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Reports | Spring 2017

Presidents’ Message

A New Paradigm for CMN’s Future

We are trying something new in the leadership structure of CMN. As of October 2016, CMN has not one but two Presidents. Katherine Dines and David Heitler-Klevans are now Co-Presidents of this wonderful organization. David thought that as we have been moving towards shared leadership in other aspects of CMN, such as Regional Co-Coordinators, why not try this at the presidential level? After all, CMN is all about sharing!

We have both been involved in CMN since the early ’90s, and we have both been on the CMN Board for a number of years now. Katherine is actually one of the few CMNers who has served on the Board at two separate times in CMN’s history. We are excited to take on this new leadership role, especially with the current Board, which includes brand-new people who are bringing new skills, ideas, and energy to our organization.

We have set some exciting goals for 2017. At the heart is the issue of diversity and how CMN can connect with more diverse populations (in terms of race/ethnicity, age, geographic location, etc.) and attract more members. Jessica Smith and Alina Celeste will lead a new committee as part of the CMN Advisory Board to come up with new ideas and strategies. The Board is also planning a retreat with a facilitator to learn skills and share ideas on how to set goals, with diversity in mind, more effectively.

The Membership Committee is exploring new programs that will accommodate organizations without sufficient budget to become members. We are also working on initiating a Mentor program, led by new Board member Bruce O’Brien, to extend the resource sharing that happens at the Conference into year-round interactions. We have become increasingly aware of the fact that YOU are CMN’s most valuable resource, and that CMNers are wonderfully willing to share their skills and knowledge with others. This is often what draws new members into CMN, and what makes them want to stay engaged.

Our marketing team, headed up by new Board member Alice Burba, has plans to further our reach by implementing a targeted social media program; marketing our impressive online journal, Pass It On! through our new Online Subscription option; and creating outreach to help make this year’s conference the best attended ever. New Board member Dennis Ronberg has taken on the role of overseeing our Business Sponsor program. If you know any businesses you think might want to participate, make sure to reach out.

Executive Board member Lisa Heintz and volunteer members Marla Lewis and Theresa Heintz-Jones are preparing our Song Library’s next wonderful collection. In keeping with our theme for the year, the new multicultural songbook is all about diversity, containing songs in various languages and music that celebrates all peoples. We are actively searching for songs, so be sure to submit!

The Fundraising Committee is on a roll with three new active members: Tim Seston, Valerie Smalkin, and Jenny Murphy. They are busily creating innovative plans for generating more income, as well as seeking grants to fund scholarships, the Song Library, and this year’s conference. We’ll be sponsoring at least one screening of Imba Means Sing.

And as always, the highlight of the year is our 2017 Annual International Conference in Hyannis, Massachusetts, October 13–15. The theme of the conference this year is “All the Way Around the World” (from the song by Katherine Dines), which will serve as the rallying cry for all our efforts. Conference Co-Chairs Kim Wallach, Diana Kane, and Philip Alexander are already at work planning a super event, so make sure to put it on your calendar!

As any Board member will tell you, nonprofits take a lot of time and energy. Yet so far, this role sharing seems to be more efficient and a LOT more fun. You don’t have to be on the Board to give ideas and help plan CMN activities, both at the regional level and for the organization as a whole. We encourage any CMN member to become more actively involved in growing CMN.