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From the IBPA Board Room

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by Carlene Sippola

From the Board Room . . .

I am writing this shortly after returning from my first IBPA board meeting as the new board chair. We held our meeting in Minneapolis in conjunction with this year’s Regional University. Our board members were excited to offer their services as speakers at the university and to take part in the festivities surrounding the event. It was a smashing success. The Midwest Independent Publishing Association (MIPA), under the apt leadership of its president, Pat Morris, presented a fun-filled and valuableeducational event. Congratulations to all involved.

Preceding the university, we held our first board meeting of fiscal year 2009/10. It too was a success. We welcomed three new board members as well as the returning board members. As all organizations do lately, IBPA faces a few challenges for the coming years. I am confident that the IBPA staff, the board of directors, and the members of IBPA will rise above these challenges and that the staff and the board will continue to serve our membership at top levels.

I want to share with you some highlights of the meeting and outline where we will focus our energies in the next several months. As usual, the meeting began with the executive director’s report, which gives the board a clear picture of how the day-to-day operations are going, updates us on specific projects the office is working on, and solicits feedback and direction from the board. The board and the home office have a strong relationship and, as partners, keep the organization running smoothly.

The IBPA board is a working board. In other words, board members don’t just react and advise; they are all committed to serving on at least one “focus group,” which is the name we will be using for committees and task forces tackling various jobs.

Below are the priorities we have set for each focus group and for the board’s executive committee in the coming months.

Membership Focus Group

* Evaluate our current member benefits and explore new benefits to offer our members.

* Create new membership growth and retention plans.

* Continue to strengthen our relationships with affiliates (regional publishing associations).

Marketing Programs Focus Group

* Evaluate and improve our current marketing programs.

* Create new programs to meet the changing needs of our members.

Education Focus Group

* Review and explore ways to improve our annual Publishing University.

* Continue to find current and relevant programs for our Publishing Online program.

* Begin organizing Publishing University 2010.

* Identify potential sponsors for IBPA educational events.

Communications Focus Group

* Create and oversee a social-media marketing plan for IBPA.

* Create and oversee a plan to increase the perceived value of IBPA and the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

* Explore possibilities for expanding distribution of the Independent.

* Continue to be advocates for our membership within the publishing community.

Executive Committee

* Evaluate and monitor the financial health of the organization.

* Provide support and feedback to the staff.

* Recruit new board members.

* Work with the executive director in developing an ongoing strategic plan.

In addition to addressing the priorities listed above, all members of the board act as ambassadors of IBPA by spreading the word about our organization and welcoming questions, comments, feedback, and suggestions from our members.

As you can see, the board is working hard on behalf of members; and so do all of you. What fun it was to be part of this past weekend’s regional university and see the shared enthusiasm we all have about helping independent publishers learn, grow, and succeed!

I’ll be waiting to hear from you. You can reach me anytime at carlene@wholeperson.com.



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