From the President-Elect: A New Year, a New Start

From the President-Elect
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
Twitter: @mszampaulo

It’s a new year, and with it comes a time of reflection, as well as fresh and exciting opportunities. If 2020 taught us anything, it was the ability to accept new challenges and adapt accordingly. Hopefully 2021 will be, in many ways, different than last year, but I think we can all agree that we learned a lot about ourselves and our businesses. We also learned a lot about how our Association can step up to serve us even during the most challenging of times.

  • When COVID-19 disrupted our plans to hold our Annual Conference in Boston, we pivoted to a fully virtual conference model that attracted over 1,500 attendees.1
  • When we saw how swiftly and significantly the economic crisis affected so many of our members, the Board quickly approved a motion not to raise membership dues this year and to offer members the ability to renew in two installments.2
  • When we witnessed what can only be described as a powerful time to reflect on the racial divide in our country, ATA issued a statement3 on racism and inequality, reiterating that we stand by our members and colleagues who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
  • When our members in California were fighting for their right to remain independent contractors after the passing of California Assembly Bill 5, we stepped up and supported4 efforts to provide protection for professional translators and interpreters in Assembly Bill 2257 (Worker Classification: Employees and Independent Contractors).
  • When health care interpreters were not treated as essential workers or provided personal protective equipment, we signed on to support a best practices guide5 with other national associations to promote safer working environments.

We’ve come together again and again to step up and meet these challenges head on as an Association and as colleagues. And while it’s certain we’ll be called to do the same in 2021, we’ll do so by looking forward to new opportunities to adapt and grow.

As we look ahead this year, we’ll be planning ATA62 as a hybrid conference (both in-person and virtual). Yes, a hybrid conference is another first for ATA, but we know we can pull off a new model with great results, and I look forward to the challenge of planning this year’s event. The call for proposals is now open, so please submit your session proposals by March 1. At this time, the plan is to offer virtual attendees a selection of streamed, live sessions offered at the conference venue in Minneapolis.

While we’ve learned a lot about who we are as an Association over the course of 2020, we still have a lot more to understand about who our members are and what they want from a professional association. As immediate past chair of the Membership Committee, we’ve worked the past few years on increasing member benefits and creating greater value for our members. But we want to hear from you. We want to know how we can best serve you. So, we’ll be asking you questions related to the member benefits you enjoy and what you would like to see more of. We’ll also be asking you about ATA’s advocacy efforts and how you would like to be represented by ATA at various levels.

Please watch your inbox for the Membership Survey and the new ATA Compensation Survey and complete them during the window when they are available. By providing more information and insights, you allow the Board to get a better picture of who we are as an Association, what’s going well, and what areas can be improved in the future.

Here’s to a year of growth in 2021!

  1. ATA 61st Annual Conference Website,
  2. To help those members who find it difficult to pay membership dues in full at this time, ATA is offering an installment plan in 2021. Renew online to choose this payment option. Visit:
  3. ATA Statement on Racism and Inequality,
  4. Open Letter to the California Assembly and Senate (August 2020),
  5. Providing Interpreting Services During COVID-19,
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