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URGENT: IWOC at a Crossroads | President's Post by Laura Stigler

01 Jul 2024 11:57 AM | Laura Stigler (Administrator)

‘Tis the season again, when we start to assess the past year and begin to make plans for the next. While it’s always a time to toot our horn for what we’ve accomplished in the interest of our members during the previous 12 months, we also have to indulge in a bit of self-reflection as we look forward. Regarding the latter, this year is quite different.

Because in a departure from the last eight years, I’ve made the difficult decision to not run for president of IWOC. I say “difficult” because it means that, in addition to recruiting new Board members, we also have to recruit someone who is willing to stand at the helm and lead IWOC into the future. 

As I’ve stated in many previous Stet posts, volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. Without them, there is no IWOC! Fortunately, there has always been a pool of people who’ve eagerly filled those shoes on the Board of Directors and on our Committees. But when it comes to being president? The pool gets pretty shallow. Understandably so, since it sounds like such an onerous responsibility. But throughout the years, there has consistently been someone who grabbed the baton and served valiantly. 

When I first was recruited in 2016 – or I should say, was pleaded with to fill the position, I begrudgingly accepted. But once into it, I embraced it and have actually come to love it. What I’ve learned about myself, IWOC, and so many of my fellow IWOC-ers who became friends, turned out to be a rich and positive experience beyond what I ever imagined. But the official term for serving as president is only one year. I’ve served 8. So there does come a time when you have to say, “Enough.” It’s not fair to me, but especially not to IWOC. IWOC deserves someone new. Someone with fresh ideas and a vision that could keep us going and growing strong. Without someone taking the reins, could IWOC continue?

IWOC has been a beloved organization since its founding in 1981. A community where writers consider IWOC a welcoming home, a place that could not only benefit their careers, but where they could find common ground with fellow freelancers with whom they could get together to network, laugh and talk– not just about writing. But about practically anything. To see all that vanish would be something to mourn.

So my question to you is, would you be the one to step up as president? Please consider it. I will be there at every step to ensure a smooth transition. Those on the Board and Committees will also help and support. If you’ve any questions at all, please contact me and we can discuss. And if not as president, consider running for the Board of Directors -- it’s not time-consuming (we Zoom for one hour, once a month) --  or serving on a Committee, be it Membership, Program, Public Relations, Social Media, IWOC’s Stet newsletter.  

Or is there someone you’d like to nominate for any of the above whose ideas, energy, and all-around get-along personality you believe would serve IWOC well? Please submit names to the Nominating Committee --  George BechtJay Schwartz or me  by July 19. Members will vote on the final slate at our in-person September 10 Annual Meeting.

There have been many factors that can and have threatened the existence of IWOC. Competition from writer groups that solely meet online; a social media zeitgeist that has diminished the desire to join groups and meet in person; the profusion of online networking and job sites. But we’ve managed to remain standing. Heck, we survived COVID! It would be an absolute shame to see IWOC dissolve, simply for the lack of a president and volunteers. Other venerable writer institutions have gone under because of that very reason. Let that not be the case with IWOC. 

As we stand at a crossroads, let’s take the road to survival.

Volunteer. Nominate. Thank you.

-- Laura Stigler

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