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President’s Column:
PMA University & The Ben Franklin Awards

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The Publishing University was a great success, with 500 participants and almost 200 staff and instructors interacting for three days. There’s nothing quite like it in the publishing world for great exchanges of information and camaraderie. It’s clear that the foundation of expertise among our members has been significantly raised. All participants are starting at a new and higher level of knowledge, and the superb quality of their books shows the positive results.

At the Ben Franklin Awards Ceremony, the PMA Board of Directors, joined by past Presidents and past Board members, presented a special Ben Franklin Award to Jan Nathan for her 20 years of service to independent publishing and to PMA. Jan has been the only Executive Director in PMA’s history, and she has always been the brains and energy behind PMA’s continued success and growth. Thank you, Jan. We have all benefited from your commitment, your skills, and your kindness!

Board of Directors Action Agenda

Your PMA Board met formally in early May, and again briefly at PMA University in late May. While we are celebrating PMA’s 20th year—and what a great celebration we had at the Ben Franklin Awards!—we are also focused intensely on moving into the future by creating more ways to meet the needs of the ever-growing number of successful independent publishers.

Your Board is a high-energy, creative, and hard-working group. We are in the process of organizing ourselves to focus on specific action projects that will enhance PMA’s long-term ability to reach out to this hugely successful and highly significant segment of the publishing industry. (Yep, in case you don’t recognize yourself, that’s you!)

Here are the Work Group Task Chairs so far:

Paul Coates – PMA Publishing Quality Standards
Mike Vezo – Literacy for Life, PMA’s million-book donation program
Florrie Binford Kichler – Membership Growth and Outreach
Pat Bell – Regional Affiliate Publishing Associations
Jan Nathan – Special Programming Task Force for Highly Experienced Publishers

At the next Board meeting, we’ll set action priorities for the year 2003-2004 and welcome three new Board members:

Peter Bannon, President of Sport Publishing LLCSally Neher, Director of Publisher Relations at Baker & TaylorMarianne Bohr, Vice President of Marketing at the National Book Network.

The three Board members who are retiring are Doug Werner of Tracks Publishing, Keith Owens of National Book Network, and Pam Art of Storey Books. All of these people added great insight and effort to PMA over the past years. Doug, Keith, and Pam, we thank you. We’ll miss you!

There are so many great opportunities for PMA to tackle that the minutes from the latest Board meeting reached a record eight pages! Look for additional details in future columns.

Don Tubesing’s Toast to Jan

Jan, for your 20 years of commitment to building PMA from its original membership of 18
into the world’s prime publishing association with 3,700 publishing members,
We honor you.

Jan, for your encouragement and kind words and useful information—which at one time or another virtually everyone in this room has received from you and benefited from,
We thank you.

Jan, for your creativity and intuition in reading the signs and guiding PMA in useful, creative, and healthy directions over all these years,
We admire you.

Jan, for your good humor, your love of excellent books, your patience, your indefatigable energy, and your kindness to us all,
We love you.

On behalf of the current Board of Directors, the 10 PMA past Presidents, all past members of the PMA Board and all current members, it is our pleasure to present you with this special Ben Franklin Award for your 20 years of outstanding service to independent publishers and to the Publishers Marketing Association.

Please accept this life-sized bust of Ben Franklin himself, commissioned and crafted from a 200-pound block of pristine white Colorado Yule Marble. At any time that you choose, you may rub his shiny bald head for wisdom and inspiration.

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