Things have been going remarkably smoothly at the national office since the year began — so smoothly that I wonder sometimes what we are missing. But as our executive director tells us, the only thing missing is the struggle and conflict we experienced when the board implemented its change in governance three years ago. The good news is that all our hard work to build PWAC into more professional organization is paying off. Certainly, there are many tasks left to be done and not enough people to do them, but most of the tasks members identified as priorities at last year’s AGM have either been achieved or are well into development.
Our priorities for the last year were:
- Grow membership by 5% per year over the next five years
- Develop online professional development
- Complete a comprehensive online market database
- Be seen as the voice of professional writers in Canada
- Take a lead role in contract standards in the industry
- Concentrate on Chapter Promotion and Development
- Have a formal mentorship program
Concerning points one to three, PWAC currently has a total of 623 members, nearly 5% more than it was last year at this time (600). We have a very active online professional development program with forums, “PWAC Presents…,” and other materials posted on our website. The updating of our online market database is currently stalled, but we plan to hire a student intern in the coming year to bring that to completion. John tells us that it is too large for staff or casual volunteer updating.
As for points four and five, John assures us that PWAC has become a major player towards creating contract standards. We increasingly receive inquiries from non-members about the horrendous contracts out there, and we are discussing the formation of a CanWest Contract Working Group, perhaps in conjunction with the Magazine Industry Task Force project which is underway. The Writers Union of Canada, TMAC and CAJ have all come to PWAC for advice or discussion on the CanWest and copyright issues, and thanks to John’s level-minded and unruffled approach, our organization has gained a reputation as a moderate, unemotional, professional advocate for writers’ rights.
Priorities six and seven are in active development, although additional funding will be needed if we are to reinstate our formal mentorship program.