An Offer You’d Do Well to Accept

In this post, Warren Hersch, ASBPE national president, explains why there’s never been a better time to take advantage of the professional development opportunities available to those who volunteer their energies to ASBPE.

Are you looking for opportunities to:

  • develop skills that go well beyond the typical responsibilities of a B2B editor;
  • give your resume a competitive edge;
  • network more frequently with industry peers who are at the top of their game; or
  • experience the rewards of contributing to colleagues’ professional development?

If any of the above apply, then read on because ASBPE needs you, now more than ever.

The reason: ASBPE will soon be undergoing a wholesale reorganization—likely the most significant since the society’s founding in 1964. And the revamp will avail both members and member prospects of expanded opportunities to serve our editorial community.

The catalyst for the restructuring was a decision by ASBPE’s national board in 2009 to update the society’s bylaws and constitution. A draft document encompassing both, to which a special committee is now making final revisions, is expected to be approved by the national board before end of year.

The end product will, most critically, provide for two key changes:

  • open up the board to the full membership (previously, only chapter presidents could serve as directors); and
  • expand the number of committees that members can participate in.

Affiliated editors will thus be able to engage in tasks to which ASBPE is according higher priority in the year ahead. Among them:

  • evaluating the impact of publishing trends on trade magazines and web sites and identifying opportunities for the society;
  • developing research projects that will provide valuable information for members and promote B2B journalism best practices; and
  • investigating new benefits that will enhance the value of membership.

A particularly high priority for ASBPE near-term will be expanding the society’s database. The B2B writers and editors who receive information on ASBPE programs—our print and digital award competitions, the national editorial conference and local chapter events—are not just dues-paying members. Our promotional literature goes out as well to several thousand B2B editors who have participated in previous events or whose contacts have been culled from sources that our executive staff has access to.

But databases quickly become outdated. Editors change companies, are downsized or moved to new positions within a publishing house. The result, more often than not, is that ASBPE is left with non-working contacts. Hence the need for dedicated volunteers who will update contacts and identify new prospects for our professional development initiatives.

Are your skills best directed elsewhere? Then consider the many other opportunities available to members. In the year ahead, people will be needed to:

  • review and update our awards competitions and identify qualified judges;
  • help prepare an annual budget and make recommendations for revenue-enhancing and cost-saving measures;
  • develop an editorial calendar for the society’s publications and disseminate information through social media sites, e-blasts and our soon-to-be relaunched web site; and
  • identify topics and speakers for ASBPE’s flagship event: the national conference.

For a window into ASBPE’s future, one need look no further than the society’s presently constituted Ethics Committee.  Under the able leadership of Howard Rauch, an editorial consultant and ASBPE’s 2002 Life Achievement Award recipient, the committee has been doing exceptionally good work keeping up with, and offering advisory opinions on, ethical issues facing B2B editors.

In recent months, for example, the committee has amended ASBPE’s Guide to Preferred to Editorial Practices with a new section on editorial-controlled and non-editorial controlled webinars. In a high-profile blog post, a writer for Folio: also cited an Ethics Committee opinion on a full-page ad appearing on the cover of EDN magazine, the advisory noting the ad violates ASBPE’s ethics code and “clearly undermines editorial credibility.”

ASBPE needs more people like Howard and company to elevate the society’s prestige within the profession and make it the editorial community’s primary resource for continuation education, peer-to-peer networking and recognition of outstanding editorial achievements.

Do you count yourself among the select group of motivated and talented people we’re looking for? If so, then please act now: Complete the “Willingness to Serve” form posted on the home page of ASBPE.org. You—and countless other B2B writers and editors who are searching for solutions to today’s many publishing challenges—will be glad you did.

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