Standing Up

From the President

Caitilin Walsh

You’ve probably noticed by now that this issue of The ATA Chronicle sports a shiny new look.

This rejuvenated publication also illustrates perfectly the power of volunteers. As you read in the last issue, back in November in Chicago a handful of volunteers brought a proposal to ATA’s Board to give our flagship publication a complete physical and to identify what worked and what didn’t. The Board gave their thumbs up to that proposal and subsequently to the task force’s recommendations. The result is not only the publication you hold in your hands, but a dedicated companion website (with past content—indexed!). Even with adding in a revamped Newsbriefs to improve member communications, the new plan enables us to reallocate funds.

Another example of volunteer power is the recent Board approval of the CI (Credentialed Interpreter) designation to flag ATA interpreter members holding select interpreter credentials and certifications in our popular online directory. Again, the Board of Directors signed off on it, but it represents many hours—even years—of work by dedicated Interpretation Policy Advisory Committee volunteers.

One of my favorite moments at ATA’s Annual Conference happens when all those who have volunteered for the Association in the past year are asked to stand and be recognized—and that’s only those who made it to the conference and got up early enough for the meeting. A rough tally of volunteers would number well into the hundreds: officers and directors; committee chairs and members; division administrators, assistant administrators, and Leadership Council members; graders and language chairs; conference presenters, not to mention proofreaders, ballot counters, folks staffing hospitality desks, and countless “regular” members doing school and business outreach, writing Chronicle articles, holding webinars, and writing e-mail and making calls alerting us to new developments and how they affect ATA members.

The takeaway is pretty obvious, to me at least, and echoes a lesson my father taught me: if you think your Association should be doing something, the best thing to do is to offer to show up and make it happen. Talk to your colleagues, formulate a plan, and talk with leadership about how to garner Board agreement. It’s easy for the Board to say “aye” and offer support when a small group of thoughtful, committed members are offering to change our corner of the world for the better.

And if we haven’t said it enough, I’ll say it again: thank you.

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