< back to full list of articles
Director’s Desk: Living Our Values

or Article Tags


by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association

Angela Bole

“Do what you love to do and give it your very best; whether it’s business, baseball, the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You’ll be an old man before you know it.” -Alfonso “Al” Ramón López

Alfonso “Al” Ramón López was an American baseball player inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. Although I enjoy going to baseball games in New York and count Field of Dreams as one of my favorite movies, I’m not really a huge baseball fan. The good news is, of course, that you don’t have to be a baseball fan to get behind these wise words: “…whether it’s business or baseball,” the concept applies.

And the concept seems especially fitting this month of July as all of us at IBPA kick off the association’s new fiscal year. What better time than the start of a new year to again pledge our strong love for the work that we do while applying renewed commitment to giving it our very best.

Founded in 1983 to support independent publishers nationwide, IBPA leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,100 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the United States. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the tools and knowledge needed to professionally engage in all aspects of the publishing industry.

Who wouldn’t want to be part of something so empowering?

I’m pleased to say that over the past year I have had the pleasure of watching IBPA truly raise the bar for itself and our members. We saw many notable successes in fiscal year 2016. Chief among them are:

  • The rebranding of the magazine you’re currently reading— IBPA Independent
  • The approval of an investment policy set to create a sustainable financial future for the association
  • The endorsement of a vision statement to communicate what we aim to achieve through the work that we do
  • The growth of our Benjamin Franklin Book Awards program
  • The launch of a community-driven member benefits approval process
  • The meeting of our overall budget goals for the third year in a row

I believe all of this was possible due to the high degree to which our staff and volunteers align themselves with IBPA’s core values. These are the implicitly understood, deeply held convictions that guide the spirit and nature of the IBPA board, staff, and volunteers. They include:

  • Service, which expresses IBPA’s commitment to openness and accessibility. IBPA’s desire to be authentically and truly helpful (with no other agenda) reflects an understanding that the essence of leadership is service.
  • Leadership, which is expressed through IBPA’s position as the largest professional publishing association in the United States, as well as in its commitment to providing expert programs and perspectives to aid independent publishers in the business of publishing.
  • Independence, which reflects a deep commitment to independent points of view and the belief that enabling access to these points of view is essential to creativity and innovation.

Core values are important because they shape an organization’s overall culture and inspire people into actions that suit the group’s distinct convictions. In other words, alignment with our core values helps us stay on the right track when making decisions that affect the direction of IBPA.

Looking Ahead: A New Online Presence

This coming fiscal year, IBPA intends to put service, leadership, and the support of independent points of view into action as we work to build and launch a new website and online networking platform for IBPA members.

The goal of IBPA’s revamped website is to provide the value and personalization our members expect through technologies that make online networking and information gathering easier than ever before. The new site will deliver relevant content and information to members at any time and through any device. It will also include a robust member database that is searchable across multiple parameters—something IBPA has never had before.

Investing in the website illustrates IBPA’s commitment to meeting our members where they are. We know money is tight and you can’t always travel to meetings and conferences in order to have the conversations you need to move your businesses forward. The new website will provide ample opportunity for online engagement through access to member profiles and discussion boards tailored to specific topics of interest. I, for one, can’t wait to get it off the ground!

My Commitment to You

At the end of the day, IBPA’s ability to lead the independent publishing community depends on putting our shared understanding of the organization’s mission, vision,

and core values into action. I am committed to continuing IBPA’s proud tradition as a service-first organization, calling on the great range and diversity within our membership and volunteer leadership, in the development of helpful initiatives like those described above.

This month, as we lean into another year of doing what we love to do and giving it our very best, I hope you’ll consider joining IBPA if you’re not already a member. We look forward to continuing along our successful path together with you.

Just before Angela Bole became IBPA’s Chief Executive Officer, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), which fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, Angela served for two years as BISG’s Associate Director and two years as its Marketing and Communications Manager. Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum.

Connect With Us

1020 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Suite 204 Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
P: 310-546-1818 F: 310-546-3939 E: info@IBPA-online.org
© Independent Book Publishers Association