From the Executive Director - With Gratitude and a Forward Look at NCA

November 11, 2022

Thank you for being an engaged NCA member. When the leadership asked, you answered the call. 

On September 15, we launched NCA’s first all-member survey. We wanted to learn more about you, our regular, student, life, and retired members. After all, as members, you are our greatest resource and reason for being. We are eager to develop more innovative, robust, and practical programs and services you want. Those will be the kind of efforts and priorities you can expect, not only from the new NCA membership director that we are eager to hire, but from the National Office staff. 

We wanted to ensure everyone had the chance to participate. We partnered with your interest group chairs to ensure that voices across NCA were well represented on the survey. You shared your opinions and told us about your experiences. Preliminary results show that we succeeded in reaching a cross-section of members. When we wrapped up the process on October 12, nearly 1,300 members had completed and submitted the survey. Data analysis is underway. We will present a preliminary membership survey report to the Executive Committee and the Legislative Assembly (LA) when they meet in New Orleans in a few weeks. Later this year, you will receive a membership survey report also.

It took a village to generate those 1,300 responses. Now, we need to use your feedback to inform our decision-making.

Your response to the recent call for council and committee seat nominations was another reason to celebrate seeing NCA in action. Immediate Past President David McMahan and Justin Danowski, the director of governance and membership, devised a plan this year to do direct outreach to encourage more members to consider the many opportunities available to serve NCA. 

It paid off. The Leadership Development Committee (LDC) received more than 170 nominations for 57 council and committee seats within the Association. Indeed, these nominations set an NCA record that speaks volumes about your enthusiasm, dedication, and willingness to serve. Soon, the LDC will evaluate the nominations received, and the Legislative Assembly will review and approve the slate during the annual meeting in New Orleans. 

As the year ends, the LA will be considering a strategic plan that will enter the new year equipped with a new and promising strategic plan you helped to inform. For this, we thank you. Looking ahead, you have an equally important voice in the robust agenda to be implemented across the Association.

Nearly a year ago, when I interviewed to be NCA’s executive director, I remember then-First Vice President Roseann Mandziuk asking me if NCA could launch and complete a strategic planning process in one year. Without wavering, I said yes. Forging ahead to create a new strategic plan for NCA would mean taking a deep dive and exploring all that NCA was, is, and could be. In the last year, the Legislative Assembly, the Executive Committee, Council and Committee leaders, and many of you did just that. The much-anticipated strategic plan is complete and will be presented this month in New Orleans to the LA for adoption. As Roseann shares in her President’s column, what follows for all of us as the new strategic plan is implemented, are “difficult choices, challenges, and opportunities” about how best to advance our century-old Association into the future. 

NCA is heading into a bright future, and your many voices and perspectives serve as a welcome beacon. In just days, nearly 4,000 of us will gather in New Orleans to learn, share, network, and celebrate your achievements and the many ways NCA contributes to the discipline. I can already feel the energy. Last year, I was a fly on the wall, attending the convention as a guest since I had not yet officially come on board. This month’s convention will be my first as executive director. I am incredibly enthusiastic about participating this year and I look forward to meeting more of you and hearing how the National Office team can be of service. 

Until then, I want to share these updates and highlights:  
•    Underway at the National Office: we are hiring to fill critical senior-level staff positions that will provide NCA with greater expertise for accomplishing its revenue and mission goals. We are also working to re-establish NCA’s ability to fundraise in all 50 states.

•    In case you missed it, we introduced you to the editor of our newest journal, Communications and Race, in the October edition of Spectra. Learn more about Armond Towns and why the journal will be a signal platform to address inequities and diversity from the discipline

•    Follow the new strategic plan and our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) efforts as they move forward at the annual convention and learn what their implementation in 2023 will mean for you. 

See you in New Orleans, where we will Honor PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment!