From the President: Year End Review

By Matthew Eley
Ending the year in style, over 60 BATW members made merry at the San Francisco Elk’s Lodge off Union Square for the 2023 holiday party.  We were floored at the turnout and delighted at the generosity of our hosts! The tony ballroom of the lodge — the oldest continuously operating one, too —  rang with laughter, tales of long-ago published stories and promises of articles-still-to-come. And it’d be a crime not to mention the white elephant gift exchange, which had some enviable inclusions like first-class airline amenities bags, whiskeys and books. Through it all we were kept in good supply of cheer by the ELK bar and delightful snacks by Popups Unlimited.
I would be remiss if I did not call out a few folks who made this evening possible:
–  David Perry, whose connection with the lodge made our presence possible and whose person embodies all of the organization’s virtues
– Board member Laurie Armstrong Gossy, who spearheaded this event from conception to completion with grace and amazing attention to detail
As I mentioned at the event, I am immensely proud of the work the board has done this year, much of which will continue in the coming year with its new members.
– We have taken strides to streamline our processes as well as grow in relevancy by considering new opportunities and threats posed by the rise of AI writing
– We have greatly expanded our efforts to recruit members from a variety of paths, backgrounds and professions, bolstering the diversity of viewpoints within the group and networks we can offer each other — with particular thanks to Ginny Prior for charing that membership group and Amy Sherman for laying the foundations of our editor outreach, as well as Rosie Cohan for providing immense insight into how we can provide immediate value to newer members
– We assembled an immensely impressive calendar of events, both in-person and digital, drawing on national figures and local heavyweights for insight and experiences. Laurie Armstrong Gossy led this effort with superhuman force and execution
– We’ve also tremendously increased the number of passive benefits to memberships, ranging from discounted insurance, airfare and hotel reservations to a constantly-updating catalogue of travel publications and contact methods. This was the brainchild of Amy Sherman and it has greatly increased our membership value, quantitatively and quantitatively

A few final kudos:

– Brandy Collins and Jennifer Boden have revivified our Instagram page, particularly with Brand’s excellent reels. They have tirelessly brought new energy to this important platform for advertising our brand
– David Laws for steering and editing our BATW magazine into its fourth year, alongside April Orcutt, Carol Canter, Erin Deinzer, Janet Fullwood, Karen Misuraca and Lee Daley
Every board member works in the background to keep this group functioning, and it has been an honor leading the group this year. Although I’m stepping down to more fully invest in some personal projects, I’ll be happily helping the new board with programs and web administration. I eagerly await the organization’s future as we continue wandering and creating in this endlessly fascinating world.

Happy New Year to all.


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