by Terry Nathan
IBPA’s New President Position
By now, I expect you have heard the great news that Florrie Binford Kichler has been named to the new position of President of IBPA. In this newly created post, she will build strategic partnerships, expand programs and services for members, and act as the public voice of IBPA. I will continue to run IBPA’s day-to-day operations, and I look forward to working closely with Florrie for years to come.
We both report to the board of directors, and under their guidance we will continue to provide educational and marketing programs, and to act as advocates for the rights of independent publishers.
Our two personalities and styles complement each other perfectly. I am an organizational whiz, and she is an entrepreneur with the ability to connect with people on all levels. Book Business magazine recently selected Florrie as one of the Top 50 Women in Book Publishing, and over the past three years, she has been named to several industry boards. In her new role she will enhance our visibility and expand our network even further.
I’m not quite sure how she does it, but it seems that every time I look up, I see her name or her face right there in front of me. I am convinced she has figured out how to clone herself. I am lucky to be working with her, and you are lucky to have her watching out for your interests and helping move IBPA to the next level.
Our new organizational model provides IBPA with an incredible opportunity. By creating the new roles of president of the organization and chairman of its board, it serves to position IBPA for future growth and marks a definitive step in the association’s development. I am excited about the bright future for IBPA’s ever-expanding services to independent publishers.
The Past as Prologue
I have known Florrie for close to 10 years now and have been very impressed with her passion for independent publishing, her love of IBPA, and her ability to get things done. She is respected in the industry, and she is one of the smartest businesspeople I have ever met. I hope you will find a chance to send her a note of welcome to this new position. You can reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florrie is no stranger to IBPA. She served on the board of directors for four years, and then served for three very successful years as president of the board. She has kept our association moving forward during some of the most challenging times we (and our industry) have ever seen—no small task.
I have worked with members of the board of directors for 18 years now. During that time they have included hundreds of our industry’s best. I can say without hesitation that there has never been a board member more productive or more pleasant to work with. Florrie has it all, and we are lucky she has offered to provide her leadership, her intelligence, and her instincts to help move us through this ever-changing landscape of publishing.
The new chairman of the IBPA board, Carlene Sippola, had this to say: “During the past three years, Florrie’s decisive leadership, commitment to the mission and values of IBPA, and deep understanding of the issues facing independent publishers have guided IBPA and its members with clarity and vision. In an industry where change is the only constant, we are fortunate that Florrie will devote her time, energy, and skill to advocate for and support our members and the independent publishing community.”
I couldn’t have said that better myself, which is why I am sharing it with you. <grin>
The Symbol of the Suite
A little more than three years ago, in August 2006, I flew to New York to attend our association’s quarterly board meeting. This was Florrie’s first meeting as president of IBPA’s board of directors, and my first meeting as acting executive director. Florrie asked me to arrive an hour early to go over any last-minute changes to the agenda, and it’s a good thing she did.
We were both a little shocked to find that the meeting room we had been assigned was a slightly modified suite, and I use that term very loosely. I have seen some of the small rooms in New York City hotels and have even come to enjoy their quaintness. But when you are expecting to have a two-day meeting with 18 people, a little suite brings a whole new meaning to a board’s family feel.
In the middle of the suite’s “living room,” Florrie and I found a table with eight chairs around it. A couple of couches lined the walls, giving us just enough room to seat the other board members and staff, except that then there would be no room for people to sit in the chairs at the table, let alone move around the room.
Florrie and I looked up, like two deer in the headlights, and one of us said, “Well, this ought to be interesting.” We made it work, and have not stopped making things work together ever since. After the initial shock, Florrie did what she does so well: she rolled up her sleeves and started moving us forward.
These past three years have presented many more substantive challenges for us, and each time it has been reassuring for me to know that Florrie was right there by my side to see things through. She is truly amazing. Her professionalism, her calm under pressure, and her positive outlook—always—are second to none.
Putting Florrie’s strong entrepreneurial mind next to my strong organizational mind brings us back to the model that served us so well for more than two decades. This has been the recipe for success in the past, and it is sure to be a recipe for success in the future.