we came into office with a comprehensive plan for getting more volunteers involved. More than 40 people stepped up to the plate to help with everything from bringing refreshments to meetings and writing up meeting notes to serving on the Board and managing the credentialing process. A special thanks goes to Executive Director Ginny Prior, who served as our Volunteer Coordinator. We also redesigned the website for a more up-to-date look, mobile optimization, an easier updating process, and — most important — to feature member photos prominently.
BATW has had plenty of unexciting-but-important accomplishments this year, too. For starters, we updated the RSVP policy so we could give our hosts a more accurate count of attendees, polled Associate members to find out how we can add even more membership value for them, considerably strengthened professional conduct guidelines, streamlined the re-credentialing process, began looking for software that will better serve some of our behind-the-scenes needs, and made progress in updating the policies & procedures manual.
We celebrated these accomplishments with the first annual BATW Volunteer Appreciation Party this year (who can ever forget the sight of 8 giant pizzas, each different, waiting for us to plunge in?). Here’s to even more volunteers, and more pizzas, in 2016!
And speaking of collaboration, it’s been an honor for both of us to serve as your Co-Presidents this year. We had successfully collaborated on several non-BATW writing and teaching projects before taking office, so we knew we’d work well together. But it was gratifying to have our expectations surpassed by the experience. We’ve had a lot of fun, deepened our friendship and believe in the collaborative process more than ever. (Shameless plug: we’re working on a book tentatively titled 10 Secrets for a Perfect Collaboration.)
One last thing: We’d like to take this opportunity to encourage both General Members and Associates to renew your membership if you haven’t already done so. While you’re at it, consider volunteering.
We’re looking forward to an exciting year in 2016; the calendar is beginning to fill up with tantalizing programs and hosts. It’s too early for announcements, but watch this space for details.
With warmest wishes for a happy holiday season,
Suzie Rodriguez and Laurie McAndish King
Co-Presidents, Bay Area Travel Writers[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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