In the words of VC president Carolyn Martin, the first of a planned series of VC reorganizational meetings last Sunday was an afternoon of “courageous conversations.”
At the VoiceCatcher6 launch party last fall, Carolyn announced that VoiceCatcher would need to undergo changes in order to continue as an organization and put out a call for those interested in helping with that effort.
Many of those who responded to that initial request attended a reorganization meeting on January 8. Before undertaking the first step in those efforts—electing new members to the VC board—members heard reports on the current state of affairs from several collective members.
Toni Partington, co-editor of VC6, provided information on the editorial process required to produce this year’s anthology. Providing respectful editorial guidance, working with writers and artists to bring their work to its highest level, and creating a high-quality book is an enormous undertaking for the volunteer editors, some of whom worked 30+ hours a week for several months. While our model has been to have this year’s associate editors become next year’s editors, our associate editors felt unable to sign on to such a large commitment for the coming year. That is why submissions have been put on hold this year.
M, treasurer, reported on how many copies of VC6 and past issues we still have on hand, the current balance in our accounts, and the cost required to produce another edition of VoiceCatcher. We currently don’t have the financial resources to produce a publication like the ones we’ve produced in the past; and, given the fact that even our contributors don’t purchase them, we need to rethink why we’re publishing an anthology at all.
Nina Macheel, Outreach Coordinator, reported on efforts made to build VoiceCatcher’s presence in the community and connections with other agencies that might support us in fulfilling our mission. Our website was revamped this fall, and our Facebook page is being regularly updated, but until we have a clear sense of where VC is going it does not make sense to think about joint efforts with other organizations.
After these reports, it was clear that if VoiceCatcher is to move forward, we will need to consider new ways of meeting our mission:
VoiceCatcher is a non-profit collective that nurtures women authors and artists in the Portland/Vancouver area and strengthens the local creative community by offering publishing opportunities, educational grants, and respectful editorial guidance.
Before making any decisions about future directions, the board felt it was crucial to select new leaders, as all current board positions expired at the end of December. By the conclusion of the meeting, the following VC collective members agreed to serve on the board for the coming year:
President: Carolyn Martin (returning for another term)
Secretary: Mary Kibbe
Member-at-large and Events Coordinator: Pat West
There was a clear consensus that VoiceCatcher needs to go on. Members reported on the impact that being part of the community had on their development as writers. We have built a community we don’t want to lose. While we do not yet know what our work will be or how it will happen, we know we want it to happen. We want to continue supporting women writers and artists in the Portland/Vancouver region.
The next order of business: How?
We’re not sure how we’re going to continue supporting women writers, but we are sure about the process we’ll use to begin making decisions. We’re hoping that many of you will join us.
The next step is another brainstorming meeting:
VoiceCatcher Brainstorming Meeting II
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Muir Room on main floor
5441 SE Belmont st.
Portland, OR 97215 Phone: 503.238.3904
Coffee shop will be open.
Bring a brown bag dinner, grab coffee or tea, and get ready for a rousing round 2.
Anyone who’d like to support the VC mission and help craft the next chapter in the VC story is welcome to attend. At this point, all possibilities are open. We have a small corps of women who’ve signed on to take this work forward, but we’ll need more committed volunteers to make it happen.
While there are several leadership positions still open (Treasurer, Publication Inventory Manager, Outreach Coordinator), there are numerous opportunities to become part of a dynamic team (website, social media, events, outreach) that can use whatever time and talent you can offer.
If you are interested in attending this meeting, please contact Tonia Twigger McConnell, meeting facilitator, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 20. She will send you notes from the first meeting and the agenda for the next meeting.
In closing, a few words from Carolyn:
After the close of Sunday’s meeting, Carolyn shared these words with those who attended:
A heartfelt thanks to all of you for the courageous conversations this afternoon. The questions you asked, the insights and experiences you shared, the tasks you volunteered for made it obvious that we do have a future. We’ll go step by step to redefine, reorganize, reinvigorate; we’ll take risks, make mistakes, laugh, have fun–and do good things for and with each other and members of the larger community.
Won’t you join us in this good work?