When I was called by the nominating committee in their search to fill the President-elect position, my first inclination was to say, “No way, I could never do that!” After speaking with that nominating committee person and other members, including current and past presidents and board members, I decided to take the position. In 2006 when I joined ASDP, PACC at that time, our conference was held in San Francisco. Since I had not budgeted for an expensive conference, I could not attend during my first membership year, but I did manage to get to conference, held in Denver, Colorado, the following year. Yes, I did say expensive; however, as many of our members will agree, conference is one of our biggest perks and so very worth the investment in ourselves and our businesses. Since that first conference I attended, I have missed only one, due to family circumstances. Each conference location has its own style and flair and at each one I have met numerous inspiring, interesting members. I found it very fun to meet members and put faces with the names I had come to know through the online discuss list. The Nashville, Tennessee location for our 2013 conference promises to be another unique experience that I hope you are all trying to plan and budget for.
Our current board is comprised of members from across the country, including Canada. All of these ladies are very capable, hard-working individuals who truly care about ASDP. Any of them are open to member’s comments and ideas. In the past we have met monthly by telephone conference calls. Recently board meetings were changed to be held via “Go to Meeting” software that enables us to see each other’s faces online. For the most part I believe we like this format, since it replicates our twice a year face-to-face meeting style. More importantly, the plan is to utilize this software for website videos/webinars. The logistics of online use is still being ironed out, but our hope is that members will be able to submit their own informational videos so that other members may benefit from their expertise.
As I contemplate writing this, I find that I am all by myself in a very quiet room. Many times as a small business owner, I am isolated in my own little sewing studio. ASDP has changed this feeling of isolation by connecting me with others with similar interests and varying levels of skill. I have learned more than I can even comprehend from ASDP members. Many times a client has a “puzzle to solve” in construction or alteration that I can reference from a class, online discuss, or face-to-face experience gleaned from our association. As the commercials state, “this experience is priceless”. ASDP is very important to me and I will do my absolute best for this organization. I will continue to introduce myself to faces I don’t know at conference. I have found that these “strangers” are only friends that I haven’t met yet, and these faces all have information to share with each and every one of us! I wish every member a great, productive, inspirational New Year!
Written by Teresa Nieswaag, President-Elect
It has been my privilege to serve on the ASDP Governance Board twice, most recently for about 3 1/2 years as president-elect and president. When I roll off the board in January, I will do so with the knowledge that a productive board will transition peacefully to the leadership of Teresa Nieswaag. Teresa has spent the last 14 months learning the ins and outs of the association’s operations. I will miss communicating regularly with the ASDP members who are serving with distinction to keep ASDP running smoothly and “moving forward,” as my predecessor Joyce Hittesdorf liked to say.
We are entering our fourth year of self-management, which has allowed us to balance the budget in spite of a severe recession. Every member who did not renew for the last 2 years was called by a governance board member and we heard sad stories about the difficult economic choices our former members were having to make. As a professional association, we endeavor to support each member who takes advantage of the opportunities offered through membership and we are always trying to add additional opportunities. I speak as one of those members who benefited from that support. New to the profession, I joined PACC (ASDP’s former name) in 1995. I was insecure about my skill set and trying to discover opportunities to expand my business. Becoming involved in the Baltimore Chapter and then the national organization was instrumental in the growth of my business and my confident personal persona as a sewing professional.
Have you told someone new to the profession about ASDP and encouraged them to join? Share the flyer you received in the mail with someone in your community, perhaps even your competition. Personal contacts are the single most productive way to recruit new members and the more members we have, the more we can accomplish. The more members we have involved and taking an active role, the more quickly we can move forward with our goals.
I hope to exit my leadership role gracefully with the knowledge that Teresa Nieswaag cares as deeply for the organization as I do and she will do everything in her power to nurture current and new members as they develop their sewing related businesses. Teresa will present a positive professional image to the greater public representing the expertise of our members and the benefits of using their services.
Written by Rae Cumbie
As technology speeds into the future with faster and smaller computers, smart phones, and tablets, the opportunities for new educational venues increase as well. Distance learning is now the buzzword at most educational institutions as online learning management systems create opportunities for students who are unable to attend classes in a traditional setting because of geographical restrictions, limitations due to work and family obligations, or because they prefer the environment of self-paced, on-demand training. Special interest organizations have begun to take advantage of the opportunities of distance learning as well by creating online certiﬁcation programs, virtual conferences, video tutorials, and webinars in order to educate their members. Essentially, the organization member can take advantage of these educational opportunities in the comfort of their own home or ofﬁce, from their computer, and for a fee. We, as your ASDP Board, are intrigued by the educational opportunities that these venues may offer in terms of sewing and design education. Before going forward with such a monumental venture, however, both the beneﬁts and challenges need to be recognized.
As mentioned above, online education can take on a variety of forms. The two that most sparked the “what if?” possibilities of the ASDP Board at our recent Annual Strategic Planning meeting as having the most potential for our members were video tutorials and webinars. Video tutorials would simply be taped video segments of an instructor demonstrating a particular sewing or design technique similar to what is currently available on such websites as YouTube. A webinar is a relatively new communication tool using the internet; essentially webinars are “seminars” on the “web”. They come in a variety of formats, but the most common type currently seems to consist of a PowerPoint presentation with a voice over of the instructor teaching the course. The instructor’s voice can be heard by the students via live streaming through the computer or through a one-way conference call (you hear the instructor, but cannot respond by speaking). Student questions are posted in a chat-room type format, and if the webinar is live, the instructor responds to student questions as they arise or at the end of the webinar. This form of online education (usually no more than one hour) is particularly useful for gaining knowledge on content-based topics such as pricing systems, how to set up a business plan, marketing strategies, how to ﬁnd a sales representative, and the like. Plus, because some webinar host providers allow for the students to see the computer screens of their virtual instructor, webinars can be very useful in learning the basics of such computer software packages as Excel, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and even Quickbooks. In these situations, the instructor can walk their students through the functions of the computer program while the students “peek” over the instructor’s virtual shoulder to watch what the instructor is doing with the program.
Beneﬁts of online education to ASDP are plentiful. First of all, what a great way for our members to gain access to information and skills that they may not be able to otherwise! Although in no way will video tutorials or webinars ever replace the rich educational experiences of Chapter programming or the National Conference, we do recognize that there are many members who are “at-large” (like me) or unable to make it to conference every year. It is a way of staying connected, even if done so virtually. Having online sewing and design education opportunities (whether live or on-demand) would also give our organization more public exposure, the possibility of an attractive membership beneﬁt, and bring us professionally and technologically into the 21st Century!
Challenges to this venture unfortunately are plentiful as well. The questions and issues that arose in my own mind span from “What topics should be offered?” to “Who will be willing to instruct the webinars or be video-taped?” Others include, “How do we get instructors trained for these new venues?”, “What is the best host platform for conducting webinars that doesn’t have a high price tag?”, and “When will video segments be taped and by whom?” All of these questions need to be addressed (and more) in order for the initial challenges of online sewing and design education through ASDP to be championed. As you can imagine, of course, one person cannot do this alone! Therefore, if we ARE committed to further exploring and implementing alternative online educational venues to make sewing and design education more accessible to our members, I have but one question that should be answered ﬁrst: Will you step up and volunteer to help organize and be a part of an ASDP Online Education Taskforce? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get to work!
Written by Janet Blood, VP of Education
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