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PMA Wants You! (on the Board of Directors)

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by Terry Nathan

Executive Director

PMA Wants You! (on the Board of Directors)

We’re off and running with another new year at PMA. As I flipped through my desk calendar last month, the crisp, new pages boldly announced that it was 2008. Naturally, every new year brings changes—some we embrace enthusiastically, and others we are not so eager to make. Each year, I am saddened to say good-bye to departing board members. This year will be no different, as four members of our close PMA family end their terms in July.

Of course, as old board members leave, new ones arrive, bringing new ideas and new energy. Over the past 15 years, I have had the pleasure and honor of working shoulder to shoulder with some of the most influential and energetic people in the publishing industry. Amazing minds, all of them! 

Each board member serves a two-year term, and has the opportunity to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. This system creates a very energetic environment and a board that is capable of adapting to the needs of the membership and the independent publishing community. 

The president works closely with the PMA office as well as with the board members. PMA  always has an  active, working board. Yet board members often tell me they feel they get more from the experience than they give. They’re referring to the camaraderie and rich interaction they experience during their years of work with fellow board members. 

Board Members Whose Terms Are Expiring

Here are four people who have served PMA for the past four years, when we have seen so much change. There is no way I could do any of these hard-working, brilliant people justice in a few paragraphs, so let me just scratch the surface.

David Cole, Bay Tree Publishing, Point Richmond, CA. David has years of experience in the publishing business. He seems to know everyone in the industry and is always ready to share his knowledge, his contacts, and the fruits of his deep reflection on industry matters. David has been very active with publicity for PMA, has worked closely with the office staff, and was instrumental in adding a full-time publicity, marketing, and PR person to the staff. An excellent speaker, he has shared his experience and knowledge with PMA members at our annual Publishing University and the regional educational conferences as well.

Rod Colvin, Addicus Books, Omaha, NE. It warms my heart every time I see Rod. He has such an amazing presence with such positive energy. Always! Not only that, Rod has the wonderful ability to get things done. Many board members are full of excellent ideas, but Rod is one of those who will also follow through and get the job done. He has been such an active contributor to everything this group has done over the past four years. I am convinced he does not know how to say no. Because of Rod’s amazing leadership in the development of the midsized-publishers initiative and PMA Graduate School, our board is now very active in attracting and maintaining midsized publishers as members.

Rudy Shur, SquareOne Publishers, Garden City Park, NY. There are board members who have a lot to say, and Rudy is definitely one of those. And you know what? Everything he has to say is worth listening to. He has been instrumental in opening up our Member Benefits program and systematizing the process. He started our Best Seller Awards program, and played a key part in positioning PMA as the voice of the industry. Anytime we faced a challenge, I knew Rudy would be the one to turn to. He is the epitome of making lemonade from lemons.

Carlene Sipola, Whole Person Associates, Duluth, MN. Whenever I was assigned to work on a committee project with other board members, I always wanted one of them to be Carlene. Carlene has such a calming, confident presence that I just know anything she takes on will not only be done, but will be done completely and (apparently) easily. Carlene was instrumental in solidifying our relationships with regional publishing groups throughout the country, and she started our Affiliate Retreat program.

All four of these folks are amazing, and  I find myself in awe and honored to have shared the table with them for the past four years. I will miss the regular interactions, but as most past board members know, your term may be up, but you are forever part of the PMA family. During board meetings, we often tell outgoing members that the board is like the Hotel California—you can check out, but you can never leave!

Seeking New Board Members

Nominations for PMA Board members are being accepted between now and the end of February. There are four open seats that, in compliance with the bylaws, must be filled by publishers. You can get a nomination form from the PMA Web site—pma-online.org—or by calling the PMA office. 

The board meets four times a year. One of the meetings is usually by phone. The other three are in person, and each lasts a day and a half. Between meetings, there is a fairly vigorous interchange of emails and phone calls.

You can be active with PMA without being on the board of directors. For instance, you can volunteer to be on a PMA board committee. If you’re interested in doing so, please send me a note by email, outlining your area of interest. I can be reached directly at terry@pma-online.org.

I look forward to 2008 and hope it is a very successful year for all of you.



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