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by Florrie Binford Kichler


Unsung Heroes: Farewell and Hail to Board Members

Who’s your hero?

When asked that question, many people respond with the name of somebody famous like Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, or Amelia Earhart. Certainly no one can deny that they, along with numerous others who fill our history books and make current news, are courageous, inspirational, noble, and worthy of admiration. Those qualities all define heroism.

Heroes also fight for a cause they believe in and don’t give up when the going gets tough.

Much like your IBPA board of directors.

Since IBPA’s founding as PASCAL in 1983 and through its years as PMA before it became IBPA, hundreds of board volunteers have given thousands of hours to build an organization that supports, educates, and advocates for independent publishers. Every year we say good-bye to board members who have fulfilled their term of service, and we welcome new directors. I know that an organization thrives on new ideas and energy, and it’s always a personal and professional pleasure to meet, greet, and get to know our new board members.

It’s the good-bye part that’s hard.

The five directors and the board chair who will end their IBPA board terms as of June 30 have made outstanding contributions to your organization in a myriad ways. Please join me in thanking:

Jeanne Kramer. Jeanne has brought a wisdom born of experience and clear understanding of the publishing industry to IBPA. She’s fiercely loyal to independent publishers and works tirelessly on your behalf not just around the board table but also in her day job as vice president of marketing at National Book Network. Many of you may know Jeanne from her regular and generous participation at IBPA Publishing University.

Mitch Muncy. A laser focus, a keen mind, and a sense of humor that keeps everything in perspective characterize Mitch, who—when he’s not devoting hours to improving IBPA’s educational offerings or serving on the IBPA board’s executive committee—is the executive director of The Alexander Hamilton Society. His 20-20 vision into IBPA’s future has been a tremendous asset to the board.

Patti Phillips. Patti has been our resident expert in the arena of gathering and evaluating information from you, our members, about how well IBPA is meeting your needs. Those of you who received the IBPA Publishing University survey last year know exactly how good Patti is at retrieving your opinions, and that expertise, coupled with her generous devotion of time and energy to IBPA, will be a tough act to follow.

Carlene Sippola. Carlene’s guidance and leadership have been invaluable to IBPA during her four years as board member and during the past two years when she served as board chair. As IBPA transitioned through the passing of long-time executive director Jan Nathan, through a name change, and through a sea change in the publishing industry, Carlene calmly provided the wisdom needed at exactly the right time to keep IBPA on track, changing and growing to meet members’ needs. IBPA’s current mentoring initiative is due to her conviction that the strength of IBPA lies in members helping one another achieve and succeed—and nobody exemplifies that more than Carlene. She is the publisher of Whole Person Associates.

Dan Snow. Zero inventory and print on demand are part of the lexicon of the industry now, but Dan Snow was a pioneer and proponent of POD and micropublishing. He has contributed a unique and much-needed perspective from an industry segment that is experiencing explosive growth, and his energy, creativity, and vision in expanding IBPA’s services to new and small publishers will be greatly missed. Dan is the founder and publisher of Unlimited Publishing

Nancy Stewart. A leader and innovator who has the gift of seeing what needs to be done and doing it with a smile, Nancy Stewart, lead buyer at Ingram Content Group, leaves IBPA members the beneficiaries of continually improving educational programs. IBPA Publishing University continues to be the premier conference for publishers and will continue to expand both geographically and thematically thanks to Nancy’s leadership.

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.—Tom Brokaw

A longstanding joke among IBPA board and staff has it that board service is like the Hotel California in the Eagles hit song—“You can check out, but you can never leave.” As we say good-bye to our board member heroes, who have given unstintingly of their time, talent, and energy to the cause of improving independent publishing for all of us, I know that Jeanne, Mitch, Patti, Carlene, Dan, and Nancy will always be there to offer counsel, advice, and assistance whenever needed.

They have made, and will continue to make, a difference for IBPA—for you—and for the industry.

Looking Ahead

Welcome to Steve Mettee, founder of Quill Driver Books and The Write Thought, who has been elected to be the new board chair, and whose wisdom and insight will provide the vision and leadership IBPA needs to greet the future.

Welcome also to the new IBPA board members, who, as I write this, will be announced shortly.

Thank you to the whole IBPA board of directors for their hard work and devotion to the independent publishing community. Besides Steve Mettee, continuing members are:

Davida G. Breier, Johns Hopkins University Press

Roy Carlisle, The Independent Institute

Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Third World Press

Dave Marx, Passporter Travel Press

John Mutter, Shelf Awareness

Robert Rosenwald, Poisoned Pen Press

Stephanie Stewart, Fitzhenry & Whiteside

And thank you to every IBPA member for your support, ingenuity, determination, and professionalism.

Follow Florrie and IBPA on Twitter at twitter.com/ibpa, and on IBPA’s blog at ibpablog.wordpress.com. Join Independent Book Publishers Association–IBPA group on Linked In (linkedin.com).



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